Be mindful of what you toss away, be careful of what you push away, and think hard before you walk away. -unknown
What Matters? The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.
From her interactions with her patients, she found that in the final days of their lives they shared five common regrets.
As you read this, think to yourself what could you do differently right now, with your life, so that you live a life of joy, happiness, and meaning, and not experience these regrets?
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
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 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. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is all comes down to love and relationships in the end.
That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
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
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.
Article by Bonnie Ware, author of the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing
By Karl Moore
Every day, most of us focus on the grey clouds in the sky. Life is dim and gloomy, and showers are just minutes away. But we forget something. We don’t remember that just behind those clouds, the sun is beaming brightly – every single minute of every single day. These are 15 rules designed to shift your perspective, helping you to rediscover the happiness you may have forgotten.
Rule #1 – Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself! It’s not going to help the situation. It’ll only help you to wallow in a state of apathy, playing the victim. The kind of person that things happen to, but that can’t do anything about it. By stopping feeling sorry for yourself, you can actually get on and DO something about it. If you want to be happy – stop feeling sorry for yourself. “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.” – Helen Keller
Rule #2 – Be Grateful. Think of all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for right now. It could be your family. Or your health. Maybe your home. Your friends. Your brain. Your heart. Your spirit. We’ve all got amazing things in our own lives that make us smile with joy. And if we can count these blessings every day, we’ll discover a greater appreciation of the beautiful world we surround ourselves with. “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” – Meister Eckhardt
Rule #3 – Say Yes More. We fight against what happens to us in life, rather than allowing it to be as it is. We resist it, rather than accepting it. We say “No!” rather than saying “Yes” – or even just “Okay.” By saying “Yes!” more to life, we go with the flow. Things become more enjoyable and positive, less stressful and anxious, and often the situation turns out for the better regardless. “I will say yes to every favor, request, suggestion and invitation. I will swear to say yes where once I would say no.” – Danny Wallace
Rule #4 – Follow Your Bliss. Bliss is what you’re doing when you’re wrapped up in the moment. When you’re so thrilled just to be doing it, it ceases even to be work anymore. Your bliss occurs when you’re living in the moment, and time doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s not for the money, it’s for the pleasure. “When you follow your bliss, doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.” –Joseph Campbell
Rule #5 – Learn to Let Go. Remember, letting go doesn’t mean you “forgive” the person at the grocery store, or you “allow” that kind of behavior. It just means that you release the negative emotion inside of you. By releasing negative emotions, you’ll not only enjoy much more freedom in your life – you’ll also become more emotionally stable and less stressed too. “By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.” –Lao Tzu
Rule #6 – Do Random Acts of Kindness. The more we give, the more we receive. A Random Acts of Kindness or RAK is a small act of kindness that you grant to someone else in the world – for absolutely no reason whatsoever, without expecting anything in return. Just throw a little extra kindness out to the world – and watch how you find greater happiness starting to flood back into your own life. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama
Rule #7 – Happiness Is Only Ever Now. We spend so much time waiting to be happy in the future, or worrying about the past, that we forget to live in the moment. But here’s the thing: Life is transient. The past has gone. The future is just a dream. The only time that truly exists ever is RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW is the ONLY time you can do or change ANYTHING in your life. And NOW is the only time you have. “Few of us ever live in the present, we are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.” – Louis LArmor
Rule #8 – Experience, Don’t Hoard! Investing in experiences rather than material goods created greater lasting happiness. It doesn’t have to be big and it doesn’t have to be expensive. And you can always do it on your own, too. By living, and truly experiencing life, we feel more whole, fulfilled and authentic. So, experience – don’t hoard – and you will be happy. “When youre curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.” – Walt Disney
