Monday, March 23, 2015

Biggest regrets?

We are always getting ready to live but never living.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Australian palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware, put together a list of the most common regrets people approaching death expressed, it went viral. But surprisingly, not because her article was so incredibly profound.

Quite the opposite really, as it was the simplicity that struck a chord with most people. What the article stated was that it’s the small things in life that matter; but often the things our pride, ego or desire to please others gets in the way of.

So after reading it and being reminded of what really counts, I wanted to share her findings with you too…

1. “I wished I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Sometimes the easier path to take is to breeze through life, as it takes serious soul searching to work out what’s going to make you happy. Not to mention the courage to pursue it – especially if it means disappointing your family, partner or society’s expectation of you.

But it’s your life. Only you confront the reflection in the mirror each morning – so it’s worth making sure you’re happy with what you see.

(And just a reminder, if you’re not, it’s never too late to make a positive change.)

2. “I wish I did not work so hard.”
Life regrets by those approaching death

This one is especially true if you have a family.

Being a provider for someone else is a big responsibility. Wanting to have a nice house, a car, medical insurance and the option to send your kids to a good school are perfectly understandable goals.

But there needs to be a balance in this equation.

If you need to work 80 hours a week only to slump in a heap on the couch on your only day off – the fancy new car isn’t going to mean anything to your attention-starved kids.

Or if you don’t have a family, continuously working to the grind and never making time to pursue some of your other dreams – such as travel, adventure sports or falling in love – is going to leave you with a heavy heart at the end of it all.

Work isn't everything. So don’t let it be the only thing that defines who you are.

3. “I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.”
Why would you deny yourself of such a powerful expression?

As Buddha said:

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of harming another; you end up getting burned.”

So by holding onto anger and resentment, or not letting more heartfelt statements such as “I forgive you” leave your lips – you’re only harming yourself. Not to mention messing up your inner peace… as it’s hard to be happy when you’re enshrouded by negativity!

Don’t miss a chance to let those you care about know how you feel – as you never know when that chance may be taken away from you.

4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
For most of us, over a lifetime, the number of sincere friendships that have had a significant impact on our lives probably won’t equate to double digits.

You know the kind I mean. The type who become like family. The ones who are always a steady rock during life’s ups and downs  – and who aren’t afraid to confront you when you’re acting out of line!

Make an effort to stay in touch with these friends.

Don’t let petty differences or life get in the way of the people who have valued you the most.

Life regrets by those approaching death

5) “I wish I had let myself be happier.”
I think on a whole, society gets happiness wrong.

It’s not the result of having waited for the right job, partner or a fat bank account to materialize.

It’s a choice. And it’s a conscious one you have to make every day. Are you going to choose to be happy, or are you going to let your happiness be washed away by the events of the day?

There are always going to be reasons to be annoyed, disappointed or angry about something.

But that’s life.

Once you realize this, and decide to choose happiness, you’ll notice it improves tenfold.

Pretty powerful!

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