Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Archive for December 6th, 2011

Five Regrets To Avoid

Posted by terrepruitt on December 6, 2011

I believe one of my Nia friends on FB posted a reposting of Bonnie Ware’s Top 5 Regrets of Dying*.  You might have seen it.  You’ve probably heard many people repeat the saying and maybe some people even admit that they don’t regret things they have done as much as things they did not do.  This saying kind of sums up what Bonnie said most people’s regrets were.  Or at least the majority of regrets had to do with things they did not do.

The list she compiled consisted of the following 5 things.  To see her post you can click here.

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

Wow, huh?  She said this was the most common regret.  I think living a life true to oneself is very difficult for some people.  First of all one has to decide who they are.  With so much information out there and so many ways to be it is not easy for some to decide who they are, so it is even more difficult to be true to oneself.  Then add on the fact that there are people in your life who expect things from  you.  Not an easy task, but according to Bonnie one of the ones that people regret most not doing.  So while you have a chance, I would suggest you work on it.  I work on it daily.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

Again not an easy task.  Especially if you have kids, bills, and/or a mortgage.  Sad that having kids is the very thing that makes you work more because you want to provide THINGS for them.  They are inundated with WANTING and MUST HAVE, so you, as a good parent want to give them things.  With all the extra hours maybe you end up working through a lot of special times.

Most of us could probably learn to live without a few things, exercise restraint when it comes to certain things.  The article states to simplify which could lead to less need, which could lead to more space and happiness.

Yes, I know easier said than done.  But if we listen to lessons from people who have been there sometimes we can save ourselves a lot of heartache.

Remember Bonnie has shared this information from people who are dying.  And these are common regrets.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

I think learning how to express one’s feelings correctly helps supply courage.  Feelings are emotions that cannot always be helped.  But our actions based on feelings CAN be controlled.  If we are hurt or angry; screaming, yelling, hitting, throwing things, etc. are not good ways to express your feelings.  These things might be therapeutic ways to vent, but they are not good ways to express feelings.  Learning better ways is a step in having the courage.  Also, being in tune with who you are expressing your feelings too helps.  If you have feelings which are strong you want to share with someone and you are having to work very hard to NOT scream and yell it is usually a good idea to do it at a time when the person is receptive.  Try not to have a serious talk where you are emotional when the other person has had a bad day, is tired, or is in the middle of something.  These circumstance make it difficult for the person you are trying to share with to listen openly and give you what you need.  If they had a bad day and you coming to them telling them they hurt your feelings, might make them feel guilty with an instant reaction of yelling and blaming you.  Putting yourself in that type of situation would do the opposite of helping you have courage.  While Bonnie reminds us we can’t control the reactions of others, we can control WHEN we share with them in order to receive a better response.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Wow.  None of these are easy, huh?  I mean, I have many friends I don’t see as often as I’d like.  Life is busy.  And maybe #2 and #3 actually had an effect on #4?  Could be.  But maybe if we work less and have less stuff to deal with we would have more time for friends.  I know that I could be a little bit more timely with some things instead of waiting for the last minute.  Then I might be free to meet with a friend when she called instead of having to buckle down and get stuff done.

But with all of the social networking available to us, keeping in touch with people might be a little easier than in the past.  We will have to see.  Because it also leads to us having more friends to keep in touch with.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Hmmm.  Interesting.  Seems like people on their death bed actually admitted to keeping themselves from being happy.    According to Bonnie, they didn’t realize until they were dying that it is a choice.  One chooses to be happy.  Again, maybe this ones ties in with the ones above.  If you figure out who you are and are true to yourself you’ve probably realized you made a choice to be happy.  If you work less and fill you life and your heart up with more wonderful moments you have made a choice.  If you learn the dance of self expression, you will have allowed yourself to be happy.  If you keep in touch with friends and they are the good ones that fill your life and heart, then you’ve made a choice to be happy.

Wow.  Seems like all the regrets on the list are related.  Seems to be that working on these now could help keep us from having regrets when it is too late.  Doing these things when you have the health to do them is important.  As I mentioned maybe #1 thru #4 can help with #5.  Or maybe it is the other way around.  What do you think?

*Bonnie Ware is the author of the new book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.  Visit her official website Inspiration and Chai.

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