5 REGRETS OF THE DYING
A brilliant article that puts the healed, authentic life in perceptive, fast!
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I got to know about the 5 Regrets of the dying. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common 5 Regrets of the dying:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
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. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Mental health and health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed mental illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends is the forth part of 5 Regrets of the dying.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
With 5 Regrets of the dying, it is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise 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.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
For more about 5 Regrets of the dying, living a healed and purposeful life, give us a call and heal today. Please, please don’t stay stuck! It is not worth it. Addictions, depression, anxiety, trauma and almost anything else can be healed.
How To Seize The Day Right Now
For those of you looking for more ways to seize the day and start creating a life filled with fewer regrets and more happiness, I recommend taking on some of these daily practices and reminders.
- Learn that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them and forgive yourself along the way.
- Make your health and wellness a top priority every day as you can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
- If you don’t fit into the crowd you are with, maybe you were meant to lead it.
- Laugh often and daily. Find the funny in everything.
- Learn to be flexible in your methods but persistence in what lights you up.
- Do one thing every day outside of your comfort zone.
- Ask more questions and expand your desire to know more.
- Look for the silver lining in every experience no matter how dull the shine.
- Reserve your judgment until you have all the facts.
- Have a mindset of gratitude and be thankful for what you have right now.
- Practice admiration without envy.
- Don’t try to change people unless they ask for it.
- Enjoy the journey not just the final destination.
- Check your negative internal dialogue.
- It takes the same amount of energy to frown as it does to smile.
- Be bold and face your fears. Discover your own voice along the way.
- Love more, everywhere and in every way.
- Be open to other ideas and ways of seeing things.
- Value your time so you won’t devalue yourself in the process.
- Surround yourself with those who will tell it to you straight.
- Treat people the way you wish to be treated.
- Live in the now by being present in all ways – this includes your thoughts.
- Make time for the things and people that are most important.
- Don’t hold grudges. It’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
- Stand for something or fall for anything (or anyone).
- Be an authentic version of yourself.
- Journal daily about what you love, what you did and what you’re thankful for.
- Never stop moving forward.