The five regrets


(One of my friends here sent me a link while commenting on “Insult the dead”. I checked it and I stumbled upon a very interesting text by Bonnie Ware. Below a resumée: )
 

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. 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. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

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Comments

  1. Sheela Nandini says:

    Awake and Aware( as Swami Vivekananda says) every moment.

    Don’t have regrets that way like the five listed above. Thankful for all the blessings . There’s so much to look forward to in life now with this kind of awareness :)

    Love
    sheela

  2. Lydia Johnson says:

    My omen.I know the Universe is working through Paulo Coelho into my life. If u cud look into the past n see the absolute herendous day I experienced today, u wud have seen a broken, sad, confused woman. Marital / Soul Brother discord,child disappointment,financial woes, career change apprehension, you name it, I was torturing myself in pity, self & Goddess doubt. Finally, I get a moment to reflect on the day that other’s have had or are having & I stumble across Paulo C post ” The 5 biggest regrets” . Ok, I’m buying. I open it up n proceed to read of the5 biggest blessings ib my life today. The Universe told me to rtake

  3. Prvs says:

    Though th facts here r true…i still believe its almost impossible in real life….
    Living a life for ourself and for our friends cant be possible.,though we love our friends,th heavy burden of life wont let us keep touch….
    Infact,th basic theme is,’though we r nt born 2 please others,there r still ppl in our life whose expectation r our responsiblity 2 fulfil without any regrets’

  4. Patsy Clements says:

    So sad that trying to earn a living gets in the way of having a life.

  5. nousheen gul says:

    Shall we fight people around us to find our way in order to make our dreams come true?

  6. shruti says:

    we all know that there will be a day ,when we will die.but illusion or maya make us forget this truth.we become collectors,we want to earn and gather all the things around us,in order to make our lives comfortable,we run after material pleasures,and think that they can make our life beautiful.and get trapped in egos…create walls around us and each day try to justify our actions in terms of our benefits.
    and suddenly when we realize that its time to go,we kind of feel uneasiness in our forts,we want to break them but how can we break something that took so many years of our lives ,in just few remaining days? so always live life as it is your last day here.

  7. James Stygles says:

    When it is time for me to die I hope that I do so with dignity and calm and not put up a fuss, take emotional hostages, weep about what I didn’t do or complain about how I was treated. I want to think about the things that went well and great feelings that I had about what I had lived and had seen. At the end it is a shame: Strong men and women reduced to weakness and dependence on machines that monitor their heart rate and breathing. Then God in his mercy takes us. However imperfect my life will have been, even though it hasn’t all been a Disney tale, no one will be able to rob from me what I have danced and felt. If anyone asks me what I would have done different in my life when I am dying my reply to them will be how I would have parted my hair in middle instead of from the left side.

  8. Nishant says:

    So very true! Unfortunately, such things are only clearer in hindsight! :-(

  9. clarissa says:

    Nice read. I believe many can relate and would definitely agree with the simple message of this article. Many of us are guilty of the same thing. I wonder why even if there are a lot of studies, stories, articles written about these “regrets” it still persists. It’s hard for us to learn from other people’s experiences, we only learn when we are the one experiencing it, but by then it’s too late……..

  10. lilly matus marín says:

    nada mas cercano a la realidad; ojalá el mundo entero se diera la oportunidad de discernir lo ke en realidad vale la pena en esta vida…

  11. julia says:

    I wish I never regret anything in my lifa.
    The only way to achieve that is to give thanks in anything.
    WANNA DIE HAPPY?… PRACTICE TO GIVE THANKS IN 30 DAYS AND THEN THE REST OF YOUR LIFE

  12. Mercedes Belalcazar M. says:

    Si esta lectura o resumen, nos invita a reflexionar sobre nuestras vidas, como debemos primero vivir y no matarnos trabajando y que debemos cultivar la amistad, cosa que en estos momentos es importantísimo por lo cambios que se están dando y se darán y para todos poder ser UNO.

