What Is Your Biggest Regret? The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying

What Is Your Biggest Regret? The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal simple wisdom from people who were dying as they shared their greatest regrets in life.

First a quick update:

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What Will You Regret At The End Of Your Life?
What will you regret; will it be something you did or something you didn’t do? Watch my video 

Now, let’s talk about simple wisdom from people who were dying as they shared their greatest regrets in life.

Of course, you want to live your best life and life to its fullest. And so many people fear making the wrong choice or decision. What do you do to avoid potential regrets, and what is your greatest regret thus far?

I believe my greatest regret is that I never ‘knew’ my father – I never had a relationship with him; I was far too angry and too judgmental. Forgiveness and compassion on my part came much too late, and so, as a result we both missed out.

I do believe that we can learn from other people’s mistakes as well as from their triumphs.

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who cares for patients in the final 12 weeks of their lives: “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.”

Bronnie identified five regrets of the dying and published a book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing”:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”


2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

What are your regrets?
What can you do today, right now, to prevent future regrets?

Below are some thoughts and insights from various commenters, and watch this video from Holly Butcher who left a heartbreaking note before she died at age 27.

Regret is selfish – better to show remorse while I can still do something about it.

I imagine I might regret not having accepted myself as I am, which is the cause of so much suffering.

Be an individual.

Materialism is an illusion.

Remember we had our most leisure time as a society during the stone age.

I regret leaving that evening without saying ‘I love you’.

Have fun, your either on holiday or in prison.

I seem to recall that the evidence is that we regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do.

Remorse, but not regret. Learn from your mistakes.

You don’t lose your life by dying, you lose your life by not living.

Forget death – let us just live as well and happily as we can for every moment. Let that be the mantra – and then, maybe, there will be fewer regrets?

Allow yourself to love what you love, and hate what you hate.

It’s easy to begin to think of overworking as a virtue. It really isn’t.

I hope that, at the end of my life, I don’t wish I’d cherished people more, made them feel more loved or been kinder to people. Those are the things that I would feel were important.

Feelings may be important but what is vital is what you SAY, and what you DO.

I wish i’d had more sex.

I regret…every time I’ve ever hurt someone.

I asked my father on his death bed if he was afraid of dying and he replied, “No, I have done everything I wanted to do.”

The fact that you have regrets doesn’t automatically mean you haven’t fulfilled your life…saying “I have no regrets” is a consequence of a selfish self-focused life, I don’t think the statement is meant to be taken literally.

I believe our greatest regret in life is often connected to relationships – not having spent more time with someone we love, not having expressed more love.

I would like to close by encouraging you to get clear about what matters to you most in life; what is or are the most precious ‘things’ to you? Now, go get them and hold onto them!

If you need help to overcome fear of rejection, insecurities or past relationships and traumas, book a one-on-one session with me.

You can add to the conversation below.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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