What I’m reading 📖 this week: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware // Want to know what people nearing their death wished they had done differently? Read on!
the wisdom of hindsight
Do you sometimes feel stuck in the rat race that is life? Doing everything that is expected from you by society but still feel something is not right or missing?
It's no wonder that around the world people are experiencing burn-outs and feeling depressed. It seems we might not live our life they way it is intended to be lived. Are we chasing the wrong goals and dreams?
Who better to turn to for an answer than people who are dying. In their final months, weeks and hours, what are they regretting in hindsight? That's what Bronnie Ware is sharing in her book "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying".
Who is bronnie?
After almost a decade of caring for others she learned to take better care of herself and decided to share the life lessons of the dying. As a speaker, author and coach she stimulates others to live "regret-free" too.
The denial of death
Our society seems to shut death out, trying to hide it and deny its existence. One of the things Bronnie became aware of while working with the dying is that the dying person and their family and friends were often unprepared for something so inevitable. I don't know about you, but I also don't feel comfortable talking about dying and rather not think about it.
THe TOP FIVE regrets are......
This is of course what you've been waiting for: what are the main regrets of people that are nearing their death. What did they wish they had done differently in their lives?
Which regret resonates with you the most? That will tell you a lot about what you might need to change in your own life.
What I really loved about this book, were all the personal stories Bronnie shared of the people she took care of while dying. These were people of all ages, not only elderly people.
For every regret I have selected a quote from the book of a dying person which gives more insight on the specific regret.
BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
The number one regret is that people wished they had lived a life more true to themselves. As one lady shared, who had been in a restrictive marriage:
"It's not that I wanted to life a grand life. But I wanted to do things for me too and I just didn't have the courage. How can it be possible I have waited all these years to be free and independent and now it's too late? Don't you ever let anyone stop you doing what you want."
Don't work so much
Having regrets on working too hard and being absent for their family and friends is also a regret that came to the surface very often. People would postpone future plans with their family, putting it on all the work they still had to do.
But as we all know, there will always be enough work waiting, but there won't be all the time in the world. As one man shared:
"I liked my work enough, sure. And I definitely loved the status, though what's the point of that now? I gave less time to what truly kept me going in life: my wife and my family. I think I was scared. My role had come to define me in a way."
Wishing they had the courage to express their feelings is also a common regret of people dying. We long to be known and understood and sharing your feelings is needed for this.
But often we put up walls and block our feelings, let alone share them with others. As one man stated:
"I worked and worked and kept the family at a distance. They didn't deserve to be so alone. I wish they really knew me. But they don't know me and I want them to."
KEEP friendsHIPS ALIVE
During our lifetime we make friendships, these come and go while some stay. One regret was not having stayed in touch with important friends.
Friends are essential because they know where you are coming from and who you are. As one lady, living in a nursery home, shared:
"I have been dying of loneliness in here. I am missing my friends most of all. I wish I hadn't lost touch with them. You imagine your friends will always be there, but life moves on. Suddenly you find yourself with no-one in the world who understands you or knows anything about your history."
ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE HAPPY
And last, but not least, people wished they had let themselves be happier.
Feeling burdened by feelings of guilt or shame from their past, people regretted not allowing themselves to be happier. As one lady shared:
"I don't think I ever felt I deserved to be happy, you know. My marriage break-up tarnished the family name and reputation. What a miserable person I've been. I wish I'd let myself be happier. It's really our own choice, isn't it? I know that now."
FROM HINDSIGHT TO THE PRESENT
This book not only shows these regrets form the perspective of the dying, it also shows how Bronnie learned from these regrets and applied them to her own life.
Let's wrap up this post with some of Bonnie's own thoughts:
"We spend so much time making plans for the future, depending on things happening at a later date to assure our happiness our assuming we have all the time in the world, when all we ever have is our life today."
Interested? Get your hands on this book via:
"Life is too short watch it go by, just because of fear that can be conquered if faced courageously."