Saturday, June 25, 2011

Five Regrets

Excerpted from the website Inspiration and Chai, by Bronnie Ware. The lessons of LLF lead to a loving, more fulfilled life, safeguarded from such regrets.

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. . . . 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:

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.

2. I wish I didn't work 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.



John said...

Quite the laundry list of end of life woes. I witnessed what surely looked like a fatal car wreck yesterday. People slowed down for about 5 minutes, but soon forgot the lesson of how short life can be. That list hits the spot, right on for me. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

"I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends!" Yes undeed! I wish I had loved and stayed in touch with myself as a friend and constant companion. In fact, I ignored myself or else engaged in self-torture, demanding that I keep up appearances. Of course my friends made themselves scarce, because I loved my friends and neighbors as myself, so why would they hang around? Now I know, and it is never too late! Michael

William H. A. Williams said...

Many of these things, I wouldn't have thought of. So simple but so important.

"An International Movement Inspiring the Mortal - Soul - Spirit in us all."

"An International Movement Inspiring the Mortal - Soul - Spirit in us all."