  13. sara says:

    lo vivi hace un tiempo, y cuando me di cuenta que ya no tenia tiempo, para hacer lo que para mi,antes era una perdida de tiempo; todo tubo sentido, respirar era algo extraordinario, caminar era un milagro, ver el sol salir era un regalo; amar no fue mas una devilidad, perdonar no fue mas una falta de caracter, y reconocer mis herrores es mas facil que encerrame en ellos,pensar el el que diran es una perdida de tiempo; saben deberian de diagnosticarnos a todos el tiempo que nos queda, a partir del dia en que nacemos.

  14. VERONY PAU says:

    SR. COELHO, CREO QUE CON MUCHA RAZÓN, EL ARREPENTIMIENTO, LA FRUSTRACIÓN, EL TRABAJO DIARIO Y OTRAS CAUSAS, HACEN LA VIDA PESADA Y ACABAN UN POCO CON LA FELICIDAD Y LAS GANAS DE VIVIR LA VIDA INTENSAMENTE Y SIN COMPLICACIONES, CREO QUE ESTE TEXTO HACE REFLEXIONAR MUCHO SOBRE QUE TAL VIVIMOS LA VIDA EN EL HOY, EN QUE DEJAMOS DE ” DISFRUTAR POR ACUMULAR ” Y LA VIDA ES CORTA PARA DESPERDICIARLA Y QUE HASTA QUE PERDEMOS LA SALUD, LA FE, QUISIERAMOS VOLVER A VIVIR Y NO ES POSIBLE…”DISFRUTEMOS LA VIDA Y SONRIAMOS AL MUNDO POR DIFICIL QUE SEA” BUENA TARDE BENDICIONES SR. COELHO.

  15. Olga Rios says:

    Yo creo que si me marcharia en paz porque he logrado equilibrio interior, he cumplido mi mision con mi familia, los animales y en mi medida con el planeta y cada dia sigo la lucha como guerrera de la luz que soy. Lo importante es hacer algo positivo cada dia que mejore en algo a alguien y al medioambiente y cuando termina el dia dar gracias al creador por las bendiciones y las oportunidades de aprendizaje y crecimiento.

  16. Pilar says:

    Mi voz interior. Ojalá la hubiera comprendido, desde una corta edad. Ella iba en contra de todo lo establecido….
    No me arrepiento de no haberla comprendido.
    Aunque ha pasado ya mucho tiempo, mi voz interior me lleva al sitio en donde tengo sé que debo estar y hacer.
    Siempre gracias.

  17. Mónica Villa says:

    PAULO A SU LISTA LE FALTAN COSAS, COMO EL HABER DADO TIEMPO A QUIEN NO SE LO MERECÍA, NUNCA VAMOS A APRENDER A VER LOS ERRORES HATA QUE NO LOS HAYAMOS COMETIDO….. SÍ YO MURIERÁ MAÑANA, ME LLEVARÍA LA ENORME SATISFACCIÓN DE HABER ACTUADO DE ACUERDO A MI MODO DE PENSAR,,,, SÓLO SIENTO EL NO HABERME ARRIESGADO MUCHO MAS EN ALGUNAS COSAS. NO PODER DAR A MIS HIJOS CUANTO DESEE PARA ELLOS,….. !!!!SALUDOS, PAULO DE LA ULTIMA DE SUS AMIGAS,,, Y YA ME VOY PORQUE ESTOY A PUNTO DE LLORAR…. DIOS LO BENDIGA….

  18. This article brought tears in my eyes. Yes, I was scared of taking risk and I have played my life small. After reading this article, I have learnt that we can make a choice to be happy and I am going to live life fully without keeping regrets when i laid on my death bed. I want to do what makes me happy. Thank you so much. I always wanted to person who are at death bed so that he/she teaches me what is the most important in life and I have answers from this post.

  19. Elina says:

    Ô, j’espère que j’aurai le courage de changer ma vie encore quand je suis assez jeune. Merci encore Paulo. J’aime vos livres et tout ce que vous ècrivez! :)
    Que Dieu vous bénisse

  20. A wonderful reminder about life’s brevity, mindfulness and gratitude. Thank you for sharing.
    This is the #1 read post on my blog and it, too, is about regret:
    http://www.kissesfromdolce.blogspot.com/2011/04/my-heart-sang.html

  21. Yesenia says:

    So true. Thak´s for putting it up for us (again)
    All that is said, All that I´ve read, All that I´ve heard is so true; sadly this WISE words are always taken aside. Hopefully some of us really believe in the truth within them and sherish them and live by them. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, SMILE, HUG, LOVE, LIVE!!!!

