No Regrets

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Bonnie Ware’s book: The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. This was based on her work in palliative care.

The fact is, we all make choices everyday which affect the trajectory of our lives. These often feel unconscious and insignificant. And yet, over time, they become significant. They can cause us to miss out, and they can change who we become. It happens very slowly …. But it happens, all the same.      

So what sorts of things did the dying regret? And what can we learn from their experience? 

Regret # 1.I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Some questions to ask yourself ….

“What does it mean for you to be authentic, and true to yourself?

“What exactly does that look like?” Try to be as concrete, specific, and detailed as you can.

“What do others expect of you? How is that at odds with the person you were made to be, and would like to be?”

“What is stopping you from living the life you want to live i- so you’re settling for the life others want you to live?”

“What one thing can you do today to move more in the direction of authenticity?”

Regret # 2. “I wish I hadn’t work so hard.”

Some questions to ask yourself ….

“To what extent does this apply to you?”

“Why is work so important to you?” What messages have you received from your family, friends, and society related to work and careers?

“What would happen if you chose to work less, and invest more in your hobbies, interests and relationships?”

Regret # 3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

Some questions to ask yourself ….

“How do you feel when you read that statement (Regret #3)?” Perhaps you feel uncomfortable? Anxious? Conflicted? Sad?  

“Which feelings were allowed in your family/ social group, and which feelings were not allowed?”

“What are you afraid will happen if you start to express a wider range of feelings, or to express your feelings more openly?

“Are there some people it would be safe to express more emotions with? Can you list them, and say what it is about these individuals that makes them feel like ‘safe people’?”

Regret # 4. ”I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends.”

Some questions to ask yourself ….

“What do you view as being the advantages of investing more in relationships? How would your life be better?”

“Who, specifically, do you regret losing touch with, or regret not spending enough time with?”

“Who has been moved to the side-lines of your life that you’d like to talk to, or see, a more of? How can you make that happen? What steps would you need to take?”

Regret # 5.I wish I’d let myself be happier.”    

Some questions to ask yourself ….

Try to imagine yourself being really happy. Paint a vivid picture in your mind’s eye.

“What would you be doing? Who you would be with? Where would you be? What kinds of thoughts would you be thinking? How exactly would you be feeling?”

“What stops you from being happy? What messages did you receive from your family, key people in your life, or from society that causes you to put a limit on your happiness?”

“What one thing can you do today in order to allow yourself to more consciously pursue happiness, and to allow yourself to relax into simply being/ feeling happy?” 

There is no reset button in life. You can’t take anything back, and you can’t undo anything. All of your actions have consequences, and the things you say and do today will have a lasting impact on the rest of your life. You have to understand that.”

16 thoughts on “No Regrets

  1. Yes, acceptance of the consequences and learn from the experiences. We can also practice adjusting course/trajectory as quickly as possible… Like a negative feedback loop in the body, with the goal towards restoring homeostasis asap once the mistake is recognized. God’s grace renews daily… there is no condemnation nor regrets, only lessons for me to forgive myself and learn. Thank you Ann as always for your helpful posts 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post is very informative.
    I wrote the questions I’m my journal.

    To sum up all five
    1. Taking daily steps towards being to myself and unburdening myself from the expectations of others
    2. Workaholic that’s me or use to be slowing down in that area.
    3. Expressing my feelings is what I do best.
    4. It’s my fault that I didn’t take the time to keep the n touch with old friends and family members.
    5. In the last three years I have allowed myself the journey to living my best life and it is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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