At one time or another, everyone experiences a bump or a pothole in the road of life. I believe it would be safe to say that in the course of a life time, most of us experience many such challenges. No one gets through life without facing obstacles of some sort.
The majority of time, we are able to navigate the small bumps and potholes by ourselves or with a little help from our family members or friends. However, sometimes, we are faced with a life changing circumstance and we realize that getting advice from family and friends, just isn’t enough. Those closest to us, are often too close to the issue to be objective. They mean well, they want the best for us, but they have blind spots and preconceived notions about the situation which make it impossible for them to be truly objective.
This is when the services of good psychotherapist, coach or spiritual advisor can really help us to gain clarity and bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to be. When we have the right support person, we can move through a life situation more quickly and effectively than we could on our own.
So, why do so many people opt to go it alone or equally as ineffective, spend their time asking one family member or friend after another for their opinion? The trouble with going it alone, is that we can’t get out of our own heads. We keep playing the problem over and over again and we replay the same unsatisfactory solutions along with the problem. If we seek free advice from close friends and family members, we are likely to get a number of opinions that equals the number of people we ask. We end up no better off and no more clear as to which direction we should go or what would be best for us.
One of the reasons given for not seeking professional help is “I don’t want to talk about my personal problems with a stranger.” In truth, that’s exactly why a therapist, coach or advisor is an effective resource. Because he or she is unemotionally attached to the situation, that professional can be objective and offer a perspective that may not have occurred to the client before. Consider also that when we talk to someone in our family or circle of friends, there is no guarantee that our discussion will be held in confidence. A counselor or coach on the other hand is professionally bound to keep conversations with their patients/clients confidential. Once a good rapport is established with a coach or counselor, in a safe, supportive environment, it becomes much easier to speak freely about personal circumstances.
The second objection to seeking outside help is that it will be too expensive. Yes, hiring a coach, therapist or counselor will cost money. When you talk to one of these professionals, you are receiving a service that they have been trained to provide. There are also free support groups available and many counties provide psychotherapy on a sliding scale based on the patient’s income level. Some churches also offer free counseling. The drawback to free services is that your choice of counselor is limited. When you pay for these services, you can interview various service providers to find the one you will feel most comfortable working with.
When we look at couple therapy or coaching, if you consider the emotional and financial cost of a divorce, the fees you pay for counseling are much lower. If a marriage that is on the line and ends in divorce even with counseling, the process alone, could help make negotiating a fair divorce settlement and co-parenting the children more peaceful. If the marriage is saved, then the value in coaching or therapy is even more obvious.
Working with a coach or counselor can also help with your business or career. If you are feeling unappreciated or overwhelmed at work, you could be tempted to make a very irresponsible decision based on raw emotion and frazzled nerves. A counselor, therapist or coach can help you regain your balance and carefully consider all your options so you make the choice that is best for you and what you want. Ultimately, you may still decide to leave that job, but you will be more likely to do so with a calm and clear mind. In addition, you will have the support of that coach or counselor as you transition to another job or to owning your own business. If you already own a business and it is not quite working out the way you had hoped, a good coach can help you turn things around. Or after working with a coach, you may decide to let that business go and turn your attention to something that is better for you. Having a support person in this area can save you money and unnecessary stress.
In your personal life, doing too much for others and not doing enough to recharge your own battery takes a huge toll on your health. This is a prevalent issue for women. Time after time, I hear women complain that they don’t get to do what they want to do or there is never any time left over for themselves after they take care of everyone else in the family. These women are tired, not eating well and running on empty most of the time. Their physical appearance is starting to show signs of a stress-filled lifestyle. To counteract this, American women spend billions of dollars each year on beauty products, cosmetic services and weight loss programs that are all designed to make us look better on the outside. Although these beauty products and services help us to feel better about how we look on the outside, the results are short-lived because we are neglecting some important issues on the inside. Living in a state of overwhelm and dissatisfaction, takes a toll on our physical health and our appearance.
Have you ever noticed how much younger and happier you look after a relaxing vacation away from work and your daily routine? How would it feel to be able to recall that relaxed feeling whenever you needed it? Therapy or coaching can do this for us, by giving us effective tools to use to help us become calm and centered on the inside, regardless of what is going on around us. This doesn’t mean that we will never feel frazzled or overwhelmed again, but we will know how to quickly regain our natural state of balance. From that state of mind, we can come up with effective and more creative solutions to whatever problem we are facing.
Money invested in a few sessions with a good therapist or coach could result in some major changes for the better in your life. Imagine what your life would be like with less overwhelm and drama. For less than the cost of a new outfit, a pair of shoes or a dinner out, you could take the first step toward a better relationship with your spouse, a happier attitude at work or a healthier lifestyle.
The third objection I would like to mention is that seeing a therapist or coach will turn into a long term commitment. Psychotherapy is generally, a longer commitment than coaching. This is because in therapy, you will delve deeply into your past and with the help of your therapist, you will begin to heal old wounds. This process takes time, but it can be very enlightening and rewarding.
When you hire a coach, the commitment is typically for a much shorter period of time. The focus is on helping you to get from where you are to where you want to be. There is no diagnosis and very little discussion about your past. In coaching, the underlying idea is that you are not broken and do not need to be fixed. You are merely stuck and only need a little support to get unstuck and moving on your path again.
If you are on the fence about hiring a professional to discuss a life or career situation, I hope this article has been helpful. Some issues are suited for coaching or a spiritual advisor and other issues require the expertise of a therapist. If you are not sure which service to use, interview someone from each profession and choose the one that seems best for you.
Let’s STOP SETTLING for getting free advice from family members and friends or trying to do everything ourselves. Nothing is more important than your mental and emotional health because our thoughts determine how we will show up in life. If you are feeling a little stuck or if you are dealing with something bigger, I encourage you to find a professional counselor or coach who will lift you up and celebrate who you are without judgement or attachment to the outcome. It’s time to start taking really good care of yourself.
Real change, authentic happiness and genuine beauty, comes from inside, not from outside ourselves.