I read something (link follows) from a very inspiring woman, Bronnie Ware, that really made me think! Bronnie is a nurse who worked in palliative care for many years caring for people who were dying; so she was with them for the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives. She is currently working on a book that is soon to be released called ” Top 5 Regrets of the Dying”.
In her book, Bronnie talks about the process these people went through and in spite of this their amazing capacity for emotional growth! All the emotions that these people were going through before they came to acceptance and every single patient found their peace before they departed! When she asked the patients if they had any regrets or if there was anything they would have done differently, there were 5 things that came up again and again.
Food for thoughts – this is important for every one of us to think about! We often live our lives as though we are here forever and take life and the people in it for granted.
According to Bronnie Ware, the 5 things that came up for people again and again were:
1. They wished they’d had the courage to live a life where they were true to themselves — instead of living a life others expected of them.
Apparently this was the most common regret people had. When they looked back they could see how many dreams had gone unfulfilled. Most people had not even honoured half of their dreams! The moment you loose your health it is too late. It was clear to them that health brings a freedom few realizes, until we no longer have it.
2. They wished they had not worked so hard. This was something that came from every male patient, Bonnie Ware worked with. They missed their childrens’ youth and missing out on spending time with their spouse.
3. They wished they had had the courage to express their feelings. To keep peace with others they suppressed feelings and settled for a mediocre life never becoming who they were truly capable of becoming. We cannot satisfy everyone and if we try we become dissatisfied and bitter.
4. They wished they had stayed in touch with friends. Often they did not realize the importance and benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was difficult and sometimes impossible to track them down. Many had been so wound up in their own busy lives that they had let important friendships go.
5. They wish they had let themselves be happier. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits and there by missed out on the fun. Fear of change had made them pretend both towards others and themselves that everything was okay and deep within they longed to laugh let go and have fun.
The full article is (click here) – I have already signed up for the book.
Depressing to think about – hmmm… maybe, but wouldn’t it be even more depressing to one day be the one saying ” I wish I had………..”?
I am going to chase more dreams. I am going to look my kids deeper in the eyes, hold their hands, tell them more often how much I love them and how amazing I think they are. I am going to take more time to honour my friends. I am going to turn off the auto pilot of my life and go cruising. I am going to laugh more. I am going to write that book. I am going to tell the people in my life how much they mean to me. I am going to learn to dance tango with my sweetheart and skateboard down the street. I will remember to treasure the moment and live my life mindfully and with passion.
Following your heart and fulfilling your dreams adds to good health! When you follow your dreams you become fulfilled and happy – and hey, that’s what world needs!
What dreams do you need to act on to feel fulfilled ?
this is a great article anne! such important reminders, i know that i quite often feel these things even though i am not faced with death, i still have regrets over not living life to the fullest, to allowing myself to dwell too long in unhappiness and dysfunctional toxic relationships.
Dear Kelly – I can so relate. I try to be gentle with myself. It is a process some experiences take time to heal. And living life to its fullest include those experiences too 🙂