In a world where we all rush through life from one activity or thought to the next, we can learn valuable lessons from the regrets of the dying. Does wealth equal happiness? Do children mean a fulfilled life? Will your work achievements count for anything?
When you are in the last days of your life the most important things to you become crystal clear.
Palliative Care Nurse, Bonnie Ware, collected the top five regrets of the dying to help us all learn from their hindsight.
1. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
People work on average 70% of their lives - but most people will wish they hadn't worked so hard. Long hours, weekends away, and overtime take time and energy away from family, hobbies and rest, all of which are valued more highly than wealth by those in the last days of their lives.
2. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
Staying in touch with friends can require a lot of effort, especially when work and family commitments take you far away from each other, in distance or lifestyle. Connecting with friends has been proven to be beneficial for your mental health, providing a solid social network to protect and support you through the best and worst moments of your life.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my true feelings
Men, especially, have confessed to guilt over unspoken feelings and emotions during their lives. Whether it was telling their children they were proud of them, or wishing that they had had the courage to speak up about how someone made them feel, their happiness (and that of others) could have been altered forever.
4. I wish I had let myself be happier
Many go through life believing that 'one day' they will be happy, successful, wealthy and all the other things they covet. One of the biggest regrets of the dying was not realising that you can allow yourself to be happy at any point - that happiness is inside us all now, not at some distant point in the future.
5. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life expected of me by others
And finally, many people have regretted not living a life true to themselves. There are no awards for pleasing other people or putting their ideals before your own. Only when you are being true to yourself, will you lift the burden of expectation from your shoulders.
A good way to put this into practice is to try to live a lifestyle where you do not end up with regrets.
Put some time into addressing each point individually to see where you could make improvements.
Source: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware www.bronnieware.com