This post is inspired by the article ‘regrets of the dying’ from Bronnie Ware. She worked in palliative care and took notes of the conversations she had with her patients over the years.

(http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html)

There is so much we can learn from this. Please enjoy, reflect and use it for your life. The five most common themes mentioned by people in their last weeks of their lives are:

  • I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

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 many of their goals and their dreams and knew that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honour some of your dreams along the way and whilst you still can and have an influence.
For example, from the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

  • I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that she 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 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… how much is enough ?? and what is the price you actually pay for this ? And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

  • 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. 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.

  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often we do not truly realise the benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it is 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 in 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 the 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 is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

  • 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. 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.

Thank you Bronnie Ware for sharing this with us.

Best regards, Nicolai


© 2017 Nicolai Andler. All rights reserved