Big question – a little morbid, but real nonetheless. If you were dying right now, would you have any regrets?
Many people do. Bonnie Ware had years of experience tending to those who were dying and she wrote about the five basic regrets that she saw people experience on their deathbed.
While I personally don’t think a lot about dying, I have thought about the five common regrets that Ms. Ware noted. And, I want you to think about them too – preferably before you’re dying.
Let’s all get to the end of our life feeling that we used life up, rather than the other way around. OK?
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
This is probably the saddest statement I can hear and the one I want most for you to never ever feel or say. It is your life and it is your choice and responsibility to live it your way.
In order not to have this regret, what would you need to make different right now?
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard
Work is important. If you get paid for your work, then it provides the means to pay bills and acquire things you want. If you work at home then work provides a smooth running household.
Work allows us to feel productive and that we are contributing to the world. But work is not life. Work is a part of life.
Do you live to work, or work to live?
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings
Expressing feelings can sometimes be a tough thing to do, since you may be concerned about how other’s will receive you. But feelings in and of themselves are all good.
It’s usually fear that stops you from expressing your feelings. Fear of being vulnerable and fear of someone else not liking what you’re saying.
Is there something you’re afraid of expressing right now that would make a difference?
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
Certainly the advent of FaceBook and other social media sites have made it more possible to stay in touch, so maybe this regret will go by the wayside as technology helps us maintain connections.
And, what about deepening the friendships that mean a lot to you? Is there someone who you think about, but don’t really call? Or, a friend who you’d love to get together with, but go months on end without connecting?
Reach out to your friends now. Make a date, have a chat on the phone, send a card or a thoughtful gift. You know you’d love it if that person did that for you!
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
You know happiness is a choice right? If you want more information about this scientific fact you can read my book review of ‘Positivity’.
What’s keeping you from being happier? If you’re thinking that it’s something outside yourself, then you’re barking up the wrong tree. You will not be happier if you lose 10 pounds, or get a new house, or find the right job, or make more money. You will essentially feel the same.
Being happier is an inside job. What can you do (or stop doing) right now that would create more happiness for you?
The end might be nearer than you think
I hope you have many many years ahead of you, but the fact is we just don’t know when our end is coming.
Really the only time we have is now. Make it count and create a regret free life.
Tell me what you think. I’d love to hear from you in the comments.