The mere mention of one’s own death can evoke different reactions in different people. While some would see it as an unwanted topic to deliberate upon, others like me would see it as an opportunity to reflect back on life and plan course corrections, if needed.
I strongly feel that the “fear of the unknown” often restricts us from following our heart and accomplishing bigger things in life that match up to our true potential. Living a life based on the expectations of others, with a false sense of pride and the constant fear of embarrassment and/or failure are just some of the many things that prevent us from raising the bar in our lives to newer heights.
Tricking your mind into believing that you will die soon can have an incredibly positive effect in the way you approach life. Don’t believe me?
Here is a real-life account that will help put things in perspective.
Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who had spent several years of her life taking care of patients in palliative care, wrote a telling account of some life regrets that her terminally ill patients and their family members had revealed to her. The experiences she managed to capture (initially in a blog and later in a bestselling book) through these years make so much sense to me and should to anyone reading it.
#1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Every well-meaning person around us will have an opinion about our life and the decisions we make. The choice rests with us on how we want to process this information and then make an informed decision around it.
#2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
My hands are up and I plead guilty on this count. Do you? How many times have you pledged to spend more time with loved ones and then postponed it till you have more free time? Does that free time ever come on its own or do you need to make the time?
#3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
It is important to let go of inhibitions and speak your mind. This does not mean hurting someone but standing up for what you believe in.
#4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Friends are a big support base we always have, some precious relationships that we fail to nurture because of other materialistic pursuits.
#5. I wish I had let myself be happier.
Bronnie’s blog mentions that “happiness is a choice” and rightly so! Even in the wake of setbacks, we can find happiness.
I also stumbled upon another interesting story about Father Nelson, a Spanish priest who had heard several such regrets made by people on their deathbeds.
I can go on and on and on. There is no dearth of real world examples of regrets to share that people have expressed on their deathbeds. What’s more important for you and me is to take stock of our individual lives as it stands today and see where we can make changes for the better, so that there are less regrets to dwell upon later in life.