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Why Do Women Hesitate to Invest in Themselves and Their Well-Being?

“I need to talk to my husband...”

The seven words I hear all too often while speaking with strong, independent, intelligent, and successful women who are looking for help with overcoming their anxiety, depression, imposter syndrome, trauma, stress, confidence, and relationship issues.

I have been on too many of these phone calls to not notice a pattern.

Let me explain…

I typically allot a dozen time slots per month where prospective clients can book a 30-Minute Complimentary Discovery Call to answer questions and discuss how coaching may be the best option for them to overcome emotional issues, become a better leader, or to improve their confidence in relations for example. In the spirit of transparency, coaching with me is an investment in yourself and I fully understand that for many people, it is simply an investment they cannot make right now and for those people I often can direct them to other resources.

Typically the women I speak to are 35-60 years old. They often have very successful careers, own business, and sometimes have been the beneficiary of impressive inheritances, are raising or have already raised children, run a household, and have goals and aspirations, but are feeling stuck and bogged down by anxiety, depression, low confidence, trauma, or relationship issues.

By the time they schedule a call with me, they often feel like they’ve hit a wall or the quality of their emotional life is really suffering and getting worse… maybe they have paralyzing anxiety, have felt depressed for months if not years, or know their confidence issues are holding them back in life. By the time we’re ready to wrap up the call, many of them are seemingly ready to jump right in and often have even booked their first session when the dreaded, “I have to ask/talk to my husband” statement happens.

They will quickly explain that their husbands fully support them, will definitely be onboard with coaching, and other variations… What is clear to me is, many of these women do not feel empowered to make a financial decision about their own emotional well-being without consulting or asking their husbands.

Here's where it gets really interesting… Many of these same women will “invest” in expensive handbags, clothes, and other products and services that focus on how they look or how they are perceived by others… Many of them drive very nice cars, sport luxury brand clothes, accessories (think Louis Vuitton or similar) and have had some kind of cosmetic surgery. I have nothing against any of those things, however, why is it that breast implants are “a go”, but investing in your emotional well-being requires the approval of someone else?

I once had a woman stop into my office to inquire about coaching wearing more than $10,000 of designer clothes and accessories but couldn’t make the decision to pay for coaching to help herself get out of bed in the morning… She shared how she often sobbed in the shower, and struggled to find reasons to go on living… It is truly upsetting to think about.

I’ve actually had women share details like “‘My husband just bought new golf clubs’, ‘My husband came home with a new car’ or ‘booked a trip to Vegas with his brothers without talking to me about it first', but I don’t feel comfortable investing in coaching without talking to my husband first.”

These women know that they are struggling and need help, but will convince themselves that there is some magical future time when they will get the help they need or will figure it out on their own like they have so often done before.

It breaks my heart to talk to a woman who is deeply depressed, anxious, and struggles to get through the day but won’t invest in herself without her husband's permission, yet would not hesitate to invest as much or more on how she looks on the outside rather than how she feels on the inside.

When I speak with men, the conversations are drastically different. Typically if a man feels my coaching program is what they need, their only question is, “How soon can I start?”

Most of these men themselves are married but typically make the decision alone and without hesitation or contemplation about asking their wife or someone else first. There are rare exceptions… In my 20 years of coaching, I’ve only had eight men respond with, “I have to ask my wife first.” Five have become clients. These men have been upfront sharing that both they and their wife have a price point and if either one of them wants to spend over that price point they discuss it. For example, neither of them would book a vacation or make an expensive purchase for their home without checking in with the other.

Some clients who choose to work with me are making a significant investment in themselves which often means sacrificing things such as going on vacation or getting new carpet installed in their house. Last year, I worked with a woman who made the decision to not be in a friend’s wedding because she couldn’t afford to work with me and be a bridesmaid…she said her friend understood and was happy for her that she was making the decision to invest in herself. That’s the kind of client that is exciting to work with because they will do the necessary work to achieve their definition of success!

