A palliative nurse who cares for dying patients during their final days, has discovered the most common regrets we all have at the end of our lives.
Bronnie Ware, from Australia, was so astounded by the clarity of vision people receive at the end of their lives, that she started a blog called ‘Inspiration and Chai’, that captured her patients final thoughts and personal discoveries during their last days.
Her blog attracted so much attention that she eventually wrote a book about her findings called: ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying’
There was no mention of wanting more money or bungee jumps! Infact, one of the most common responses is, ‘I wish that I had let myself be happier!’
“When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.” And among the top, from men in particular, is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’.
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
“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. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“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 stayed 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. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“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.”
Don’t wait until it’s too late! Try and heed this awesome advise NOW.
To read more about this you can purchase Bronnie Ware’s book below: