Source | LinkedIn : By John-Paul Iwuoha
Do you have any regrets?
Most people do.
But it appears our regrets gain a lot of weight as we approach the end of our lives.
For many years, Bronnie Ware – an Australian nurse and counselor – worked in palliative care; taking care of terminally ill people, most of whom had less than 12 weeks to live.
Her patients were typically old people with very serious illnesses, waiting to die.
And a lot of her work involved providing counseling and relief from the physical and mental stresses that come naturally when a human being comes face to face with their mortality.
Death is not a comfortable subject for most people. We prefer to not think or talk about it.
But the sad truth is, all of us will die someday.
Knowing you are going to die in a few weeks is a very bitter pill to swallow. And Bronnie noticed as her patients experienced a range of emotions that usually started with denial, and then fear, anger, remorse, more denial, and eventually, acceptance.
As part of therapy, Bronnie would ask about any regrets they had about their lives, and anything they would do differently if life gave them a second chance.
Of all the responses she got from her patients, she noticed there were 5 regrets that stood out. These were the most common regrets her patients wished they hadn’t made as they coursed through life.
But the regrets of the dying can be sound and invaluable advice for the living.
And that’s why it’s a really good thing you’re reading this article.
One of the key revelations from Bronnie’s study is that we often take our lives for granted because we are healthy.
Health affords us boundless freedom very few realise, until we no longer have it.
But while her dying patients were helpless in the face of their regrets, you and I still have time to do something about our regrets, before it’s too late.
Let’s now look at each of the 5 most common regrets Bronnie observed:
1) I wish I pursued my dreams and aspirations, and not the life others expected of me
According to Bronnie, this was by far the most common regret of all.
When people realise their life is coming to an end, it becomes easier to look back and see all those dreams they had but didn’t have the courage to pursue.
In many cases, their failure to pursue those dreams were often due to fitting into the expectations of others – usually family, friends and society.
One of her dying patients, Grace, made Bronnie promise that she would pursue all her dreams and live her life to its fullest potential without ever considering what others would say.
According to Bronnie, Grace was in a long but unhappy marriage. And after her husband was put in a nursing home, she was diagnosed with a terminal illness. And Grace’s biggest regret was that she never was able to pursue all the dreams she put on hold.