Happiness and regret go hand in hand, determining the quality of our lives.
Experiencing high peaks in our life makes it a lot easier to relish happiness. What about those days we’re lost, tested and hanging on to the end of your rope? In these moments, where do you search for happiness? Searching for external factors is very common amongst most people. It may give you the initial hit, but the novelty seems to wear off as the days and months progress. We become obsessed with finding the fulfilment that provides us with inner joy and peace of mind. Happiness has changed for me in many ways since my mum’s cancer diagnosis. I fell into the spell of experiencing pleasure and gratitude when she was well – falling to the circumstances of cancers hardships when things became rough.The most challenging moment yet was doctors unable to help her anymore. That news left me deflated and falling victim to life and its unfair circumstances. How can this strike my family, and how will I manage the last part of my life without this woman? These are still questions I’ve not had to answer yet – and I am fearful of finding the answers. Death is our final destination and one that we are all heading towards when our ticker has run its course. The problem is, we never believe that death could be waiting in the wings for those we love – let alone ourselves.In the end, what is the most significant part of our life that matters? Bonny Ware (The Top Five Regrets of The Dying) highlights the top five regrets of patients in palliative care. These regrets can be undoubtedly similar to the ones we all feel right now.
- Having the courage to live our own life
- Not to work so much
- Showing their feelings more
- Staying in touch with friends
- Being happy
These hit home for me, and I’m positive we’ve all felt at least one of these during our lifetime.So then, what cultivates happiness for us individuals on the same plain but walking different pathways?
Cultivating the seeds of happiness on your soil.
Spending time filled with the love of others. What could be more fulfilling than spending precious moments with those you care about the most. Putting aside differences between family members and enjoying each others company without judgement will bring on an element of love, acceptance and harmony. Time spent with one another doesn’t have to become a grand event. I do love to grab a coffee with someone I love, sit down and chat about anything. Simple moments are just as memorable as anything significant. Meaning and purpose. What is your purpose, and what meaning do you assign to your life? Having a purpose helps us define the direction we’re taking. Is it going towards a set pathway, or are you sailing against the winds without knowing where you’re going? Sometimes this breeds confusion and lack of self-confidence in all age groups. Having a meaning or purpose in your life directs you to something that will not only benefit your soul – but that of others who may need a helping hand. I believe there is nothing more meaningful than being of service to someone – by lending a helping hand when they need it most. Give, and you will receive. All it takes is a smile, a kind gesture, or showing you are concerned about another human’s feelings. We love connecting with others, making friends and being in a group or setting with others. During the pandemic, my colleagues would set up regular catch-ups just to talk about ourselves, have a laugh and perhaps get to know each other on a deeper level. That small gathering alone brought on laughter and fun – something that’s missing in lockdown. Strengths and not weaknesses. Cultivate your strengths, and help them develop a lot more than you ever thought possible. Wasted time is any moments spent thinking about what you lack. That weed of self-doubt can grow and infiltrate any passionate purpose and dream. The more you think about what you want, the more it will appear in your life. So focus on those strengths and put aside the rest. Time spent doing what you love. Is there anything better than doing something you love just because you enjoy it so much? Some people are lucky enough to be doing this full-time job – others may be working on a side hustle with the same passion and drive. No matter what your particular thing is, spend as much time nurturing and flourishing it. Maybe you suck at it now, but it can become the very thing you make a living from with practice. Bonny Ware was right; the biggest regret for anyone, not just those in palliative care, is not living your life — on your own terms. So many of us become plagued with traditions based on our upbringing and the expectations of friends, family and work colleagues. When will we cultivate our happiness by taking a moment to understand just what we want — and having the audacity to go ahead and try it out? I’ve learned from my mum’s diagnosis that life is precious; it’s short and sweet. Regret is a huge deterrent towards achieving happiness, and Bonny’s findings highlight this case. Unfortunately, regret during the last stages of our life is impossible to reverse – but for those of us lucky enough to still be here – right now is as good as it gets to take those first steps towards cultivating happiness in your life.How does now sound to you?