Lots of us suppress feelings to keep peace with others. As a result, we can end up settling for a mediocre existence and never become who we're capable of becoming. Of course, there's a balance; and a certain amount of finesse is needed. Otherwise, we can come off like a bull in a china shop.
As a result of so many bottled up feelings, though, the author points out that many of her patients developed or fueled illnesses related to the bitterness and resentment they'd carried around for so long.
We can't control the reactions of others. People may initially react strongly when we change the way we are by speaking honestly. In the end, though, it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I'd stayed in touch with my friends.
Often patients wouldn't realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks, and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they'd let golden friendships slip by during the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort they deserved.
It's common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when faced with approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. Although people want to get their affairs in order, it's not money or status that holds true importance for them. They want to get things in order for the benefit of those they love. Sadly, though, they're often too ill and weary to manage this task.
It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That's all that remains in the final weeks -- love and relationships.
5. I wish I'd let myself be happier.
Many didn't realize 'til the end that happiness is a choice. They'd allowed themselves to stay stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called comfort of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others -- and to themselves -- that they were content. When deep within, they longed to have silliness in their lives again.
When you're on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind.
Wow, that last line speaks volumes! In fact, each of these five principles could be entire columns in themselves. Such simple and universal truths are definitely worth pondering ... before it's too late.
Linda Arnold, MBA, is a certified wellness instructor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications company specializing in advertising, public relations, government relations and interactive marketing. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or emailed to livelifefu...@arnoldagency.com.