This article is going to essentially be an a book summary and my interpretations of the book with my own spin on it.
The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying is a book by Bronnie Ware. She is an Australian nurse for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. Basically she is a nurse for the dying. You can see how this is the perfect opportunity for her to write a book about the dying because her job is taking care of the dying. Bronnie interviewed the dying and took her observations and put it into a book.
There is no need to give you anymore of an introduction, let’s just dive right into the top 5 regrets of the dying.
What Are The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying?
5. “I Wish That I Had Let Myself Be Happier.”
Many people think that they are stuck in their situation or their circumstance when they truthfully could be happier. I often hear people say that they have no choice, and they are stuck. In reality who said you have no choice? You are the one telling yourself you have no choice when you always have a choice.
Fear of change and being content caused the departing to die with regret of not letting themselves be happier. The patients that Bronnie interviewed had a sudden realization that their happiness was a matter of choice.
These people could have lived happier but they get so caught up in their habits and day to day routines that living happier was simply a matter choice and getting out of their repeated patterns. We call this the comfort zone. These people who are constantly in their comfort zones have taken life too serious and could have laughed more and enjoyed life more.
4. “I Wish I Had Stay In Touch With My Friends.”
When I read this in the book this one was one of the departing’s regrets that struck a chord with me. This made me take a step back and look at all of my friends. To see which ones I have push away because of my career and life. I realized that I have pushed a lot of my close friends away unintentionally.
Many people after high school and college get so caught up in their lives and their career that they let valuable friendships slip away. Everyone gets so focused on their career and making a family that they forget about their friends. When they finally decide they have time for their friends, it’s too late.
With social media and they internet the way it is nowadays, allowing you to connect with anyone in the world instantly, there is no excuse to not keep it touch with your friends. If you can’t keep in touch with your friends then it’s because you are consciously choosing to not keep it touch with them.
Writing this article, it almost brings me to tears because I have been so focused on growing my life and my career that I neglected my valuable friendships. We get so focused on the physical details of life like money, status, success, cars, houses, and jobs that we neglect the things that matter most in our lives and that is love and relationships.
3. “I Wish I’d Had The Courage To Express My Feelings.”
How many of you reading this have let love pass you by because you didn’t express how you feel or let someone leave without telling them how you feel? Have you laid in bed at night dwelling on chances at love that you missed because you were too scared to rock the boat and tell them how you feel? This is another regret that hits me deep because my life would be so different if I just expressed my feelings more. I bet your life would be so different also if you expressed your feelings more.
So many of us, including myself suppress our feelings to keep peace with others and to keep peace with ourselves. We fear getting rejected and feeling hurt that we go on suppressing our feelings. Not expressing how you feel creates 2 burdens: 1st burden is with you because now you got to go to sleep at night knowing you are holding onto this unexpressed feeling. 2nd burden is with the person you aren’t expressing your feelings towards. You could simply change their life and make it better just by telling them how you feel.
Expressing your feelings is a win win for you and your relationships because you raise the relationship to a whole new standard and you release your unexpressed feelings that could turn into burdens internally if not expressed.
Feelings eventually get expressed in ways you don’t want it to. An example of this is let’s say you are in line for a movie or a roller coaster and someone cuts you in line and you say nothing despite wanting to. You hold back expressing how you feel because you don’t want to disrupt the peace. So instead of expressing how you feel by telling this guy to go to back of the line, you express your feelings in the car ride home by getting angry and mad because that guy cut you in line and you said nothing. The feeling is still being expressed but not the proper way.
This is why it’s important to always tell people how you feel no matter what because life is too short. If you like someone’s hair, tell them. If you like someone, tell them. If you like someone’s shirt or shoes, tell them. If you find someone pretty or handsome tell them. It could make their day. Don’t go to sleep with the song still stuck on your lips, express yourself.
2. “I Wish I Hadn’t Worked So Hard.”
Many people on their deathbed when their health is no longer an option, they regret working too hard and not spending enough time with their family and friends. When trying to fulfill your life’s purpose it’s so hard to not get caught up in your work and ignore your family and friends.
This year I’ve been working so hard on fulfilling my life’s purpose that I neglected spending time with my family and friends. This year I have missed Christmas, Easter, my mother’s birthday, my dad’s birthday, and my own birthday because I was working on growing my career. I say this not to brag and boast but to tell how easily it is to get caught up in working nonstop. I missed Mother’s Day this year because I was locked away glued to my laptop working and my mom and family were mad at me because I missed Mother’s Day dinner. This book was a wake up call for me to stop and smell the roses and enjoy life.
Work hard for a rich lifestyle but don’t forget to spend time with the people you love because one day it will all be gone.
1.”I Wish I’d Had The Courage To Live A Life True To Myself And Not The Life Others Expected Of Me.”
I saved this one for the end of this article because this one was the most common regret of the dying. The departing most common regret was not living a life true to themselves. Growing up we need guidance to help us navigate through our life because in the beginning we don’t know anything. So we cling to anyone who can guide us through life.
Parents nowadays are lawnmower parents where they basically just pave the way for their kids. This a double edged sword because the kids are being guided through life but also their parents are deciding everything for them and doing everything for them. So kids end up living a life that of their parents instead of themselves. The parents decide everything for them, the music they should listen to, the clothes they should wear, the people who they should hangout with, the jobs they should have, to even the people they should date. Leaving the kid deciding nothing for themselves and dying with regret.
I have lived most of the early years of my adulthood following in the footsteps of what my family and society expected of me. Not living a life true to myself caused my mental health to decline. I was anxious and depressed because I was doing things I never really wanted to do just to please my parents and to avoid awkward conversations. Once I decided to live a life true to myself was when I regained my mental health.
There is a girl I know who has a beautiful singing voice but won’t pursue a career in singing because she is afraid that she will look down upon by society for not following what society expected of her. When people realize their life Is almost over and they looked on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have been unfulfilled because they were scared to go against what society expected of them. It is easy to see when looking back what decisions you made on your own and what decisions your family, friends, and society made for you.
To figure out if you are living true to yourself or not answer this question:
If money didn’t matter to you, and you had all the money in the world, would you still be doing the same thing you are doing everyday for a living? If you had all the money in the world what would you do with your time? These are important questions to answer understand if you are living true to yourself.
That is the top 5 regrets of the dying. I hope these regrets hit you hard as it hit me. Thank you for reading 🙂
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