Are You Living the Life you Want?
An Australian palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware spent several years working with people in the last 12 weeks of their life. During this time she recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog, which drew so much attention that she put her observations in a book called the Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
She wrote of the clarity that people gain at the end of their lives and how we might learn from their wisdom.
“When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.”
Here are the top five regrets of the dying as witnessed by Bronnie:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. Bronnie said that this was the most common regret of all and when people realize their life is nearly at an end it was easy to see how many of their dreams had gone unfilled.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. Many deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Many people had suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others and as a
resulthad settled for a mediocre existence; never becoming the person they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier. This was a surprisingly common one. Bronnie said that many didn’t realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
If you are not living an authentic life, one in which you feel able to be your true self and express yourself honestly, coaching may be of assistance to help you live the life you want, not the life you have become accustomed to accepting.
I was particularly struck by Bronnie’s observation about the link between our emotional health and physical health. Research has proved again and again that our emotional wellbeing has a considerable impact on our physical wellbeing. Think about the amount of energy you spend exercising, watching your diet, taking the right supplements, etc., etc. Now think about the time and effort you invest in being fulfilled and happy.
Take the first step towards a better you
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