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LIVE until we Die
by Peggy Vaughan

"We're all going to die; that's not our problem.
Our problem is how to LIVE until we die."

While this might be called a blinding glimpse of the obvious, most of us live our lives without clearly focusing on this reality until we face some kind of crisis--a "wake-up call." That's a good time to rethink our life and question our future. It's a time to get clear about what's important and why. It's a time to face our feelings about dying. And it's a time to live each day to the best of our ability.

On some level, we all know life is tenuous, but we tend to avoid thinking about our own death. Since we naturally feel loss and pain when we experience the death of a close friend or family member, we assume that focusing on our own death would bring the same feelings.

Ironically, people who have actually faced the prospects of their own death and talked openly about it often feel enlivened instead of depressed. This may be because our "fear of dying" is related to our fear of the unknown, and talking about it helps to break through that fear. Another part of our resistance may be more connected to feeling "unfinished" or "unprepared" than to death itself. So while we can't change the reality of death, we can greatly affect our reaction to it.

There are some clear steps we can take to be better prepared to face death:

First, by attending to the important relationships in our lives so that we don't have regrets about what we failed to say or do with those we love.

Next, by attending to our values and priorities so that we don't regret not having pursued our own goals and dreams.

Finally, by preparing for the reality of our own eventual death by making critical decisions ahead of time and discussing them with the important people in our lives.

While this kind of work is ostensibly a preparation for dying, it's actually a good prescription for living—since it often produces a feeling of satisfaction and control over your life.

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