Top 5 Wishes of the Dying

Mary Welch Official
7 min readFeb 6, 2024
The following is a transcript of my podcast: Love Notes From a Soul Coach. You can listen here!

Dr. Joe Whittington, who is known online as “Dr Joe” online, recently shared a post that deeply moved me and felt important to amplify. He shared the top five wishes most commonly expressed from people on their death beds.

Some of them may surprise you; let’s dig in a little deeper.

Wish number one:
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not what others expected.

The word that really struck me here was “courage.” I’ve hear this sentiment expressed all over the place but I hear it framed up more like a directive: don’t care so much about what other people think — just be yourself.

It’s just not realistic to tell someone not to care, or to declare for yourself: I don’t care what anyone else thinks of me. Let’s be clear: we all care! We can’t help it. We are affected by each other. We all naturally judge ourselves and others. It’s how we make sense of the world around us and how we come to know ourselves.

The important piece is how aware of our own tendency to judge. It’s the difference between a beautiful life vs a tortured one.

So, we do care about how others’ perceive us, what they think about us, but when someone else’s opinion or approval matters so much that we don’t feel free to disappoint them or choose on the behalf of our own souls how we want to live and express ourselves, then it can feel like we’ve lost ourselves.

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not what others expected.

It really does take courage to live our truth. It’s not something that just happens naturally for us, in our conditioned lives. We get the opposite messaging, from day one: live in accordance with expectations. If your truth goes against those expectations, push it down, negotiate with it, change it.

It takes great courage to live our truth. Living our truth is also what makes for a supremely meaningful life.

Wish number two:
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

I appreciated this one because it feels more honest than the typical rhetoric we often here — the idea that you’ll never regret taking a vacation on your deathbed.



Mary Welch Official

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