So, we live our lives on the basis of denial. We deny our inevitable fate, and gamble with the idea that we have plenty of time to live our dreams. According to Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse from Australia , many of her dying patients listed this as their biggest regret. Ware took care of patients in their last three to twelve weeks of life, and heard many stories and confessions from them all. In the book, she said many of her patients had not honored even half of the dreams they wanted to fulfill, and this caused them to have major regrets before the end of their life.
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If this is your first time registering, please check your inbox for more information about the benefits of your Forbes account and what you can do next! Each year for my work, I review and study a large amount of material—from blog posts and articles, to research studies, books, papers, TEDx talks and more. Much of it shares important information aimed to help people overcome their challenges and live a happier, more fulfilling life. And a good deal is beneficial for us.
When I first read it, I found it so simple yet so powerful and poignant. After reading it, I was moved to do research of my own about The Top Five Regrets of Midlife Professionals , and wrote a now viral post on the those regrets and what they mean for me and many of us in midlife.
Six and a half years ago, I lived through watching my beloved and brilliant dad slowly die of cancer that had metastasized throughout his body, and it was a devastating experience for all of us.
I heard the questions he asked me over and over again forgetting that he had just uttered them a minute before and I saw what he was most worried about. Her powerful book that followed, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed By the Dearly Departing became an international bestselling memoir, read by over one million people in 32 languages, with a movie in the pipeline. Ware, who lives in northern New South Wales, is also an inspirational speaker and a passionate advocate for simplicity and leaving space to breathe.
Her book is a courageous, life-changing memoir inspiring you to embrace your power of choice and the sacredness of time. I was thrilled to catch up with Ware recently on my podcast Finding Brave , and hear the lessons she personally learned from her years of working with and supporting those who are dying. Kathy Caprino: Bronnie, how did you find yourself compelled to write a book about the top regrets of the dying?
A music magazine asked me to write an article about it, which inspired me to start a blog. As the regrets of the dying had changed my life so much it was the first thing I was called to write about.
More than a million people read the article in its first year and at least 10 million since. So when I was contacted by an agent to write a book and share more about the regrets, it was an honor to be able to tell the stories more fully. It was only as a memoir showing how the regrets of the dying transformed my own life was I able to fully articulate their power and to make them more relatable.
Most people cannot truly imagine themselves on their deathbed. Read more about each of these regrets here. Ware: The regrets of the dying helped me understand how sacred time is. I realized that the pain of breaking through any amount of resistance would never be as heart-wrenching as lying on my deathbed with regrets. This has propelled an ever-expanding habit of courage that has shown me how we are all so much more capable than we realize. We just need the courage to get out of our own way.
Silence and introversion used to be my coping mechanisms. But unexpressed feelings just eat away inside. Witnessing the pain of this regret on numerous occasions gave me the courage to become as fully honest and open as possible, which has completely changed who I am in the best ways.
It has not only brought me a deeper sense of peace and pride in who I am, but has also added immense richness to the quality of relationships I now enjoy both personally and professionally. Caprino: If you could share what you've seen as the one most painful and heart-wrenching regret that the dying have, what would you say it is?
Whether those other people are family, peers, or society, makes no difference. Witnessing this regret on repeated occasions, in people from all walks of life, was powerful beyond measure.
Caprino: You talk in your book about how living with harsh judgments of others and ourselves hurts us and keeps us from being happier. What instead can help our hearts and lives be happier and freer and more rewarding? Ware: By realizing mistakes are a part of life. They are how we learn. None of us are perfect, nor are we meant to be. So the more you understand this, the more patience and compassion you develop for other people and yourself.
There is no set formula for how you have to live your life. When you stop using the successes or failures of others as a gauge, you set yourself free to live how it makes the most sense to your own heart.
We are all different and the more you embrace those differences free of judgment, the more your own heart feels confident to be heard and honored.
It is tempting to try and ignore it by thinking you need to know all the answers straight away. But when you find the courage to let go of living a life not true to your own heart, you naturally become kinder to others too as you recognize their own struggles. Caprino: You also mention that, "What if we gave ourselves permissions to have courage, to feel safe to express our feelings, and to go to where our heart guides us, with vulnerability and bravery?
Ware: The braver we are to be ourselves the more we permit others to do the same. While some of our individual talents may be similar to others, our expression and delivery of those vary.
We all respond differently, too. So the more real you are in your expression of self, the more chance people have of connecting with someone specific you , rather than a standard theme or delivery of a message. It is only through mistakes we learn. So the more we can support others to have a go, knowing they will only be encouraged not judged, the more confident they become to push through further resistance bringing them ever-closer to their own potential.
Rather than seeing people as fools for having a go and failing, we can look at them with admiration for their courage and wait with joyful anticipation to see what their next attempt will be, since it will come with the wisdom of past learning. Caprino: In the end, what is the most compelling message you'd like to share with us, based on your work with the dying? Ware: Life is sacred.
Bring as much consciousness to the choices you make on a daily basis. Take courageous action. And know you truly are worthy of joy. For more information, visit bronnieware. My career coaching firm— Kathy Caprino, LLC —offers a wide array of programs, training, assessments, videos, and courses that help women "dig deep, discover their right work, and illuminate the world with it. Along with contributing to Forbes. For more information, please visit kathycaprino. Please help us continue to provide you with free, quality journalism by turning off your ad blocker on our site.
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Top five regrets of the dying
This post originally appeared in Collective Evolution. A palliative nurse recorded the most common regrets of the dying and put her findings into a book called "The Top Five Regrets of The Dying. Below is the list of each regret along with an excerpt from the book. At the bottom is also a link to the book for anyone interested in checking it out. One thing on regret before we get to the list.
The Top Five Regrets of the Dying
Ware first shared the insights in a blog post, "Regrets of the Dying". In Ware expanded her blog post into a book memoir, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying , which was translated into 27 languages. According to Bronnie Ware, the five most common regrets shared by people nearing death were:  . A study reached similar conclusions, finding that people were more likely to express "ideal-related regrets", such as failing to follow their dreams and live up to their full potential. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.