“You know what’s inexpensive?” a good friend of mine asked when I was going through a rough patch with my husband a few years ago.
“What?” I answered.
“Couples therapy,” she said.
“You know what’s very pricey—not to mention, painful?” she quickly followed up. I looked at her. She was silent for a second.
Then she opened her mouth, and the word hit me like a ton of bricks: “Divorce.”
A few years ago, when my husband I were struggling in our marriage, a couples therapist helped save us. To this day, around five years later, I remain grateful for him for the clarity and tools he gave us.
People come to me as a life coach with a variety of issues, ranging from relationships to regrets to rage. In the vast majority of cases, I wish they came to me sooner—before the crack became a crater. Because as the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
Here is why it’s important to invest in the help you need, early:
1. Problems unaddressed, expand.
If your car was making strange sounds, and some smoke was seeping out of the hood, would you look the other way and just keep on cruisin’? Heck no! A strange sound from your engine is a bit like a yellow traffic light. It’s a warning. Pay attention to it before it becomes a glaring red light and you have to STOP.
A client of mine confided in me that her daughter was doing drugs with her friends. She said, looking back, the yellow signs were all there. A poor report card. Then another. She was getting home later and later every evening and suffered from mood swings. She brushed it off as adolescence—until her daughter got in trouble with the law. What signs might you be missing?
2. Solutions abound early on.
However large or small the concern, the earlier something is treated, the better the chances of a positive outcome. From a snag in your new sweater to a health issue you’re brilliant at ignoring (guilty!), ask yourself: Will it be easier to take care of this now or later?
The answer will almost always be the former. As time goes on, solutions dissipate. So download that meditation app and use it on the daily. Book that vacation for some much needed R&R. Hire that nutritionist or personal trainer. Invest in that career coach. What’s the alternative?
Be honest with yourself now. You can pay now or pay (more) later.
3. Relief is golden.
You know that feeling when you’ve been delaying something, feeling bad about it, sweeping it under the rug and it just… festers? Seeking help eliminates that in an instant. It’s freeing. It’s liberating. It’s good for you.
One of the most positive human emotions is relief. Don’t deprive yourself of it. This experience itself is worth any sum required to receive it. Plus, you’ll spare yourself a heap of heartache and stress in the future. And that’s priceless.
4. You’re worth it.
Why are we so resistant to receive the help we need, exactly? We’re worth it. Our happiness, relationships, family, health, security, and self-confidence all matter, don’t they? And we’re human. We all need a little help sometimes—with our bodies, our relationships, our direction, our growth. There’s strength, not shame, in seeking it.
A few weeks ago, when my husband and I were fighting more than usual, I booked a couple of sessions with the therapist that helped us all those years ago. And we worked out our issues in just those couple of appointments—because we got in there early. We learned to tweak our communication styles (he needs to be more vocal; I need to give him more space and support) and to appreciate one another more fully.
And, just like that, we were back. It was the best money and time we’ve invested in years.
Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!