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The surprising truth about rejection

Posted: 11/26/2014

On July 25th I took the TEDx stage in Fargo, ND and shared my most heartbreaking rejections and biggest humiliations in front of hundreds of people. Yes, it was scary and vulnerable and the events I describe are kind of messed up, but I did it for a good reason: I want to take the stigma of rejection and bullying out of our culture’s collective closet.

We each have our own stories of experiencing rejection. Some of them involve bullying, and others are simply a moment in time we put ourselves out there—we were vulnerable—and things didn’t work out how we wanted them to.

These hurt us and caused real pain. I know it did for me. Our fear of rejection causes us to feel shame and pushes us to hide away. It dampens our own brilliance. When we feel this way do we share it with anyone? NO WAY! That would make us look weak and vulnerable. We keep our rejection a secret because we think it makes us unlovable. We’re afraid if we tell others, they’ll laugh at us, judge us, and make us feel even more pathetic.

But that’s simply not true. I tried to hide my rejections for years and it just made everything worse. Eventually, I discovered that seeking support and being open about my challenges made them easier to overcome, and made me feel much better. It made me feel a sense of relief. By opening up it did the opposite of what I thought it would do. Instead of pushing people away, it brought them closer. By sharing my vulnerabilities it made others comfortable in sharing theirs, and this created a connection between us.

It was (and still is) uncomfortable to share, but learning how to let go of my own shame around rejection and instead using it as an opportunity to connect with others has been a major breakthrough in my life. And I bet it will be in yours too. You are not alone and I hope by sharing my story you can see that we are in this together. It’s in our collective efforts that this movement will grow and have the impact on those who need to hear it.

By: Cam Adair

 
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