I came across a very cool post this morning and thought I would share it with you, along with my own personal commentary about how to deal with such regrets before it is too late and you’ve moved onto another plane of existence. You can find the original post here: http://ohdarling.posterous.com/nurse-reveals-the-top-5-regrets-people-make-o . It was written by a nurse whose specialty was dealing with the dying. Hospice care is not my specialty, although I am trained to help people make their transitions peacefully and easily. If you can deal with these top five things before it’s time to make your transition, I think you might find life much more enjoyable.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. How, exactly, can you be true to yourself? Without sacrificing relationships and while honoring others while they are true to themselves? First of all, we must know ourselves in order to be true to ourselves. Sometimes, the prospect of getting to know ourselves can be an unwelcome one. But with the right kind of support and a spiritual connection, it becomes easier to be true to yourself, and to honor the path of others. And sometimes, in being true to yourself, a relationship does get sacrificed. If you are really being true to yourself and the relationship goes away because of it, then it was meant to be. If you can’t be true to yourself in a relationship, the relationship and both parties become toxic, and that is not a good thing.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. I believe that there is a balance in all things, and that working too much or too hard (there is a difference!) simply means we are out of balance. Why are you working so much? Is it because you love your work? Or is it because you have a fear of financial insecurity? Or perhaps because you are escaping some other less pleasant aspect of your life? In order to not work so hard or so much, you must be willing to let go of the payoff that you receive from that practice, whether it’s more money or escape or something else. It may take some revision in your life in order to do this, and again, support or work with a coach can help with this.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. The nurse who wrote the original post really said it very well, so I’m just going to copy her words here:
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly,in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.”
I will add, as a caveat, that expressing your feelings can be done gently and compassionately, or hurtfully. Some work in the area of compassionate or non-violent communication can help with this. And know that how you communicate with yourself is how you communicate with others. If you are your own worse critic, you may want to get some help using a technique like inner dialogue or guided imagery to help you be gentler with yourself.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. Take some time to spend with your friends…on a regular basis. Friendships don’t just happen, they need time and energy, much like marriages. I remember people used to say that all good marriages need work to survive. I always disagreed with that, but until recently didn’t know why. Now I know that it is my concept of work that I disagree with. I do think marriages take energy and time. Couples need to spend time together, they need to have date nights, they need to pay attention to one another, they need to each honor the other’s path. I call that energy and time, not work, and I think friendships need the same in order to survive.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. This statement illustrates quite nicely what happens when we approach our transition: physical stuff takes a back seat, and the more important stuff comes forward in an age old wisdom. The wisdom is that happiness is a choice. Abe Lincoln said that we are only as happy as we make up our minds to be, and he was right. So today, make the choice to be happy. Then do it again tomorrow.