A Life Without Regret
This week I came across a post on instagram which outlined the five regrets of the dying according to a hospice nurse. The post brings up interesting, but important questions about what it means to live a meaningful life.
Is it even possible to live a life without regret? While it’s true that everyone makes mistakes in life or is pulled off course, it is possible to live a life that is deeply meaningful. At the end of their lives people didn’t regret that they had made more money, that they had bought better stuff, or even that they had traveled to more places. At the end of their lives they regretted not being their most authentic selves, not genuinely connecting with others who mattered to them, and not cherishing the life they were given.
Luckily, we can learn from the regrets of those who came before us, and use their lessons to live with more wisdom. Read the list below:
Regret Number One: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me…
Each person carries a unique identity. They are their own blend of personality, gifts, character traits, and skills. We also carry innate knowledge of what we like and dislike, but somewhere along the way we can get disconnected from ourselves because of how others treat us, or because of harsh judgment. It’s a tragedy to reach the end of your life, and to realize the person you were, wasn’t even who you truly wanted to be on the inside. Never be ashamed of the unique blend you bring to life, and always stay present to what you truly want.
Regret Number Two: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
While work is a reality of life, when we don’t slow down long enough to remember what it is we’re working for, we will watch our lives pass us by. We don’t live to work, we work to live. Unfortunately the pressure of life and finances can force us into a mentality where we’re constantly worried, or we find so much identity in what we do, that we’re afraid to pay attention to other parts of our lives. Always balance working hard with making time for the people, experiences, and things that matter most to us leads to a far more fulfilling experience.
Regret Number Three: I wish I’d had the cou
rage to express my feelings
Nothing is worse than the things left
unsaid. Again, this goes back to living a life of authenticity. Sometimes we’re too afraid to tell others how we feel, either good or bad, because we’re afraid of what might happen as a result. We’re afraid of rejection or hurting others. Expressing how we feel might not always get us the result we want, but we will reach the end of our lives knowing that we were brave enough to honor our own feelings and wishes.
Regret Number Four: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
As we get older, it gets harder to make time for people outside of our families and daily responsibilities. We live lives which are more isolated and insulated than the generations before us, but our friendships and communities hold the capacity to enrich our lives. When we find people who make us laugh, hold space for us, an
d are there to cheer us on, they are worth cherishing.
Regret Number Five: I wish that I had let myself be happier. Realized happiness was a choice.
We spend too much of our life not realizing that our happiness is in our own hands. We can’t control everything that happens to us, but once we become adults, we have the freedom to make better decisions, seek out the resources we need, and choose our attitudes. Life will never be 100 percent happy 100 percent of the time, but if we focus on what we can control, we’ll find there are ways to pursue our happiness.
Let us know what you think about the list in the comments!