The living and the dead. The blessed and the cursed. The bold and the coward.
Some of us may value life and are grateful for all the things we have achieved. But usually, we unknowingly take it for granted as well. And who can tell us about the life we live better than the Dying. They have lived their life and have been through the mistakes and hurdles that have shaped their opinions and experiences.
In 2009, Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, wrote an online article to uncover any regrets and secrets from her patients to learn from their mistakes. In her book, "Top Five Regrets Of The Dying" Bronnie revealed that all her patients spoke about things like relationships, love, personal matters rather than money, success, fame.
Have you noticed that most of us do the opposite? We run behind success, fame, money, status, anything materialistic, while the other important matters in our life just lay waste. It's human nature to want more. The need for desire doesn't seem to end. No matter how much we achieve, it's never enough.
One thing is for sure. If we die, we only have 6 ft of dirt to our name. That's all.
Here are the Top Ten regrets heard on a deathbed, including the 5 most popular ones from the book, "The Top Five Regrets Of Dying."
This was one of the most common regrets found among the dying. It was realized that people mainly focus on things they couldn't do that they really wanted to do. Because of personal issues or circumstances, they had to make certain choices which resulted in some people not even realizing their dreams and aspirations.
"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there." They were afraid to take risks. Do you know when a life is truly wasted? When monotony takes over. You turned your back on the excitement you craved so much. Escaping the confinement of comfort is a struggle for anyone at first. But once you do, there wouldn't be any space to regret.
Many didn't realize this but happiness was actually an option for them. They just didn't give themselves a chance. It was found that trying to please others, fear of change, fear of rejection, and the general habits they formed in their lives had, in fact, prevented them from happiness. When you're on your deathbed, what others think of you is not relevant at all. Just when patients were a little time away from death, they realized the difference it made to not care about other people's opinions.
This regret was mostly found among males. They felt like they had failed to spend any worthwhile time with their families. They missed their children growing up in front of them. They must be present in a physical form, but they were never truly present. The same would be in the case of relationships. Work was given more importance and time passed by too fast for them. They blinked and they missed almost everything.
Are you familiar with the quote, "Some people die at 27, they are only buried at 72." This applies here greatly. You know what is more deadly than death? Stifled feelings. Many people felt that they had repressed their feelings in order to maintain the peace between things. At that moment, it felt like it would be rewarding later. After hearing the regret, clearly, it wasn't worth it. Many of the patients developed illnesses because of their repressed feelings and hiding behind a mask.
It happens. People go separate ways and in order to grow more, people are okay with the fact of not talking to someone who was a friend. It's considered normal to just forget people after you've lost touch with them. Every "We should catch up" turns into a formality. On a deathbed, people felt like maybe, they should have been the first person to call or the first person to make a plan. Dying patients realized how much they valued old friends until it's too late and it wasn't possible to track anyone down.
Whether it be drinking, smoking, drugs, or compulsive eating, it might feel like you would live forever at that moment, but slowly you'll know you were wrong. Some even said that when they were younger, they didn't care about dying because life was considered 'too short' to care about these things. How much ever you feel like a brave person, nobody wants to face death or just end themselves. You only have one body. A positive and an enduring body would have made it easier for you to deal with life.
Have you heard this quote? "Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret." It's natural to be angry and sometimes even justified. But, we cannot let anger control us. It takes over and we say cruel words that we can never take back again. The damage is already done, how much ever you try to fix it later anyway.
When you're on your deathbed, you realize that not everyone in your life was benefitting you in your growth as a human being. Some would even pull you down and spread poison in your life. You later realize how much of your energy went into appeasing everyone, even if they disrespected you or treated you poorly. You should always be around people who support you and lift you.
One of the major regrets that have been commonly heard on a deathbed is that "I should have quit my job." You slogged away at a job you hated your entire life, and in the end, it wasn't even worth it. Do something you love, and that job stops being work for you. Soon, that job would become the one thing you would want to look forward to when you wake up in the morning.