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Minisode 16 | March 30, 2020

Regrets & Expectations

In this episode, we talk about how to recognize when you're living the life others expect of you, instead of a life true to you.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No” – the podcast about saying no and setting boundaries to become the authentic and empowered you that this world needs.

Quick disclosure: While Sarah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, this podcast is in no way replacement for one-on-one therapy with a mental health professionalIf you are struggling with mental health issues, we welcome you on this journey, but also invite you to seek out professional help.

Looking for a therapist? Here’s a good place to start:

living up to societal expectations
Key Takeaways

This minisode is inspired by our recent conversation with Sarah Rintamaki, and the book The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware (amazon link).

Bronnie was a palliative care nurse in Australia and spent time with hundreds of patients on their death beds (palliative care nurses work with patients who are near death and provide bereavement and support to families after death occurs). When individuals are nearing death it’s not uncommon that all their regrets start pouring out. So, as Bronnie was sitting with all these patients who were in hospice, knowing they had limited time, they shared their regrets with her one-by-one. She started to track these regrets based on how frequently she was hearing them.

These were the top 5 regrets Bronnie heard from her dying patients:

    5. I wish I would have let myself be happier.
    4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
    3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
    2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
    1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not a life others expect of me. 

Expectations follow us daily – whether they are societal expectations, conditioned behaviors from our upbringing, or expectations we place on ourselves. These expectations truly impact us and the way we live our lives. One of the reasons we started this podcast, was to help you learn how to set boundaries, start saying no, and truly begin living a life that is in alignment with your values and aspirations. 

We can’t change what we don’t acknowledge, so in this episode, we talk about how to check in with yourself, assess how you are living, and make sure that you’re living a life for YOU and not for others. 

To be clear, living a life true to you, is a spectrum. There are things we have to do in our daily lives – responsibilities and duties – and we aren’t going to live a life completely free of those things. There may be times when we agree to do something we don’t want to do, out of kindness or respect, and those types of moments can be sprinkled in our lives from time to time. BUT, when these moments start happening at a level that becomes more and more frequent and debilitating – when they prevent us from fully living a life true to who we are, that is when we have to break the cycle. 

5 signs you are living a life that others expect from you: 

  1. You constantly worry about letting others down
  2. It is extremely hard for you to speak up about what you want and don’t want
  3. You feel guilty pursuing your dreams
  4. The critical inner voice in your head prevents you from even starting
  5. You please others to avoid short term pain but underestimate the pain of living a life of regret
Credits and Thanks