Here is the full transcript of Amazon best-selling, hypnotherapist Marisa Peer’s TEDx Talk: How to Avoid Rejection and Get Connection at TEDxGoodenoughCollege conference.
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Marisa Peer – Amazon best-selling, hypnotherapist
That’s just my little prop for later. Hi, thank you for listening to me. So I’m going to teach you today how to be amazing at connection. But to be amazing at connection, you’ve got to be equally amazing at not letting in rejection. You have to be able to deal with rejection in order to be fantastic at connection, because we come on to the planet with two very very powerful needs. Our first need is we must always find and maintain connection. And our second need is that we must always seek acceptance and avoid being rejected.
And avoiding being rejected is very very important. These are actual tribal needs and we will run by this instinctive need that we have to avoid being rejected, because when we lived in a tribe, you couldn’t survive unless you were connected. We were born instinctively knowing that we would make it on the planet, we would survive if we were connected to a group. Because as tribes people you couldn’t hunt for food, you couldn’t build a dwelling and you couldn’t raise a family unless you were connected. You needed that group to watch your back.
And of course, the tribes understood that too. All groups knew that the way to make you conform was to threaten you with rejection. And if they threatened you with rejection, you would conform. So very difficult sails had been marooned, they would be marooned on a desert island forever. Difficult prisons were put into isolation. Many many religions also understood, if they threatened you with casting out or banishment, you would behave, and even children know how to send someone they don’t like to Coventry. And of course, when parents and [a naughty child to their room], they’re disconnecting from the group, they’re rejecting them and they’re rejecting their behavior. So in Romeo and Juliet, when Romeo was banished from Verona, he said, ‘I’d rather be killed than banished. Banishment is worse than death. There is nothing out there but purgatory’. And actually he was right.
My father lived in a tiny little village up north that had a really old church, that had the original banishment window still there. Because in times gone by, if a villager didn’t behave and didn’t conform, they would be banished forever from that village. But they still had to go to church to try and redeem their wickedness. And they had to turn up after the service began. In all weathers, they had to crouch down by this banishment window and listen to the service outside. And then they left and they left just before the service ended, because they were not allowed to have connection. So to this day we fear being rejected. And the fear of rejection will hurt our ability to connect.
So I’m sure most of you know what Stockholm Syndrome is. But Stockholm Syndrome is the study of what happens to people when you disconnect them. So people who have been taken hostage, people who have been kidnapped, people who have been in prison would rather befriend their enemy and often have sex with them too than be isolated, disconnected and rejected. And of course, most of you have seen Homeland. Haven’t you? In Homeland, he went to the other side because he was isolated and disconnected and rejected. So it’s this tribal fear that we have, and if you think, the tribal fears don’t exist, we’re not in a tribe, just watch what women do when they’re out in a group. If women go out in a group and one of them says, ‘I want to go to the toilet’, they’d say, ‘Who’s coming with me?’ They’d go, ‘I’ll come and I’ll come too’.
And women go to toilet in groups because in a tribe, a woman never ever went to the toilet on her own, that was so dangerous. You didn’t know what was out there. So women went off in groups to the toilet and when they’re in groups out, they still go to the toilet in a group. A man never says, ‘I need to pee, who is coming with me?’ And if you did, no guy would go, ‘I’ll come and I’ll come too’. Because men stand up to pee, women literally had to have someone watch their backs. So we come onto the planet with this really intense need to be connected and to avoid being rejected. And these bonds of connection are very very fragile and they must not be broken. And what damages them is the fear of rejection.
So I’ve been a therapist for many many years and I fly all over the world and I have a great job and I meet people who’d say, ‘Yeah, you know, I got bullied when I was eight and to this day, I don’t do groups. I won’t go to a pub, I won’t go to a party, I would never work in a big office. I might be rejected. It might remind me of what it felt like to be bullied’.
Or someone would say to me, ‘Yeah, the love of my life dumped me. I’ve never had a relationship since. I don’t even want one, because I couldn’t go through that pain again.’
Or somebody will say, ‘I was fired in front of everyone in my office. It was so humiliating. I’ve never had a job since’.
What they’re saying is being rejected was so painful, I’m now choosing to avoid rejection. But of course what they’re doing is they are avoiding connection. And you don’t need to do that, because you can’t be rejected. We’re not tribal people anymore. There’s no way that you could ever be rejected, because you have to believe everything the person is rejecting you is saying. So if I said to you, ‘I don’t like you, I hate everyone that has green hair, and I really don’t like you because I just can’t stand people who have purple hair’. That’s my opinion. It’s so clearly wrong. You’re not going to let that in, that can’t possibly hurt you. It’s an opinion that is wrong that you’re not going to let in.
I’m going to be using this word ‘let in’ a lot in the next 15 minutes, because if you take one thing away from today, let it be this: Don’t let in opinions that will hurt you. If I said to the back row, ‘I don’t like any of you, you’re so boring, you’re just so deeply dull, there’s nothing to you’. Some of you will let that in but it’s just an opinion, it’s no different to the other opinion. I’m saying something, you don’t have to let that in.
So I work with so many people damaged by rejection, particularly children and in my years as a therapist I’ve learned 5 techniques that will really help you, really help you — I guarantee it — to not let in rejection, to deal with it. You can’t stop people rejecting you but you can change the way it affects you. So let me teach you these five techniques.