As children, we don’t really think much about the end of our lives. We think mostly about what our parents will cook us for dinner, or what friends we will play with tomorrow, or which show we’ll watch on TV later. We don’t think about death very often, simply because we think we have time. As we grow older, the thought of death may enter our minds, but we still don’t take it seriously because we have plenty of years left here, right? So, we live our lives on the basis of denial. We deny our inevitable fate, and gamble with the idea that we have plenty of time to live our dreams. We all live with the hopes of seeing tomorrow, but we’ve only really got today.
We don’t want to scare or depress anyone, but simply awaken you to the idea of following your dreams NOW, so that you won’t have regrets later.
10 Common Regrets People Have At The End of Their Life
1. “I wish I lived for myself more”
According to Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse from Australia, many of her dying patients listed this as their biggest regret. Ware took care of patients in their last three to twelve weeks of life, and heard many stories and confessions from them all. While she said that all of them found peace before their death, listening to their regrets moved her so much that she actually wrote a bestselling novel about it called “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.”
In the book, she said many of her patients had not honored even half of the dreams they wanted to fulfill, and this caused them to have major regrets before the end of their life. They wanted so badly to knock other things off their bucket list, but they had to die knowing they still had dreams. Don’t die with your dreams still in your heart. Don’t die knowing that you lived for someone else’s dreams and stuffed yours under the rug. Live life the way you want NOW, and don’t wait for anyone’s permission.
2. “I wish I didn’t work so hard.”
Ware said that this regret came in at number two, based on how often she heard people say this. We all work too hard in today’s world, but for what? We all want to reach some goal, some achievement, some number in our bank account. However, what will all this really mean? Sure, we may have security and pride knowing that we can afford certain things or have a specific title, but humans need more than that. We thrive on emotional connection and love, both of which require other people.
In the end, you won’t remember how much money you made or how far you got in your career; you’ll remember the people you made connections with, and how they impacted your life. You’ll think about the memories you made and all the laughs you had with those you loved. We have to work to survive, but don’t work so much that you forget to build relationships and a life outside of your job.
3. “I wish I didn’t hold back my feelings.”
Coming in at third on Ware’s list, the dying patients also regretted holding back their feelings. They wanted to keep the peace and not rock the boat, so they settled for repressing their feelings. However, this leads to a limited and very resentful existence. You will come to resent those you keep feelings from, because you obviously have an issue with them but choose not to voice it. This results in bottled up feelings that can even lead to mental and physical illness.
Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes. Even if you lose friends or a relationship, say how you feel. You may lose someone, but no person on this Earth is worth holding back your feelings for. This will only haunt you in the end.
4. “I wish I stayed in touch.”
People at the end of their lives also regretted losing touch with friends. They missed their companionship, and wished they had put more effort into keeping in touch. We may take our friends for granted now, but remember, they won’t always be around. If you miss a friend, try to get back in touch with them via Facebook, email, text, or some other form of communication. They probably miss you too, and would love to hear from you sometime. Friends help us get through life, and stick with us through the ups and downs. Life may take you in different directions, but it doesn’t have to alienate you from them. Pick up the phone and chat with them for a bit; you will never regret reaching out.
5. “I wish I was happier.”
We like to think that outside forces control our emotions, but the key to emotional control lies within us. We don’t choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react to it. Life goes by so fast, so why spend it finding every little thing to complain about? Being happy costs nothing, keeps you healthier, makes life more fulfilling, attracts more positive relationships, and so on. So, unhappiness, then, actually costs MORE in the long run, and can even lead to serious illnesses. Our mental, emotional, and physical health relies on our perception, so if you want to start living a better life now, simply change how you look at things.
6. “I wish I cared less of what others think.”
Again, why care so much about the opinions of others? Keep in mind that most people probably don’t think about you as much as you’d like to think, so stop worrying so much. Other people have so much going on that they probably don’t fixate on how you live or the decisions you make. Live in your truth, and don’t worry yourself with what others think; that’s their problem.
Live authentically, simply, and happily, and do what feels right for you. As long as you feel happy with yourself, nothing else matters.
7. “I wish I didn’t worry so much.”
We spend A LOT of our lives worrying. No matter what role you play in this world, whether you’re a mom, student, daughter, son, father, CEO, banker, farmer, janitor, etc, you have something to worry about. However, will you let this worry take over your life? Will you let the heaviness of the burden drag you down? Or, will you release these worries and realize that this world worries far too much?
At the end of your life, remember that the unpaid bills and debts, what other people think of you, how much money you have, and everything else we worry about won’t really matter. The fleeting nature of life should cause us to shed our worries immediately, but unfortunately, we don’t feel how quickly life goes by until we wake up one day as a 75 year old. Then, we begin to see how small our worries are. But, why not choose to awaken to this truth NOW? Remember: don’t be a worrier; be a warrior!
8. “I wish I took better care of myself.”
If you don’t have your health, you have nothing, so make sure to look after yourself. After someone else must take care of you due to not taking care of yourself, you pretty much have no freedom left. You have to live with illnesses and ailments that probably could have been prevented simply by taking care of your health. You only have one body, mind, and spirit, so take care of all of them now to ensure that you can enjoy life even in your older years.
9. “I wish I didn’t take life for granted.”
Many people actually take their life for granted, and don’t appreciate all the little things around them that make up their environment. The bees that pollinate the foods we eat, the plants that provide us with sustenance, the air we breathe that gives us oxygen, the water we drink that keeps us hydrated, the sun that shines down on us and gives us life – we should appreciate all of it. Even if you don’t have much in life, you could at least say your thanks for having the basics that the universe provides you with.
Have an attitude of gratitude, and it will come back to you tenfold.
10. “I wish I lived in the now”
More than anything else, it seems most of us have issues with living in the NOW. We reminisce on the past and wish we could bring it back, or we long for a future that hasn’t happened yet. Either way, we live out of alignment with the present, which means that we’re NEVER truly experiencing life. We’re experiencing moments in our memory, or moments in our imagination. We aren’t experiencing the raw moments, the moments unfolding right before our eyes.
If anything, remember that one day, you won’t have any more present moments left to experience. You won’t have road trips to go on, or mountains to climb, or children to kiss goodnight, or a partner to cuddle with. You will have your memories, serving as a reality check. Did you live according to your dreams? Did you live the hell out of this life and leave no stone unturned? No matter your age, you can choose to live life fully right now. Don’t wait until it’s too late and all you’re left with is regrets. Say no to regrets, and say yes to fulfilling your greatest destiny.