    1. work in prograce says:

      I am going to meet with ‘Merlin the Enchanter’ ,..see what I can come up with
      Hugs…
      Love
      xxxx :)
      I’ll keep you posted,

  22. Samar Saleh says:

    even though i’m just 20 years old but i feel i will be having the first regret when i get old, it’s a shame we don’t appreciate our life and health till they are gone, thank you for this reminder to live life and be happy.

  23. Swarnendu says:

    Realized how much job is still to be done in this life..

  24. Lailath says:

    I am reading this article again and again…thank so much…

  25. Haiku says:

    After suffering my stroke I live life with no regrets. I look at life prior to my stroke and realize no regrets. As for the one with “friends” I believe that true friends will be among you until your dying day. If not, then they are not true friends. Life is too short to be concerned with the what ifs, when, where, how of yesterday today and even tomorrow.

    Be thankful for each and every day and the so called ‘regrets’ are no more than illusions masked as distractions to what is really important.

  26. Kristina says:

    Very like me this is post!!!!If people often think of themselves and the true feelings to yourself – the world would be more harmonious and balanced. People would be happier!

  27. Ann Peterson says:

    Paulo, I read The Alchlsamist(sorry, selling not right.)Anyway…it totally captivated me…and at the end I felt I knew you. What a fab. life you are leading. Mine is so dull…but I can read and that “takes me away”.
    An 83 yr. young lady(musician)in Traverse City,Michigan. Come on up here, we have the new NATIONAL READERS SOCIETY…and a LOT of good authors
    are coming here. It’s right on Lake michigan, and it’s beautiful up here.
    Oh how we would love to have you. It is called NATIONAL WRITERS SERIES…and has taken off like a speeding horse. The man who started it wrote Horse Souldiers, he is Doug Stanton. We are getting famous for this great .NATIONAL WRITERS SERIES. Michael Moore also lives here and has opened and restored an amazing theater here and
    it’s like a special shows…not just plain old movies…Kind of an Art Theater.
    Wish you could come here…if you want to talk to Mr. Stanton, go to
    http://www.nationalwritersseries.org.
    my name is Ann, and e-mail is above. Thanks for reading this(if you do)

  28. anil bhave says:

    Thanks a lot again, Dear Paulo, for this reminder to all of us. It is a lesson, that one should be honest to ourselves, in all respect, to perform our duty, which is assigned to us by the all mighty then there will be no regrets.

  29. criststar11 says:

    I want you give you special thanks for all you are doing for our world and to help the people on this earth. I feel better, I know I will climb my mountain now!!!! I recover my forces, slowly but surely, we still keep in touch, I go slowly, but with strenght! This is the translation fo the text in italian,
    Take care Paulo, may God bless you everafter. EVERAFTER, sending you light to you and to your wife Christina, both are incredible persons, so beautiful.
    With all my heart, Cris

    (Uno dei miei amici mi ha mandato questo link mentre commentava “Insultando la morte”. Vedendo ciò mi sono imbattuto su un testo molto interessante di Bonnie Ware. Ecco di seguito un resume…)

    Per molti anni ho lavorato in cure palliative. I miei pazienti sono stati quelli che erano andati a casa per morire. Sono stato con loro per gli ultimi 3-12 settimane della loro vita.

    Gli ho interrogato su eventuali rimpianti che avevano o su qualche cosa che farebbero in modo diverso. I temi più comuni emerserò più e più volte. Ecco i cinque piú comuni:

    1. Vorrei aver avuto il coraggio di vivere una vera vita per me, non la vita che gli altri si aspettavano da me.

    Quando le persone si rendono conto che la loro vita è quasi finita e guardano indietro chiaramente su di essa, è facile vedere quanti sogni sono stati insoddisfatti. La maggior parte delle persone che dovevano morire, sapevano che era a causa delle scelte che avevano fatto o non fatto.
    Dal momento in cui si perde la salute, è troppo tardi. Salute porta libertà e molto pochi si rendono conto, fino a quando non ce l’hanno piú.

