“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” This most common regret made people realize how many of their dreams had gone unfulfilled because they sacrificed their own aspirations to please others. Most people had not honored even half of their dreams. They died knowing it was because of the choices they’d made or not made.
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard,” came from every male patient she nursed. They missed their children growing up and their partner’s companionship.
“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings,” The dying told Ware that they suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace. They settled for a mediocre existence, never becoming who they were truly capable of becoming.
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.” Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had forgotten the value of golden friendships and let them slip away.
“I wish that I had let myself be happier”. Surprisingly, many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits, pretending to others and themselves that they were content. Deep within they longed to laugh and have silliness in their lives again.
Are you harboring any regrets? Are there actions you want to take, goals you want to achieve, changes you want to make in your lifetime?
Ware also has TEDx talk on Regret-Free Living.