In her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Bronnie Ware shares stories of her life and those of her dying patients, she heard these five regrets the most:
- Courage to live true to myself
- Don’t work too hard
- Courage to express my feelings -Last week’s post linked here
- Stay in touch with friends
- Choose happiness
In the book, Bronnie Ware shared the story of a woman who regretted losing touch with her friends, she told her, “Don’t lose touch with the friends you value the most…Those who accept you as who you are, and who know you very well are worth more than anything in the end.”
It is a basic human need to be accepted and loved for who you are and friends who do this are sometimes rare. I have been making an effort lately to reconnect with friends who I have not seen in a long time and yet feel that deeper connection and acceptance; it has been great to pick up where we left off last and re-connect. And I am lucky to have friends from decades ago who still keep in touch with me, and current friends who are willing to forgive when I mess up and want to keep being friends. In our busy lives it can be so easy to not stay in touch, it takes effort, forgiveness and tenacity!
The last most common regret is about recognizing all the good things that are here in this moment and not falling into the easy habit of, I’ll be happy/successful/satisfied when…I’m thinner, or wealthier, or have that new job or that new home or that great guy...And then when that thing, relationship, or whatever we desire happens it’s on to the next thing that’s just around the corner.
In the book she tells the story of a 51-year old woman dying of a chronic disease, “It is too easy to always want more from life, and that’s fine to a degree, since expanding who we are is a part of dreaming and growing. But as we will never have everything we want and will always be growing, appreciating what we already have along the way is the most important thing.”
I know for me, it is a push/pull balance of being happy with what I have and striving for my goals. I can easily get caught up in the striving. Sneaky thoughts of wanting more and being frustrated with what I don’t have make their way into my consciousness.
Sneaky because logically I know this is not helpful! Yet, in those pesky thoughts sneak.
I find that I need to meditate, journal about what I’m grateful for and read philosophical books to keep me centered. My current book is “Becoming Wise An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living” by Krista Tippett and a favorite that I re-read periodically is, “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer.
Find what works to keep you centered in gratitude of what is and choosing happiness and then make it a part of your routine. Oh and call that friend you’ve been thinking about and re-connect.