What’s your biggest regret about your life so far? What would you like to change? Or like Edith Piaf do you prefer to say “Non, je ne regrette rien … “?
I asked myself this question a while ago when I came across a book entitled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing by Bronnie Ware, written after she worked as a nurse in palliative care.
The top five regrets may not be what you’d expect:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
These regrets speak to me of the choices we make throughout our lives and about not recognising when we’ve got on to the wrong path.
We need to remember we have choices.
We can end up doing what’s expected instead of what we really love, spending too much of our time working and missing out on what’s happening around us, hanging on to bitterness and resentment when we could just let it go. But we are making choices at each step on the journey, though we often forget that.
Even happiness is a choice for most of us.
There are all kinds of things, as research into positive psychology now shows, that we can do to help ourselves – actions we can take and choices we can make to help us (and the people in our lives) be happier.
As Bronnie Ware said in a blog post about her book: “Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content.”
Discovering the power of making positive choices is fantastically liberating!
Helping women set goals and make a plan of action for themselves is part of what I do, supporting them to move towards happiness and away from regret. I love it.
Stepping off the path of other people’s expectations and into my own territory is one of the things I do not regret!
Are you living with a big regret? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.