“All of our regrets come from a lack of courage.”
—Bronnie Ware

Have you heard of Bronnie Ware? After spending several years as a palliative caregiver to terminally ill patients and learning first-hand about the pain and anguish of those who faced their final days with regrets, she wrote The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

According to Bronnie* she frequently heard five essential regrets:

  • I wish I 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.

As a result of her experience she became deeply committed to help others live regret-free lives.

So, how does one go about living an enlightened, regret-free life? Well, it takes a lot of courage and acceptance. Because, ultimately, death is a part of living. According to Ware, regret-free living is empowered by three choices. These are:

Choose Compassion.

Start with self-compassion. If we learn to be gentle on ourselves we win and, ultimately, everyone benefits. And, learning to be vulnerable is a companion of compassion.

Choose Self-love.

Start giving yourself permission to do things you love to do. Learn to recognize and honor your own needs. Additionally, learn how to set boundaries on a daily basis.

Choose to Surrender.

Find the courage to believe in the power of letting go. Learn to live with courage and trust in the present moment.

How will you take action and practice being courageous this week? Start with working on accepting one or two of the beliefs above to look for opportunities to find a path that empowers your best, regret-free life.

*Source: Bronnie Ware’s Regret-free Living TED Talk