In her recent book 'The Top Five Regrets of the Dying', Bronnie Ware, who worked as a palliative care nurse for more than 20 years, revealed that the five most common regrets of the dying were:
- 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.
It didn't matter what age, sex or culture they were, people's regrets were very much the same.
This perspective can offer us all a real insight and act as a wake up call, no matter what age we are. Take the first on the list ‘I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me’. From that place, it can be easy to see how few dreams had been realised, with many people failing to honour even half of them. It is clear that many go through life without fulfilling their potential.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to be yourself. Sounds simple, but for many, this can be a struggle. People can often feel trapped by their obligations, expectations and insecurities while others have simply never had a sense of who they really are or even thought about it.
It can be all too easy to fall to the pressure of assuming different identities for different people - at work, in your personal life or sometimes with certain people in particular situations. Over time you can lose sight of who you really are and what you want. This often hits people at significant times in their lives.
When you are yourself, something happens at a much deeper level, that connects all your senses, values and beliefs, allowing you to feel whole and congruent. At this point, life can begin to fall into shape and make more sense. As you progress on this journey, you will gain more confidence, become stronger, make more conscious choices and things can really start to move in the right direction. You will become the author of your own life story rather than just a character in your book.
Working with a Coach can help you to be more honest with yourself and understand yourself better. Self-awareness is pivotal and when you embrace this knowledge, decisions become easier because you are free to choose things that are closer to your values. While being yourself may sometimes mean making unpopular decisions or revealing parts of you that you'd rather hide, in the end it allows you to lead a more open, happier and fulfilled life.