The biggest regrets and how to avoid them

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Many people in this world are lost. They just go through the drudgery of life from one day to the next, never going anywhere neither forwards nor backwards. They are stuck in a rut. But what should they change? How can they learn to just feel again?

Well one way to figure this all out is to ask those who have already been there – those at the end of their lives and who are about to leave this world to go onto the next one. An Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware who was working in palliative care would go around asking these people what their biggest regrets in life were and what they would change. She did this in the hope of having people understand how to make their own lives better. Because after all, we’re all going to be on that final bed some day. She discovered that these people wished that

Let themselves be happier

A lot of people towards the ends of their lives realize that happiness isn’t something that is given but is a choice. They understood – sometimes too little too late – that you have to choose to be happy. They wish that they could have been more silly, not taken things so seriously, and had done more of the things that made them truly happy as opposed to convincing themselves that they were ok.

Stayed in touch with old friends

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This was a big one as well on the list of things people regretted. They regretted getting so caught up in their own lives that they lost touch with the people who knew them best and had been on them during their formative years and during their formative adventures. Its something that nearly every one of Ware’s patients felt.

Expressing their feelings

A lot of people wish that they had expressed how they felt about a person or a job or even life in general more. They feel that they had kept so much bottled up inside for so many decades that it was literally tearing them apart. And according to Ware, many people did in fact have illnesses related to the stress of simply not expressing their emotions more. They feel that had they been able to say that they didn’t like this that or the other thing, they would have been happier. Instead they had to pretend they liked it their whole life.

Hadn’t worked so hard

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In the moment it may seem awesome to have so much money and to have the prestige of working long hours (in many places in the US it is seen as a badge of honor). But almost all of the patients Ware worked with, especially the men, wished they wouldn’t have worked so hard and that they would have spent more time with friends and family. They wished they could have been at a child’s graduation as opposed to a meeting, or they simply wished they could have been with their spouse more.

Been true to themselves

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By far the number one regret that most people had at the end of their lives was that they were not who they want to be and were living for someone else. They could have been living for the way others perceived them or the way that they were “expected” to live by their family. They are sad that they spent an entire lifetime on planet earth without actually having fulfilled any or most of their dreams. And the hardest part – they didn’t do them due to life choices they had made.

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