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Bob Livingstone, LCSWBob Livingstone, LCSW
Healing Emotional Pain and Loss

Follow Your Dreams

Bob Livingstone, LCSW Updated: Mar 28th 2012

You have reached an important milestone in your life and you are taking stock of how you feel about your accomplishments. You recently had a birthday and may have celebrated turning age thirty, forty, fifty, or sixty. You are pleased about many of your achievements, but feel that important goals have not been reached.

rainbow with starsIf you recently turned thirty, you feel dropping out of college several years ago prevented you from having the career you always wanted. The current job you hold is not interesting or fulfilling. Matter of fact, you notice that it has made you a duller person without much to discuss with others.

If you just turned forty, you have come to the realization, that five years ago, you unwisely broke up with a man who now you understand was the love of your life. You have dated other men since the breakup, but you have not found the connection that you had with him. You have not talked to him in four years, but wonder if he would be open to revisiting that relationship.

You recently celebrated your fiftieth birthday and you always wanted to run a marathon, but were afraid to even entertain that thought. You feel that you may be too old and out of shape to run 26.2 miles, but you also fear that you will regret not following through with this dream.

You feel proud that you are now sixty years old. You have a solid relationship with a supportive partner and you really like your job. However, you feel a sense of incompletion. You have always wanted to write a book, but quickly dismiss that idea out of the fear that you wouldn't be successful at it.

Fear plays a major role in not following our dreams. We are afraid that we are not good enough to achieve the dream. Fear pushes the dream out of our conscious awareness. We don't pursue the dream because we think it is too late to make such a dramatic life change. Fear keeps us from realistically planning how to make the dream come true.

The motivation to overcome these fear related obstacles is to truly believe that the dream is worth going after. Although there is no guarantee that the dream will make you a much happier person, there is the chance that will occur. You also sense that you will deeply regret not pursuing your dream later down the road.

The thirty year old man could spend time looking realistically about how he could return to college. His other choice is to remain working at his dead end job. He then decides to write down a plan of how he could realistically go to college at this time of his life. He then sees how he could obtain his bachelor of arts. He is excited to begin this adventure and he starts texting all his friends of this grand decision.

The forty year old woman can seek a deep relationship by dating other men. She could also attempt to reunite with the former boyfriend she is still in love with. She thought about what may happen if she called him. He may be in another relationship. He may immediately reject her. They could get back together, but it might not work out. After assessing the positive and negative aspects of contacting him, she decides to call him.

The fifty year old woman decides to train for a marathon. She discovers a distinct sense of purpose; something she never had in her entire life. She meets new people and develops friendships. She feels tired every night after her training, but she has a smile of her face.

The sixty year old man after much consternation decides to write a book. He is afraid that no one will want to read his work and fears that literary critics will hate it, but there is also the chance that he will really enjoy writing and that he could profoundly touch other people's lives.

If you discover that you are not following your dreams, ask yourself an emotional pain question such as "Why am I having difficulty following my dreams?" "What are the risks involved if I follow my dreams" "How will my life change if I follow my dreams?"

After asking the question, allow the answer to come to you and then journal it. If you continue self-questioning, you will be ready to follow your dreams.


Bob Livingstone, LCSWBob Livingstone, LCSW, has been a psychotherapist in private practice for twenty-two years. He works with adults, teenagers and children who have experienced traumas such as family violence, neglect and divorce. He works with men around anger issues and with adults in recovery from child abuse. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books: Redemption of the Shattered: A Teenager's Healing Journey Through Sandtray Therapy and Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain Through Exercise and his newly released book Unchain the Pain: How to be Your Own Therapist. For more information visit

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