Have you ever wondered the regrets of people who are on their last legs? The Australian nurse Bronnie Ware asked this question to people about to die on behalf of us. Here are the top 5 regrets of the dying.
The Australian nurse Bronnie Ware worked in palliative care in which she met those who were dying addressed questions such as; “Do you have any regrets of what you have done or haven’t done in life? If you were given the chance to be reborn, what would you change in your life?”
Ware’s book “The Top Five Regrets of Dying” is the collection of these answers. Let’s find out the top 5 regrets of the dying.
“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life of others expected of me.”
This is the most common regret of those who are faced with their own mortality. When they look back they found out that that they couldn’t even realize half of their dreams. They feel sorry for living a ‘have to’ life instead of ‘want to’ life. Ware states that all the patients expressing their feelings are aware that their choices led them here. To put it simply, it is up to you to follow the path of your dreams and find happiness. Living your life to other people’s expectation will increase the number of sentences beginning with “I wish…”, instead of this you have a chance to choose a life of your own and begin each sentence with “So glad to…”
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
Mrs. Ware indicates that the regret of hardworking years commonly expressed by the men. Most of the male patients verbalize the regret of missing their children’s juvenescence and their wives’ companionship. Patients also say that if they were given a second chance to live those days over, they would do things differently and spend more time with the family. Wouldn’t it be good to realize when you are still safe and sound that for the sake of providing better life conditions to your family you miss the opportunity to make great memories in the journey of life?
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
The patients confess that they didn’t truly appreciate old pals’ accompany till their dying weeks. Patients also admit that they were so caught up in their own lives that they couldn’t allocate much time to their friends by expressing the resentment of drifting apart. They express their yearning for friendship and feel their absence especially in that period.
“I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.”
Some patients say that they couldn’t express their real identity as they refrain from arguments in fear of relation breakdowns and felt the resentment of not being a person who they really wanted to be. Ware indicates in her book that suppressed feelings may have negative effects on people’s health that subsequently occur as illnesses. Expressing your own feelings instead of what people want to hear may help you kick out another ‘I wish….’ sentence of your life.
“I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
This is the other most common regret of patients. Mrs. Ware states that people who lost their chance of being happy stayed stuck in old patterns and habits living in fear of change and they are not aware of how valuable happiness is until their death approaches. Unfortunately, the patients were slow to catch on to the fact that happiness depends on people’s own choices.
Actually, Shams Tabrizi’s quote perfectly summarizes the regrets of these patients; “Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”