photo by Takras
Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”.
With any thought, none of these seem very surprising. They even sound a little clichéd, but clichés are clichés for a reason.
Here are the five most reported regrets at death according to Bronnie. I have added tapping scripts for each.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
There are so many expectations placed on me…what I need to do…and who I need to be…some of these come from my family…some of these come from my friends…some of these come from cultural norms…and some come from what I think the right and proper thing to do…even if I don’t know where these ideas come from…but there is a better way…there is a life that I want to live…that is the right life for me…I am not saying it is the right life for everyone else…I just know it is the right life for me…There is a part of me that is worried that if I follow the path that is right for me that I am going to let others down…I am going to disappoint loved ones…they might even get mad at me…tell me that I am foolish…and even cut me out of their lives…but I know that I am not going to be truly happy until I follow my own path…I give myself permission to start to pursue my own path…to become who I want and need to be…I know there are reasons that others have a view of what my life should be…but I need to make the right choices for me…I give myself permission to move forward toward the life I know is right for me…even if I don’t have a clear vision of exactly what that is…or exactly how to get it…I need to start moving towards the life that is right for me…I don’t need to live for other people…I need to start living for me…I need to start moving towards the life I want to live…it doesn’t matter that I haven’t started yet…it is not too late.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
I take a lot of pride in how hard I work…I know working hard is important…and when I say work I don’t just mean the job I do…I work hard in lots of areas of my life…there is value in working hard…there is value taking pride in the work I do…for generations people have put value in how hard we work…I know my parents talked about hard work…it can be embarrassing to look like I am taking the easy way out…it can be embarrassing to know that people around me are working harder that I am…it is like I am not carrying my weight…like I am not carrying the same amount as others…if I am not working hard…I must be a slacker…but there are a number of things that I work hard to do that it would be ok if I didn’t do them…or if I didn’t work as hard at them…when I work hard I do it so I can take care of my family…so I can provide for myself…to get ahead…and so that I can be recognized by others as doing a good job…but there are a number of things that I work hard at that no one notices…there are things that I work hard at that aren’t really important in the long term…it is not going to be the end of the world if I don’t stay late at work tonight…it is not going to be the end of the world if I don’t clean every part of the house before my guests get here…it is not going to be the end of the world if I take it a little easy…Most of the time when I work hard other people don’t notice…and when they think I am not working hard enough…they feel bad because they aren’t willing to work less hard…and they blame me by calling me a slacker…because they feel bad that they didn’t choose to work less hard…hard work is a value..hard work is important…but it is not the only value…and it is not the most important value…I give myself permission to not work so hard…there are many other things in life I need to enjoy.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Sometimes it can be hard to express my feelings…I am afraid that I am going to be judged…I am afraid that others are going to make fun of me…I am afraid that I am not going to be heard…I am afraid that I am going to be misunderstood…I am afraid that I am going to be ignored…I am afraid that I am going to share something and it is going to be used against me in the future…I know that when I express my feelings I am better understood…I know that when I express my feelings I let people know who I really am…I know that when I express my feelings it gives others permission to do the same…I know that when I express my feelings things don’t get built up in my head…I know that when I express my feelings my thoughts don’t bounce around the echo chamber that is my head and get distorted into much worse thoughts….this does not mean that I am going to tell everyone everything…this does not mean that I always wear my emotions on my sleeve…this only means that I know that there are people in my life it is safe to share my emotions with…I know there are people in my life who will hear what I have to say with an open heart…I know there are relationships that will grow and deepen if I take some time and share my emotions…I give myself permission to share what I am feeling more…I give myself permission to know it is healthy for me to share my emotions more.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
There are lots of people who used to be in my life who I am no longer in touch with…some have moved away…some I no longer work with…and others have just drifted away because of the business of life…I enjoy their company…some make me happy…some challenge me…some are funny…and some I have a great deal of history with…I know life is really busy…I know their lives are really busy…but I get so much out of the time I spend talking with them or being with them…Yes, it is hard to make time…but I know there are people who I need to reconnect with…I know it is hard to find an hour to call them…or a few hours to visit them…but I know it will be worthwhile to carve out time to reconnect…it will strengthen our connection…and it will be good for me…it will be good for them…There are people in my life who I haven’t lost touch with…but I don’t see them as much as I would like…I give myself permission to make it a priority to connect with them…I give myself permission put other things aside to spend time with the friends that I love…sure there are things that need to be done around the house…sure there are tasks that need to be done…but the world is not going to end if I don’t do them…I need to spend time with the people I love…it will be good for me…it will be good for them…I am not going to feel too bad if I don’t get the tasks around the house done…but I am going to regret losing touch with the people I love…I know it should be a priority…and I am going to make it a priority…it isn’t the only thing I need to do…and I don’t have to doing it all the time…but I need to do it more…it is a priority…I give myself permission to make it a priority.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
On some level I know that my emotions are my choice…I don’t control everything in the world…I don’t control everything that happens to me…but I can control how I react…Being happy is a choice…being happy is something that I can allow myself to do…but there are times where I choose to be serious…there are times where I choose to be in control…I worry that if I allow myself to be happy that I will become content and not try to move forward…I worry that if I allow myself to be happy I will lose focus and not get things done…It is possible to be happy and focused…it is possible to be happy and productive…it is possible to be happy and be safe…I give myself permission to be happy more…it costs me next to nothing to be happy…and it gives me so much…I choose to allow myself to be happier more.
Take one of these scripts right now and tap with it. It will make you feel lighter and help you to get more out of the moment you are living so you have less regret later.