“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
According to an article in The Guardian, this is the number one regret that people who were dying reported to Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care treating patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.
With the clarity that comes with approaching death, Ware’s patients realized that not living their dreams was due to choices they had made—or not made.
They recognized they were in charge of their happiness.
If I asked you if you were in charge of your happiness, would you find that exhilarating, or feel compelled to tell me all the reasons you’re not?
Reasons such as:
- “My Mom, spouse, partner, friends, etc., wouldn’t approve, or thinks I should do something different.”
- “I’m afraid I’ll disappoint or hurt my Dad, spouse, partner, friends, etc.”
- “I’m trapped in my current job or situation.”
- “I don’t have the time, money, experience, etc.”
- “I have too much to do.”
- “My life is good enough as it is.”
- “I might fail.”
- “People will think I’m crazy.”
- “I’m too old.”
- “I’m too young.”
- “I don’t know if that would really make me happy.”
- “I might make the wrong choice.”
Your reason may be totally and completely valid for you. Just recognize that either consciously or by default, you are making a choice.
Are you making the choice that feels best to you? Are you making the choice that aligns with your goals, core values, and beliefs? Are you making the choice that is helping you be authentically you? Are you making the choice that when it’s time to look back on your life, you’ll feel good about making?
If you are making your decision based on how others might feel, think, or be impacted, you may be taking away their choices, too. For instance, if you’re afraid to leave your job, you may be keeping your employer from hiring someone who absolutely loves the job and has a passion for it.
This doesn’t mean that making a decision that impacts others is easy—or is the right decision—but by truly picking the path that is best for you, you also create new opportunities and options for the people around you. Making the choices that are best for you will enable others to make the best choices for them.
What is one small choice you can make today to live life true to yourself? What difference does that make in your life?
Together we can do it!