    2. Vorrei non avere lavorato cosi tanto…

    Questo è venuto da ogni paziente di sesso maschile che ho accompagnato. Tutti gli uomini che ho accompagnato rammaricavano profondamente il spendere così tanto della loro vita sul nastro trasportatore di una vita di lavoro.

    3. Vorrei aver avuto il coraggio di esprimere i miei sentimenti.

    Molte persone hanno sopresso i loro sentimenti in tale modo da mantenere la pace con gli altri. Come risultato, stabilirono un esistenza mediocre e non sono mai diventati chi erano veramente in grado di diventare. Molte malattie sviluppate in materia di amarezza e risentimento eranno il risultato di ciò.

    4. Vorrei che fossi rimasto in contatto con i miei amici.

    Spesso queste persone non avevano potuto realizzare i vantaggi di avere dei vecchi amici fino alle loro ultime settimane di vita e non era sempre possibile rintracciarli. Molti erano diventati così coinvolti nella loro vita che essi avevano lasciato amicizie d’oro sfuggire nel corso degli anni. Molti sentivano un profondo rammarico di non dare alle amicizie il tempo e lo sforzo che meritavano. Ad ognuno mancava gli amici quando stavanno morendo.

    5. Avrei voluto essere più felice.

    Questo è sorprendentemente comune. Molti non si rendono conto fino alla fine che la felicità è una scelta. Fossero rimasti bloccati in vecchi schemi e le abitudini. Il cosiddetto ‘comfort’ di familiarità si era straripato nelle loro emozioni, così come nella loro vita fisica. La paura del cambiamento faceva loro fingere agli altri e a se stessi, che erano contenti… Quando nel profondo, avrebberò soltanto voluto ridere correttamente della stupidità con la cuale avevanno preso la loro vita.

  30. 001 says:

    @Tamara,
    if you have already made him feel that you care about him, but because of reasonable reasons you can’t get him, i think he would understand it, let him to feel it.

  31. Thanks Paulo for sharing this post!!! I would really like to reinforce on this one. I watched as my dad was on his dying bed. Only then did I fully understand the pain he caused to me, my sister and my brothers. He lived his life through fear, he made choices that were decided for him. It build up frustration, bitterness that turned into taking it out on his kids. All along, he inflicted more on himself.

    On his dying bed, he was a stranger to us!

    When we do not follow what we truly want, we not only live miserably, we lose focus on what we have, we inflict pain and negative energy to everyone around us, only to lose it all at the end.

  32. Abdelmounaim says:

    What a deep regrets! it is really what a Human should take over, however sometimes we do need to be supported to understand ourselves… Gracias jeffe

  33. - says:

    @Maria Nourzad

    4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

    Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

  34. Andy says:

    Good one!!! life is so uncertain……its better we make up with people, if we are angry with them.And keep in touch with friends, and all the people we love!!! as we don’t know what the future holds, if they suddenly die……we’ll just lose them forever in a blink:(

  35. That’s true, we shouldn’t live our lives with regrets but enjoy the life to the optimum. (sorry if I’m not clear I’m french and I don’t speack english very well, and not at all in portugese !)

    Thank you Paulo Coelho for all the positive values you have learned to me, I’m just 22, and so much things to learn about the life, your books help me to be better.

  36. I hope I never have those regrets. last year I decided to never let myself live someone else’s life. I quit what I was studying (which was no longer bringing me happiness, just depression) and became more honest with myself and people. as a result many people looked at me differently, mostly in a bad way. but it doesn’t matter, because during the final weeks of my life, I don’t want to have regrets.

    Thank you Mr. Coelho for sharing :)

    1. Eeditchat says:

      Thank you for your help Mohamed I hesitated between Kashmir and Mohair
      Incidently, i saw one not long ago, We had a little chat.,:)

  37. Eli says:

    tak to prawda w obliczu choroby i smierci docenia sie zdrowie , przyjaciol, zwykly dzien , trudno jest sie pogodzic ze nie bedzie nas tu… pozdrawiam

  38. Moore says:

    Happiness is definitely a choice, but one thing a lot of people seem to forget these days is that the pursuing of some dreams actually has destroying other people´s life as a consequence. What if you are married and allow yourself to fall in love with someone else? Following that dream and leaving your partner may make you a lot happier, make you smile, laugh and feel alive again. But it may also mean the break-up of a family and the total and utter demolition of your children´s hearts, and create wounds that will never heal.

