When I think about my life and how I want to be remembered long after I’m gone … it’s Family that comes to mind, in particular my children. I think about how I would want them to remember me, how they saw me as a person, and what I stood for.
Of course we can’t be certain of much when we think ahead of time … who knows what is around the corner for us, or what our dying thoughts will be. But there is one thing that I can be sure of and can say with complete certainly, my last moments on this earth will not be consumed by thoughts of how I looked and what size jeans I wore.
If you have followed me for a while you would know how passionate I am about promoting Body Positivity, encouraging women to stop putting their life on hold while they chase the ‘perfect’ weight, size or look! Life is way too short.
Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, spoke with her patients who were nearing the end of their lives, and wrote a book called ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying’. It may or may not surprise you that the things that people spoke of, had nothing to do with how they had looked throughout their lives. In fact, the regrets, are probably exactly what you would expect them to be.
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.
None of these regrets surprise me, I think that if most of us are honest about it … if tomorrow was our last day on earth (touch wood!), most, if not all of them, would be applicable right now, to some extent. But the one that really hits me between the eyes, is number 5 – I wish I had let myself be happier. It sounds so trivial but it is so powerful … ‘let myself be happy’. I think we often forget that we have control over how we feel, and that we can choose to be happier anytime we like.
I spend a lot of time speaking with women about their struggle with body image, and watching the unhappiness that hangs over them like a dark cloud. Stopping them from living their best life and living each moment, in the moment. Our happiness is there for the taking, it means accepting and loving ourselves in every shape and form we take.
As I said, I don’t know what, or if, I will have any regrets when my time comes. But I do know for sure, I do not want to look back on a life that was too busy hating on my body, to truly live my dreams. Body Positivity is an important message. Body image affects women in a range of ways, and sometimes to a damaging and debilitating state.
I have developed my own version of The Five Regrets of the Dying - except instead they are FIVE NON REGRETS OF THE DYING:
I wish I had been thinner.
I wish I had dieted more.
I wish I had said no to cake.
I wish I had exercised more.
I wish I had not accepted, and loved my body as it was.
I can't imagine anyone regretting any of the above ... so remember to love yourself unconditionally, be grateful for the body you have and treat it with respect. When the negative thoughts start to creep in, remember what is really important and take the time to reflect on what will matter in the end.