Many of you have probably heard of my wonderful guest today, Bronnie Ware, and you most likely first heard of her because of a viral blog post she wrote back in 2009. When ‘The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying’ went berserk across the internet, Bronnie was thrust in to the limelight and found herself in a place she hadn’t necessarily expected.
Since then her words have impacted countless people as she laid bare those regrets faced by so many of her elderly patients as they faced the end of their lives. In one short, simple (complex) piece of writing she so beautifully dug in to the fears that lie at the heart of life for many of us – the fears that we will get to the end and regret our decisions, our actions or, indeed, our inaction.
If you haven’t read Bronnie’s post I can only encourage you to do so – it’s worth your time and it’s worth allowing her words to impact you. I often think of this list of regrets as I consider things like my eulogy, my Why and the legacy I want to leave behind and in today’s episode I actually thank Bronnie for that.
The full post is over on Bronnie’s website, but here are the five regrets she identified:
- I wish I’d 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.
Incredibly powerful, right? And maybe not a little bit uncomfortable?
In today’s episode it’s actually that discomfort that Bronnie and I dig in to, and why in almost every case, change and growth comes through that discomfort rather than by avoiding it.
Turns out the past few years have been an incredible ride for Bronnie, full of unexpected growth and pain and discomfort and beauty, as she struggled with chronic illness, becoming a solo parent, and finding her own purpose and passion once she’d emerged on the other side. We talk about her gorgeous new book, Bloom, and the challenges that forced her to find courage and acceptance in the face of huge obstacles.
She shares her personal journey and insights with me as we talk about what it means to live a regret-free life and why it’s so often incredibly painful to do so. We talk about why discomfort is the way through and how learning to soften in to it is vital in finding acceptance and gentleness in life, as well as the role of simplicity and meditation in unlocking that acceptance and gentleness.
Bronnie is a deep thinker, a modern philosopher, and there is so much goodness to unpack in this episode that it might just require a second (or third! or fourth!) listen.