Rule #9 – Appreciate Both Sides of the Coin. The truth is that in order for you to experience true happiness in your life, you must experience sadness. Without sadness, we really can’t even understand what happiness is. Just enjoy and embrace all your life adventures. And when seemingly negative things happen, remember that it’s just the duality of life. It’s just the other side of the coin. It’s required. It’s part of the equation. “You don’t know when you’ve hit a peak until you’re coming down. And you don’t know when you’ve hit a trough until you’re climbing out. It’s all good.” – David Brent
Rule #10 – Be More Social. Countless studies on the science of happiness have turned up one single characteristic of the happiest and most successful people in society. They have a large social network! Don’t just wait for interesting people to stumble into your life. Keep going and going. Expand your social circle as far as you can. Be the person that walks through town and bumps into a dozen friends. “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
Rule #11 – Love More! We must realize that we feel the most happy in life – when we are the one giving the love! The more we love others, the happier he became. The more we love the world around us, the happier we become. The more we love even our enemies, the happier we become. And best of all, WE can control the amount of love we give – and thereby control the amount of happiness we experience. “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” – Barbara De Angelis
Rule #12 – Have a Dream. Dream are critical. They light up life. Without them, we become bored, and tired, and apathetic. So, take this opportunity to really clarify your dreams. Take a pen and paper and spend an hour figuring out what you really dream about. But whatever you do, make sure you have a dream. They’re incredibly important. Dreams are the spark plugs of the spirit. Make sure yours are ready for action. “A person starts dying when they stop dreaming.” – Brian Williams
Rule #13 – Intention Sets Direction. Decide on where you’re going and how it’ll be for you – and it’ll happen. set your intention first. Make it clear that you’re going to have a great time, you’ll meet some fantastic people, and that it’s going to be wonderful. Set your general intention every morning and every night, too. The brighter and more positive, the better. Set your sunny intention – and you will be happy. “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
Rule #14 – Enjoy Simple Pleasures. It’s an attitude. The ability to appreciate the happiness, the beauty, the pleasure in the simple things around us. Remember the simple things that you truly enjoy. Then take time out to experience them again. Or even better, turn them into little daily or weekly rituals, filling your life with sunshine. Quite simply, enjoy simple pleasures and rituals – and you will be happy. “Simplicity is the essence of happiness.” – Cedric Bledsoe
Rule #15 – Accept What Is. By accepting, welcoming, embracing what is, you clear all of your emotions. Your thoughts gain more clarity. You become happier. You experience more freedom. If you can change things, after accepting them, you’ll have a sharper mind and more energy to do so. Pointless worrying – there’s nothing you can do about it. Shrug and smile about it, that’s life. “Happiness is a function of accepting what is.” – Werner Erhard
Eustace Conway shares some valuable insight on how to free ourselves from the demands of society in order to pursue our dreams and passions. This is a very powerful Ted Talk presentation. Enjoy the quotes and video…
“All successful men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.” -Brian Tracy
“I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.” -Jonas Salk
The Taoist alchemist and herbalist Ko Hung described one of the benefits of nonegotistical awareness: contentment.
The contented man can be happy with what appears to be useless. He can find worthwhile occupation in forests and mountains. He stays in a small cottage and associates with the simple. He would not exchange his worn clothes for the imperial robes, nor the load on his back for a four-horse carriage. He leaves the jade in the mountain and the pearls in the sea. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, he can be happy–he knows when to stop. He does not pick the brief-blossoming flower; he does not travel the dangerous road. To him, the ten thousand possessions are dust in the wind. He sings as he travels among the green mountains.
He finds sheltering branches more comforting than red-gated mansions, the plow in his hands more rewarding than the prestige of titles and banners, fresh mountain water more satisfying than the feasts of the wealthy. He acts in true freedom. What can competition for honors mean to him? What attraction can anxiety and greed possibly hold? Through simplicity he has Tao, and from Tao, everything. He sees the light in the “darkness,” the clear in the “cloudy,” the speed in the “slowness, the full in the “empty.” The cook creating a meal with his own hands has as much honor in his eyes as a famous singer or high official. He has no profits to gain, no salary to lose; no applause, no criticism. When he looks up, it is not in envy. When he looks down, it is not with arrogance. Many look at him, but nobody sees him. Calm and detached, he is free from all dan- ger, a dragon hidden among men…