Many of the women I speak with have their own financial independence because they are high-achieving, well-compensated professional women, or may own their own business, yet still feel the need to get “permission” to invest in their own emotional well-being and healing.

Once I realized the pattern, which is that the women who can afford coaching and who really need it decide not to invest in themselves because they put other people or their physical appearance or social status before their mental and emotional well-being, it broke my heart. I thought about the reasons why this might be, and thought about ways I can try to empower women to trust their instincts and make their own decisions.

In our society, and even in some romantic relationships, the focus is typically on a woman’s outward appearance, like how “well” she is aging, how quickly her body “snaps back” after having kids, how she dresses, and how she presents herself in public.

However, the concept of “dad bods” are often thought of as funny, which is perfectly okay, but “mom bods” are expected to “bounce back,” never get saggy or have loose skin, and return to their pre-pregnancy or younger state.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve invested in some Botox and fillers. It’s not that I’m against investing in your physical self in a way that works for you… the point of this blog is that many women don’t feel as empowered or comfortable enhancing their emotional lives in the same way they do their physical appearance whether it's cosmetic surgery or luxury accessories. It is not uncommon for a woman to own one or more luxury purses that cost as much as a coaching program and think nothing of it because they simply aren’t aware of how they have different standards or values for themselves as a person.

It is heartbreaking that no matter what women do, they can’t seem to win.

The immense pressure and unrealistic expectations can feel crushing at times. And we haven’t even touched on the expectations put on women as mothers, wives, daughter-in-laws, executives, and business owners.

Unfortunately, this hyper-focus on the physical has caused many women to place their value in how they look and appear to others, and put their mental and emotional well-being on the back burner. If you pay attention, you can tell what is actually important to someone by what they do rather than what they say. Someone may say they value their emotional well-being, but they find it more acceptable to invest in an image.

Empowerment is a popular buzzword right now, but in actuality, it’s more of a concept than a reality for many women. While we may have seen positive changes, there is still a long way to go.

Many women simply do not feel empowered to take their emotional health into their own hands and some women who are financially empowered don’t even feel like they can make an investment in their emotional well-being unless they get validation or permission. Their decision process and commitment to themselves is reinforced by society and cultural conditioning. If it's not money spent on improving their outside image, then it’s not worth the investment.

In general, men hardly question making the decision to prioritize themselves and their happiness and success. In contrast, many women, no matter how badly they might need coaching, come up with reasons for why the money would be better spent elsewhere, like on a vacation, cosmetic enhancements, new clothes, or the latest trending product for the kids.

It's no secret that society has tried to place women's value in their outward appearance, and shape them to be selfless and to doubt themselves. Even women who actively seek independence, empowerment, and confidence can have subconscious and self-limiting beliefs about themselves and their place in the world.

In case no one has told you- how you feel about yourself inside is more important than how you look on the outside. The really good news is that when you feel better on the inside- more peaceful, empowered, and happier- it can only enhance how you look on the outside.

Investing in yourself, although sometimes scary, is not a “maybe later” scenario.

Your happiness, peace, and well-being should not be negotiable. No matter how enticing retail therapy, cosmetic “solutions”, or a girls trip may feel, and they may bring you some short term relief or “good feelings”, in the end, nothing changes if nothing changes.

Sometimes, we need to step outside of our comfort zones, prioritize ourselves, and invest in ourselves in ways that do create long-term, sustainable change and improve all areas of our lives, from our emotional well-being to our physical health and the quality of our relationships. A coach who is dedicated to helping you heal with proven strategies, powerful tools, unique insight, accountability, and unwavering support is sometimes the wisest investment you can make for yourself.

I help my clients with overcoming anxiety, depression, trauma, low confidence, imposter syndrome, relationship issues, and more. If you feel you are ready to make your emotional well-being a priority and invest in yourself, Book a Complimentary Discovery Call here or call 412-400-2085 and let’s Unlock Bold Change™- together.

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