While doing some research for an article I wrote for "Mindful Matter" magazine... I came across this fascinating list. Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse for 12 years, recorded the most common regrets of the dying and put her findings into a book called "The Top Five Regrets of The Dying." I share them with you here.
#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. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."
#2. I wish I hadn't worked 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 myself.
“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 themselves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
palliative: (of a treatment or medicine) relieving pain or alleviating a problem without dealing with the underlying cause.
Author Bronnie Ware had been unfulfilled in her work for many years, seeking something that resonated with her soul she ended up in palliative care and after many years of caring for the dying she was inspired to write "Top 5 Regrets of the Dying" to share what so many people no matter what their background expressed they wished they'd done more of while they were healthy and alive.
"Many did not realise until the end, that happiness is a choice."
Connecting with our deeper desires, does not involve knowing the answers to all of our questions, because it's only in not knowing that we can be truly receptive and it's only in being receptive that we can truly discover, learn, and evolve. When we shift into wonder and curiosity, there is an opening to a deeper wisdom. Our personal power, shifts from the energy where not knowing is a source of weakness and powerlessness, to the energy where wonder and curiosity are the ultimate source of power and strength.
You may find yourself asking "Where do I start? How do I begin?" Begin with answering the call within, listening to the voice of your Inner Guidance. Fear of change is normal, but there are ways to learn to overcome your fears and start acting on the guidance within that will lead you to your happiest life and way of being in the world.
Reclaim Your Unique Vision
A vision is not a glimpse of what will be in the future — it’s an awareness of what is already true within you, here and now.
The vision is not something you make up, it is who you were born to be. It’s your true power, your essence, your genius, and the source of your abundance.
When you are cut off from the truth of your essence, you don’t just fail to fulfill your potential, you experience many other side-effects. The challenges you face in the other areas — health, work, relationships, prosperity — are often symptoms of a disconnection from this divine pattern in you. That’s why many attempts to solve those other problems don’t work — because they’re symptoms, not the cause.
When you rediscover your vision and begin to align with the forces of nature, you activate the latent power within you and begin to dissolve many of your problems.