How do we create a life involving relationships with those we love and cherish, friends and intimate partners who recognize and appreciate who we are?  How do we find stimulating work that expresses our unique talents and abilities, giving our lives purpose and meaning?  How do we create a sense of being at home in our lives, allowing us to feel more fully alive?  There is nothing straightforward or easy about accomplishing any of this.

Our path through life remains littered with obstacles we must negotiate.  Some emanate from outward circumstances, for example, growing up in an abusive home or in poverty, dealing with chronic medical issues or a family history of depression and alcoholism.   Other formidable and enduring obstacles arise from within, living with judgmental internal critics, experiencing profound shame about who we are or living in fear of becoming successful.  It is emotionally and physically demanding to wrestle with issues like these.

There is nothing ordinary about an ordinary life.  To live our lives as best we can, moving through obstacles to create a rich and meaningful life, represents a powerful and important task.  It is the work of a lifetime.  It is a hero’s journey.

However, successfully negotiating the roadblocks we face requires clarity about what they are.  My work as a psychologist involves helping people identify the obstacles they encounter or keep putting in their own way, and to develop ways to move through them, so they can lead more satisfying and productive lives.

What are the obstacles you encounter?  What arises from the circumstances of your life? And what emanates from within?  And how successful are you moving through them?  In what ways do you keep yourself from experiencing more of the life you say you want?

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Neal Aponte

Neal Aponte is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience providing psychotherapy for adults, adolescents and children. Read more here.