The blog I am writing today is based on the findings of Dr Bronnie Ware whom I actually I don’t know but I must acknowledge him alongwith a dear friend who forwarded an email on the findings of the above mentioned doctor. I am not generally in the habit of reading forwarded emails because they generally eat too much into the limited time I have, Because apart from writing I also happen to be a full time engineer and a have business to care for.
However this forwarded email I received caught my attention because of its subject and it read as follows "Five most common regrets of people before dying”. My mind started racing and I was forced to wonder what could be on the mind of a person who is on his death bed? What is it that a dying man could regret!!! I have always wondered. Without giving much thought and weight-age to the status of the email which was “forwarded” I started reading it; voraciously taking in the contents and I was amazed at the findings of Dr Bronnie Ware, who will now be addressed with the use of an adjective and I will appropriately refer to him as “eminent Dr Bronnie Ware” without hesitation.
I noticed that this doctor had thrown light on an area where many have not researched before. This study can now be used as a yard stick to guide people so that they lead a happy life. They do not end up in a position where one has to regret in the end. More importantly his findings were based on the data collected pain-stackingly by him over the years. The result of his study is more relevant in the context and more aptly so in today’s world. People have a tendency to look for quick fix solutions to the problems they face! They generally end up seeking solace in the wings of some fly by night type of spiritual gurus who give gyan on how life has to be lived. It is note worthy that there is no basis and first hand experience in dealing with such problems. The priorities of these gurus are misplaced and hence they actually have no solution to the problems faced by the vulnerable people.
Though the eminent doctor has listed all the points in a very scientific manner I am at this stage tempted to really analyse what he has observed. Let it not be construed that I am superimposing my views on the findings of this great man. But I want to analyse the points put forth by the doctor. The most common regrets that the doctor documented are as follows:
- “I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”: This was the most common regrets observed by the doctor. Like normal human beings most of his patients had a lot of unfulfilled dreams. The regrets were because they had not even made a feeble attempt to fulfil any of their dreams; while giving away the prime of their life to the daily grind. They never listened to the voice of their calling!! They always lived a life that others wanted them to live!! Some times in the garb of responsibility and some times to please their near and dear ones. All the while doing what was required by the others and in the process suppressing his own personal space and emotions. By the time they realised their health had deteriorated and age had caught up with them!!
- “I wish I didn't work so hard”: This is the regret which men mostly felt and sometimes even women!! This is something very surprising!! It is definitely in contradiction to what most of us think. When I first read it I could not comprehend what must be going on in the mind of the person who was on the brink of leaving his mortal body. But if you look deeply at the mindset of the person who is terminally ill; it summarises it all. At this stage the person is looking at the perspective view of his life. He is looking at what he has gained by so working hard! On the other hand he is also seeing the price he has paid to achieve the materialistic things by compromising on the quality of life he has lived. Reducing the overall requirement by reducing the standard of living one can get more space for himself and time for his family!! This is what matters at the fag end of his life!
- "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings: This is easily one of the most commonly documented types of regret but it is also understandable. Most of the people suppress their feelings and seldom voice their opinion to avoid a situation which can lead to conflicts. But the most important point to be noted here is that when a person does not speak out, It results in pent up emotions which in turn results into bitterness or resentment. This kind of mindset on the long run can lead to many diseases. However on the other hand; some of the people who cannot express their feelings to a person they love unconditionally always regret it because they always end up thinking their life would have been different only if they had expressed their feelings. The advantage of expressing one’s feeling is that it either releases the person out of his/her life or on the other hand it could have a happy ending where relations become so strong that they last a life time .OnLoad="FreeViral(377698)"
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends: This type of regret is experienced by a person who is terminally ill and when he is weeks away from his death. We all live a life which is self centered and for meeting our own requirements. Whatever little charity we do by giving back to society we expect recognition and acknowledgement. If we think and try to analyse most of the actions we take are a result of thinking what the others think about us!! But the mindset of a dying person is totally different, he is not overly worried and does not bother what others think about him!!! On the other hand on his death bed he only wants to spend time with his friends who were connected to him in thick and thin without considering the repercussions of their actions. The general tendency of any individual when he is at the peak of his career is such that he forgets his friends and pursues an alternative course which gives him only materialistic pleasures but at the end of his life he regrets the kind of life he has lived and wants to trace his friends before death finally puts an end to his regrets!!!!
- I wish that I had let myself be happier: This type of regret may surprise the readers but it is very important to understand that happiness is a choice, i.e one can choose to be happy only if he wants to be happy!! I can illustrate it in a better way by quoting two small examples.
- This is a point I learned to appreciate and it has remained with me ever since I participated in the Part 1 course of "Art Of Living" headed by the very popular Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji. It is always important to understand the significance of the present moment; if we try to look in the past nothing can be changed and at the same time knowing the future is too far fetched so the only time we have in our hand is the beautiful present moment. We always keep postponing happiness by saying let me achieve a certain target then I will be happy; having achieved that, we have a set of new targets already in place to be achieved; ultimately we forget to be happy, forget to enjoy that moment. In short what we do is we keep postponing happiness.
- The second point I want to make here is very significant in the context i.e we should hear happiness knocking on our doors while we go about our daily grind. We should be able to choose happiness over other mundane things in our daily course of life. I can hit the nail in the head by telling about a small incident to which I was also a witness. I happened to attend the house warming ceremony of one of our relatives. It was a very happy occasion and the hosts could have easily chosen to be happy because the very occasion demanded it to be so!!! But my host or rather the lady of the house used that occasion to get even with her relatives who had behaved badly with her when she did not have a house of her own. She was bitter and emotional as she chose to be unhappy while the occasion demanded that she should be happy. She did not hear happiness knocking!!! This incident clearly drives home the point that happiness is a choice. One can be happy only if he/she chooses to be.
On a concluding note I will quote a few lines which are in the very own words of the eminent Dr Bronnie Ware and are very significant in the context “People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions as expected denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them”.
The above lines throw light on an very important aspect i.e acceptance of a given situation is ultimately the key to finding peace in one's life.
"I have posted the above observation of the eminent doctor on my blog because I fully subscribe to his observation. Please note that the analysis and elaboration of all the five points have been done by me. Such inputs by doctors who are in the field gives a lot of justification to whatever is spiritual. Because every thing boils down to only one thing in life i.e "how you feel about your self".
I am not qualified enough to advice doctors but would definitely like to request them to give more weight-age to the mental and emotional condition of the patients while clinically treating them. I expressed my views on what eminent Dr Bronnie Ware has written only because I did not want to end up regretting before I call it a day!!!!