I hate asking for help. Most of us do. There are many reasons why we don't like to reach out to others, even though it's been proven that human connections are vital for our well-being. Society values self-sufficiency and seeking help can be seen as a sign of weakness. Being seen as vulnerable can feel like a death sentence to our reptilian brain, as weak members of the groups in our evolutionary past were more likely to be rejected so as to not become a liability to the whole. In addition to feeling unsafe- we also don't want to be judged, we might be perfectionists who like our image of competence, perhaps we've had a previous rejection from someone at a time of weakness and don't want to feel that hurt again, and the list goes on and on.
And when we finally do muster up the courage to reach out to our fellow humans and tell them that we could use a helping hand, we often face a stark reality - not everyone responds with compassion. In those moments of vulnerability, the possibility of rejection looms, and it can have significant, detrimental effects. But not just for the rejected... for the rejector too.
I read a post this morning that was written by someone who uses language like "HEART-CENTRED" and "SOULution" in her marketing copy, who says she wants people to be seen, accepted and loved as their authentic selves. On the surface, she talks about wanting to help people. But in her recent post (which I saw because we have mutual friends and Facebook thought I'd enjoy her content), she wrote about her "pet peeve" of people posting about their injuries online, writing "It's like saying: 'Feel sorry for me, I'm a victim.' No good can come from that other than sympathy." Whoa... really? That's how you feel about people who are injured and letting their friends, family, clients (or whomever the heck they want to tell) know about their situation? You, the person who says you want to help people, is bashing a group of people while they're in their most vulnerable state for a piece of content? Let me clue you in to how you're doing them, and yourself, more harm than good.
When a human being reaches out to other humans (especially when they're in an extremely vulnerable state) and is rejected, it can leave lasting emotional scars. It can reinforce feelings of unworthiness and erode self-esteem. It also makes it challenging to trust others again. When we're rejected, we become guarded, hesitant to open up, and wary of forming new connections. That leads to isolation and loneliness, because it becomes very easy to withdraw from social interactions when you feel like you're going to get hurt. Rejection can contribute to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. And the emotional toll of having no one to turn to can be truly overwhelming.
In the bigger picture, when rejection and a lack of compassion become the norm, we create a world that is less kind, less understanding, and less supportive. It becomes a place where empathy, the very essence of humanity, diminishes, and our collective well-being suffers. It's a stark reminder that our actions have profound consequences, not just for those we reject but for society as a whole.
But here's where it gets really interesting... it's not just the rejected that suffer. The rejector also suffers but might not even realize they're doing harm to themselves. In the realm of business, compassion plays a pivotal role in shaping your reputation and your brand. (Especially if you're selling coaching services!) When clients or customers perceive a lack of empathy or support, it will tarnish your image and put a big red flag on your brand. Potential customers who've ever been in a vulnerable state (in other words, ALL of them) will not want to come to you - the person who bashed someone else at THEIR most vulnerable time - to coach them through their problems. The thought process is "If you did it to someone else, you'll do it to me too... either behind my back, or worse, online!"
What this person thought was a "conversation starter" social media post, turned into a "who's who of compassion" directory as I read through the comments. My brain took notes of who enthusiastically backed this coach's misguided opinion (comments which got likes and loves from the poster) and who championed the vulnerable and tried to explain another way of seeing things (comments which were not liked by the post's author, at least at the time of me reading them.) Guess which people I'd be more likely to hire and/or want to work with as clients in my business?
I doubt she'll see this as she's not a friend of mine. But Facebook works in mysterious ways, so perhaps she'll stumble upon this blog post and her perspective will shift to one of empathy. Maybe not. But I, for one, plan to hold tight to the incredible power of compassion. I choose empathy over indifference and warmth instead of chilly unconcern. If I can help even one person heal the bruises they incurred from rejection and shine their light bright, I'm helping to pave the way for a kinder, more prosperous world. And that's what MY life, reputation, and brand are about. Wanna join me?