    What I miss in all this talk about following what your heart and soul tells you and so on .. is that sometimes denying yourself your own selfish happiness is the most loving and caring thing to do.

    1. Elisa says:

      I agree with you! Of course you have to think about yourself, but also you need to take into consideration the people around you.

    2. Nicky McIlwaine says:

      What if you are married and ‘ALLOW’ yourself to fall in love with someone else? You can’t make yourself love someone you don’t love and you can’t stop yourself from loving someone you do love. It’s not choice, it just happens. It’s not allowing yourself to fall in love with someone else. It is what it is.

  39. mudassir says:

    all expressions envisages only wishes,infact no one wants to die.i suppose these regrets in life are the compensations for not done good .only a sense of satifaction at end to oneself that…i am good.so regrets justified.

  40. vincentio angelina says:

    even to love someone need the courage, so as not to regret in the future

  41. Florence says:

    So True !!! Totally love it !!! :)
    Thanks for sharing this good reminder :)

  42. Marcelle says:

    Yes indeed we should repeat it like a mantra several times a day, lest we forget, and live life!

  43. Martha says:

    That’s so true.

  44. Caro Paulo Coelho

    Grata por mais este post precioso.

    Gostaria de falar consigo para lhe apresentar uma proposta que penso poder ser do seu interesse. Em anexo vai o nosso site, onde poderá aperceber-se das nossas intenções :) .

    Agradecia o seu contacto.

    Melhores cumprimentos pessoais

    Sónia Santana @Team Leaders

  45. Tamara says:

    Dear PAULO…..thank you thank you thank you very much for sharing this….suddenly after reading this I’m feeling so good and smiling :)))

    I have a question ….Do you think true love means letting go ??? some say yes but some say we should stick to that person no matter what…..I don’t know but this may sound very stupid ..I’m in love with a person (online ) whom I never met and I left him because I thought it would not be possible to go ahead and the worse part for me was he never stopped me and after 2 years I still think about that person but I’m happy this way knowing that I will always love him even if I don’t go back….

    After reading this I feel like telling that person my true feelings and not to care about the response …but I’m just so confused ..HELP HELP (pardon me if this seems too stupid ) but I’d really appreciate some suggestions…

    P.S : Paulo I simply love your books ….you and rumi are my mentors :)))

    1. yonslife says:

      Love is a big leap of faith “FAITH” is believing for something we do not see. You should write a letter or tell that person how much he means to you, for you to let go of any so called “what if’s” inside you. As long as you tell what’s inside, it’ll somehow set your heart free, and if he/she doesn’t reply to you-so be it, you made the big leap of faith. I just did it and it set me free. One day, regret is not a word for me but “freedom”. Happy to share it to you Tamara!

    2. Catherine says:

      Dear Tamara,
      My mother always told us ‘tears come to late, you have to act so you won’t regret’. Love is a wonderful energy…maybe it will transform but it will never leave you…If that person and you are meant to be together, live will manage to make that happen no matter what !!! If not in this live, than it will be in another live…It’s up to you if you can handle it now… I really wish you good luck !!!

  46. cecille says:

    i always love the books of paulo especially the alchemist and the valkry i wish i can read more books from his writings they are all encouraging and inspiring that we can apply to our daily lives especiaaly now that everything is happening so fast

  47. Anita says:

    Hindsight in advance is a wonderful thing. I can’t disagree with any of those. I do think there are more us becoming aware before it’s too late and changing things in the name of love. Thank you for the post x

  48. Anna Kleteckova says:

    I agree with Paul. Realize your dreams and enjoy every day as if it were your last! :)

  49. Ilsen says:

    Happiness is really a choice..

  50. Amal A.Nur says:

    So beautiful and yet so true.I believe its never too late to make a change.Thank you paulo .