The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware

Top 5 Regrets of the Dying BookA few years ago, I picked up this booked titled “The top five regrets of the dying” by Bronnie Ware.

Being a person who loves exploring the mysteries of life and death, the title of this book caught my attention.

Bronnie Ware is a nurse who worked in palliative care, she cared for hundreds of people who were about to die and they all shared their life stores and their regrets with her.

After speaking with hundreds of patients who shared their regrets before they died, even though they all lived a fulfilling life, she found there was 5 top regrets they all shared.

Here they are:

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

This was a very common regret that everyone had. When people looked back over their lives, they realised that they put their dreams on hold and eventually never attained them.

Of course, life is not just about attaining all your dreams but they were left with the fact that they could of made better choices and they felt that they should of pursued their dreams instead of doing something just to pay the bills.

At the end, we normally wouldn’t regret the things we did, but the things we didn’t do.

2 – I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

Many of the patients regretted that they worked so hard on their career and realised that you don’t need as much income as you normally would do.

Even though work is important, spending your entire life working and not enjoying the fruits of your labour and having a balance was a regret everyone commonly shared.

I must admit, I struggle with this on a daily basis for I’m always working and building something for the future. At times, I wish I can just relax and not work my guts out too much.

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

Most people hold their feelings back to avoid being criticised and hurting other people’s feelings. As a result of this, many issues were never discussed and lead to broken relationships.

By realising that by expressing your true feelings, even though it may get a negative reaction, you build a deeper relationship based on honesty and respect. People realised that they could become a greater person through true expression rather than holding it all in.

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

Most of the patients realised that when it was nearly time of their death, they remembered old friendships and realised that they should of kept in touch with them.

It’s very easy to get caught up with life and let old friendships slip over the years. We get so busy trying to make a living and forget to try and make a life.

Friendships are one of those things in life that makes life fulfilling and should be preserved throughout our lives.

5 – I wish I had let myself be happier. 

Finally, a common regret patients had was that they wished they let themselves be happier. They realised that happiness is a choice and you either choose to be happy or you choose to be sad.

Shit always happens to us and it’s up to us to learn how to turn negatives into positives and by choosing a path towards our own happiness.

Finally I would like to leave you a quote from Bronnie Ware

Bronnie Ware

“There is nothing wrong with loving your work and wanting to apply yourself to it. But there is so much more to life. Balance is what is important and maintaining balance.” – Bronnie Ware

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Author: Khoa Bui

Khoa Bui is an author, trainer and chief editor of YouBeRelentless. He enjoys reading books on self development, success, productivity, money, relationships and leadership. When he’s not writing, he likes to enjoy a glass of red wine with a fine cuban cigar while watching the entire season of Entourage. You can check out Khoa’s work at

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