It will always be true that some things in life are beyond our control, and at times like this when the world is an even more uncertain place than usual, people may take greater comfort in the aspects of their lives within their influence. A good place to start making meaningful decisions is to consider what you might regret having done or perhaps more importantly, not done when the end of life arrives.
With politics and the pandemic dominating the media, it’s important to take time each day to switch off our devices and take a mental break. With more time being spent at home, people have space to really think about what legacy they want to leave, what and who is most important, and how they want to live their lives. When asked by hospice nurse Bronnie Ware, the most common deathbed regret people expressed was not having lived an authentic life and been true to themselves. Ware, who worked for many years in palliative care, took all the stories she heard from patients nearing the end of life and wrote the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.
As we strip away the noise of everyday busyness, many people are discovering what is most meaningful. Instead of doing things to keep up certain appearances or please others, there is no better time to challenge yourself to live according to your unique drumbeat. It’s never too late to make changes that honor your true self; be brave and express your true feelings, reach out to old friends or estranged family if it brings you joy. Find your happiness. Absolutely nobody on their last day wished they had put in more hours at the office.
Speaking and acting with authenticity takes courage but looking back, it will be worth the risk. Try starting with a small step and see where it leads. Making changes can be difficult but if we allow ourselves to shed the weight of trying to be as we think others expect us to be, there is more room for growth and for joy. What better time than now to take pleasure in the small things, take actions that bring happiness, and eliminate negative influences? Listen to your inner voice and see what transformations begin to take place.
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