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Don’t Look Back

Counselling Services Cornwall

What do you value in your life? You won’t need reminding that you only have one shot at it. Miss it and it’s gone for good. In 2012, an Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware, working in palliative care, wrote a moving book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”. She found five repeating themes when people near the end of life talked about their life regrets.


"Wishing I had lived a life how I wanted to live it, and not the life other people wanted”. This was a common theme for many of the women, who felt that they had sacrificed their life path for what others expected or wanted.

. . . 

"I wish I hadn’t worked so hard”. This was the commonest regret for the men. Yes, it is a fact, virtually no-one gets to the end of their life saying, “I wish I had spent more time in the office”

. . . 

“I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings”. How many times do we fail to voice what is important to us? It is a route for bitterness, resentment and regret.

. . . 

"Wishing I had kept more contact with friends”. Often life gets in the way, and it often only with the clarity of our later years, that we see the cost of neglecting our friendships.

. . . 

“I wish I had let myself be happier”. This was the commonest regret and seemed to express peoples’ belief that they hadn’t prioritised their own happiness and well-being. Many of the people felt that they had stayed stuck in the safe and familiar routines and they wished they had taken more chances and ventured out of their comfort zones. 

It is a good reminder that it’s never too late to try to make room for what is important in our lives. For NHS funded therapy for stress, anxiety or depression, phone (01208) 871905 or register online - [HERE

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