The Top Five Regrets of the Dying
An insightful article by Funeral Celebrant Roz Townsend from Bathurst NSW
"We are only here for a short time.
Life is not a dress rehearsal."
This article shares some important research about regrets.
As a funeral celebrant I am interested in all aspects of life and particularly the lives of those just past. I was reminded of Stephen Covey's famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and his comment that the best way to live one's life is to 'begin with the end in mind'. It was thus with great interest that I read The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware.
Ware who worked as a palliative care nurse was privileged to share the final life journey of many people. In counselling the dying in their last few days, she identified the most common regrets people have towards the end of their lives. Ware was impressed with the clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives. Imagine if we had that clarity now and chose to have 'no regrets'?
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected.
“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.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
This was a common theme particularly of the men she nursed. Working hard meant that many missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Keeping the peace with others meant that many suppressed their feelings. This meant that they often settled for a mediocre life and never truly lived their lives. As a result, many developed illnesses relating to their bitterness and resentment that they carried.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Old friends were highly valued but many had not been fully appreciated until it was too late and the friendships had slipped away.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Sadly many people did not realise that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old ways. The fear of change meant that they pretended to themselves and others that all was well, when in fact they were deeply unhappy.
You have read this article to this point. It would be remiss of me if I did not ask you "What's your greatest regret so far?' And then to challenge you with "What will you set out to achieve or change before you die?"
Source: Ware B, The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, Hay House 2012