Will You Regret Not Being True to Yourself?

“We are not here to fit in, be well balanced, or provide exempla for others. We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little clunky, chunky selves, to the great mosaic of being. As the gods intended, we are here to become more and more ourselves.”
~ James Hollis,
contemporary Jungian analyst and author,
in What Matters Most

Palliative care nurse, Bonnie Ware, has written a book entitled, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” She reports that the number one regret of dying persons is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

Will you have that regret on your deathbed as you expire to the unlived possibilities of the life that you leave behind? One way to fortell your answer is to ask yourself a simple question. Are you are living a life which is true to yourself right here, right now?

A life lived true to oneself becomes larger and deeper, not smaller and more shallow. Steered by the rudder of the heart through the shallows of others’ expectations, such a life faithfully tacks towards its heart’s desires. To others, your course may seem odd or irregular, but such is the expression of your uniqueness.

I am reminded of Henry David Thoreau’s counsel at the conclusion of his masterwork Walden, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

Lest you end your life with regret, now and then it’s helpful to look yourself in the mirror and to ask yourself some pointed questions which may or may not warrant a mid-course correction. Questions such as these which follow can help you determine whether your own navigation is true.

Whose life are you living? Do you live to please others at the expense of living a life which reflects your very own values, and which pleases you? Is your life directed by the expectations of others or by chance?

Your days are the coinage of your life. They are limited in amount. Does the job to which you awaken each workday make your life larger or smaller?

Does your relationship with your spouse or partner enliven each other? Or does it deaden the soul, yet you remain because you fear change more than the diminishment of your soul?

Are your heart’s desires guiding you like a beacon? Or are they imprisoned by the fear of the ridicule of others? Or the fear of failure?

Regarding The Mystery, Being, God – however you might deem it: what do you believe? Why? Are your beliefs simply inherited without question from your culture, or are they based upon the personal authority of your own direct experience?

These are not easy questions, but they must be asked now and then. Perhaps instead you have been graced with your own questions, posed to you in the dead of sleepless nights by your depths which would not have you slumber to your life’s potential.

Seemingly Being has found it necessary to call you into existence as an expression of itself which is different, unique, individual, one-of-a-kind. You are true to your calling when you live with the courage to be yourSelf.

If you were to die today, would you regret not being more true to your heart? If so, what might you change?

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