Bronnie Ware, a nurse, reveals the top five regrets people have on their deathbed….
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.
Here are the most common five:
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 half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made or not made.
It is very important to try to honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom that very few realise until they no longer have it.
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. However, 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.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
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.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end, it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
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.
It is common for anyone with a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually, though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks: love and relationships.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness was 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 themselves that they were content. Deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their lives again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind.
How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is your life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, and choose honestly. Choose happiness.
From my own perspective, I’m sure no one on their deathbed wishes that they had worked harder. Life is fleeting, and we should choose to live the life we want, not one selected by others or one that we will regret.
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