“I wish I’d lived a life true to myself rather than the one others expected of me.”
That was the number-one regret expressed by dying people cared for by Australian palliative nurse Bronnie Ware, who worked with hospice patients for almost ten years and who wrote about her experiences in her book, The Five Regrets of the Dying.
They also wished they’d kept friendships alive, worked less and spent more time with family (very common among her male patients), allowed themselves to be happier, and had the courage to express their feelings – which undoubtedly would have helped them live their lives more authentically.
There have been two pivotal experiences in my life that kicked me down the road toward my own authenticity: the first was when I realized my true calling in life in my first week of Martha Beck life-coach training. I knew then that I wanted to help other people (and myself) become more of their “essential selves.”
The second, ten years later, followed my diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. That brought me face-to-face with who and where I was in my life compared to where I would be if I had been even more deliberate in my choices. I swore to myself that if I responded to cancer treatment, I would honor myself and my dreams with every day I had left.
Fortunately, I did respond to treatment, and four and a half years later I can honestly say that I am more aligned with my top priorities than ever before.
Are you? Do you feel peaceful about the way you spend your days, and who you spend time with? Do you have enough meaning and purpose in your life? Do you spend your free time doing things that fill your spirit?
If not, I invite you to reflect on these regrets and see if you’d have any if you knew you wouldn’t live forever. What would you like to do differently?
Wishing you peace and no regrets.