Bronnie Ware says; “for many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die.
Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal.
Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.” Here are the common five regrets the patients had or anything they’d do differently:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expec
This was the most common regret of all. When people are dying, they look back on their lives and realize all the dreams they had were unfulfilled. Most had not went through half of their dreams and died knowing that it was from the choices they chose to make, or not make. It’s imperative to try and work at some of your lifelong dreams. When you lose your health suddenly, it becomes too late to pursue your dreams. Health is what grants us freedom and few realize this, until it is taken from them.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This regret came mostly from male patients that were nursed by me. They had missed the youthful times of their children’s lives and companionship from their partner. Women did too, speak of this regret. Most were from an older generation, and many women hadn’t been breadwinners of the family. All the men deeply regretted over-working themselves. Through prioritizing your life and making better choices, you will be able to not want the income you think you need. By adding space into your life, you will live a happier life, and be more receptive to new opportunities that will work with your lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many have suppressed their emotions and feelings to maintain peace with other people in their lives. This resulted in settling down into mediocrity, and people never grow to their full potential. Due to this resentment and bitterness, many would develop illnesses. Even though we cannot control the reactions of other people, we can control ours. People may not respond when you change your tone of voice, and by speaking honestly it will help benefit the relationship. Either you will lose or further better a relationship.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
People don’t realize how old friends do matter. Many of my patients had gotten so caught up in their own living situations that they let solid friendships fade away. There had been so much regret about allowing friendships to fade away and not giving them effort that was needed and deserved. Everyone ends up missing their good friends when they are on their death bed.
It’s very common for those who live in a busy lifestyle to allow friendships to fade. When you are facing death, the details of life strip themselves. People always want financial stability, and it isn’t status or money that holds this importance for them. They want stability to ensure their loved ones benefit from it. Mostly, many are too sick and ill, even weary to complete this task in life. In the end, it comes down to relationships and love, and thats all that exists in your final weeks.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is very common, and many don’t see this until they realize happiness is a choice. Many would stay in a rut with old patterns and bad habits. The comfort of familiarity worked into their emotions, and in their lives. A fear of change made them pretend to others and their own selves, that they felt content with their lives. Deeply within though, they felt the need to laugh and allow silliness into their crazy lives. When on your deathbed, the opinions of others is outside of your mind. Isn’t it wonderful to let go and smile again, even before your death.
Life is a choice. This is YOUR life. Choose your decision wisely and honestly. Always choose happiness!
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