Sunday 28 April 2013

The Top Five Regrets of The Dying

Happiness Photo by Bogdan Fiedur
A palliative nurse Bronnie Ware recorded the most common regrets of the dying and put her findings into a book called ‘The Top Five Regrets of The Dying.’

I just have read those five reasons and realized that these are some of the things which parents don't want their children to do. Usually parents want their children to have education which gives them plenty of opportunities to find good and well paid job, good position in the society, good looking and rich spouses and to be successful where quite often success means high positions and good pay.

As parents we frequently forget that what we should give our children in first place is our support for their search to find their true calling, to support them when they are trying things which seem to be impossible to accomplish and when they want to do their own mistakes.

It is very likely that those regrets could have been avoided if these dying individuals were taught from the young age that life is more like a school where our main objective is to attain happiness. No amount of money or position will ever give one permanent happiness, as after one level, there is another one which needs to be conquered again and again. Hopefully one day, humanity reaches the point of understanding that living in cooperation is much more rewarding than living in competition.
Through cooperation we can understand that only what is being shared can be enjoyed and fully appreciated.

Here are the top 5 reasons from the book above. 

1. 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 realize 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 honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
2. 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.”
3. 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 illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.“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.”
5. 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.”
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  1. Hi Bogdan!

    Now you have put me in a deep thoughts. Hm, you do it regualrly, but this time ... I'd not excuse myself by "better late than never" :-).

    I do not beleive that could be found human being with zero regrets. A few times when I was one step to death, my regret was like:

    why didn't I trust more to myself?

    I believe how this 1-5 list is most common. If your theme was: why did you your best to stay alive (to survive) my contribution surely could be richer.

    Thank you.

  2. Thanks for commenting Branka. People who were close to be on the other side, usually have different prospective.

  3. As a parent I know how important it is to allow your child to find their own voice. I hope I am doing this ... I write my son letters. I started when he was 2-years-old and in those letters are thoughts and leesons and musings to help him along when I'm gone. It is the words that wwe sya, the time spent with each other that counts ... Thank you for a lovely and meaningful post...

    1. Hi Lesly, glad to hear that. If only more parents were doing this.