Bronnie Ware was a palliative care nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days.In a book, she says it's surprising how many people have the same regrets,the most common is not having lived the life 'true to themselves' ,instead, they had lived the life other people expected them .
According to Ware, people gained clarity of vision during their last days. They had things they wished they had done differently and she documented them.
1.I wish I had courageously lived a life true to myself and not one that others expected of me
This was a common regret for all the dying. They had time to look back on their lives and see how many of their dreams went unfulfilled because they had lived according to the expectations of others. This had led to the lack of fulfillment of most of their dreams. Being healthy presents a freedom very few realize exist until it’s taken away. We should therefore try to honor some of our dreams in our lifetime before loss of good health takes that opportunity away.
2. I wish I had not spent all my life working
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
3. If only I had gained courage to express how I felt.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
4. I wish I had remained in touch with my friends
"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."
5. If only I had allowed happiness into my life
"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."
What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?