Rebuilding Powerfully After Suffering Rejection: Kimberley Kennedy’s Inspirational Story

Tracie Nolde
Tracie Nolde

Allow me to introduce you to my friend Kimberly Kennedy.  Some of you may have heard her name before, especially if you live in or around Atlanta.  Besides being a local Atlanta celebrity, Kimberly is a news anchor, TV personality, speaker, writer, daughter, sister and friend to many.

One of the things she’s best known for is a book she wrote called Left at the Altar based on her true life story of literally being left at the altar at her very public wedding.  Many women couldn’t even begin to imagine how devastating this would be and the thought of reliving it twice to write a book about the process we walk through in rejection seems like torture.  The truth is, this did almost kill her but her story did not end there.  The pain and hopelessness that she endured also made way for a new beginning.

Rejection is real and we all experience it at some point in our lives. You may not have been left at the altar by the love of your life, but you’ve probably felt the pain of rejection in some form or another. Kimberley’s book reminds us to never let rejection define who you are and there is a new story that is being written in your life as you walk through the pain in your rejection.   I am so grateful Kimberley is allowing us to peak inside her life today, as she talks about her healing process and shares her tools for recovery with us, below…

Kimberly Kennedy
Kimberly Kennedy

This week I got an email from a woman from some far away place (rejection knows no geographical boundaries) who had discovered my book and wanted to thank me for sharing my story and the hope it had given her. She wrote that just one month before her wedding her fiancé called it off.  By text.  Seriously. He called off their wedding in a text message.  And that’s not the first time a woman has told me that a man ended a relationship that way.

While that sounds pretty awful I’ve discovered that rejection’s rejection no matter how it happens; by text, after thirty years of marriage, or at the altar.  And it hurts like heck, because someone you love doesn’t love you back.

I think what has amazed me the most from my own journey and hearing the countless stories of other women is what rejection seems to do to our very being.  It doesn’t matter whether she’s a wealthy, young, supermodel with a PhD, rejection always seems to leave women with an overwhelming, debilitating loss of self-worth.

That was me, in spades.

I had waited a long time to walk down the aisle. All I had cared about was my career until I was 33 and met my former fiancé on a blind date. A year later we were engaged and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was about my future with this man. He was everything (at the time) I was looking for: smart, funny, successful, athletic, and generous.  The one thing he didn’t have was an appropriate sense of timing.

I was at the church with all our family and closest friends ready to begin the rehearsal when he walked in and told me he “just couldn’t do it.” Four little words that changed my life forever.  How does it feel to hear something like that in the church where you’re about to be married to the man you love with all your heart?  Exactly like you feel anytime you hear devastating news—disbelief, numbness, and the ridiculous hope that it’s just some really bad joke.  If you saw “Sex and the City,” the scene was a lot like that. Lots of crying and anger and my sister saying things in a church that you should probably not say.

Not only was I heartbroken beyond belief, but I was incredibly humiliated. I was the 5pm anchor at Atlanta’s NBC affiliate and by Monday morning the news was out; in the paper, on the radio, everybody, it seemed, knew I had been dumped.

Still, all I wanted was to be with him.

In the coming days and months I sunk into a depression so severe that it would leave me without a job, isolated from all my friends, and so stressed out that I developed thyroid disease. Oh, and my faith in God, which I thought had been so strong, was shattered.  I truly hated God because he had allowed this terrible thing to happen. This woman who had been so close to having it all was now in a heap of self-pity with zero self-worth.

All because one man rejected me.

That’s hard for me to admit today.  But it’s true. I allowed another person’s rejection to convince me that I was unworthy, unlovable, that I would never love again. I remember thinking that I would never laugh again.

If that’s where you are today, let me share this:

  1. Who you are, what makes you special, what makes you, you, has nothing to do with a man, (or anyone else for that matter) whether it’s your husband, your boss, or the fiance who dumped you in a text message.
  2. Allow yourself time to mourn. Something you loved is gone, it’s normal to grieve it.
  3. But don’t mourn too long. Mourning can easily turn into self-pity, which is neither healthy nor attractive. Get back in your routine, do the things you normally enjoy.  You’ll be amazed how much more quickly you actually begin to feel normal.
  4. Choose to turn off the recording that’s saying you aren’t worthy or lovable and will never love again. It’s a lie.
  5. Choose to believe the truth.  You are worthy, wonderful, in fact, and you are quite loveable.  And there is a great life ahead of you!

Once I was able to work through all of that is when my true healing began. Today I am so thankful I did not get married that day.  Was it a terrible, heartbreaking, humiliating thing to go through?  Was the pain nearly unbearable?  Did I think I would never be happy again? Yes!  But what I learned in the process and how I grew in my faith and knowing who I really am, is something I will have the rest of my life.  And no one can take that away.

Rejection can make us feel out of control and powerless.  But that’s a feeling, not the truth.  The truth is, you have the power– to choose!  You can choose, right now, to believe that you are worthy, that you are loveable and special and that you aren’t going to waste one more day of your incredible life mourning a man who didn’t see it.

Now that’s a message worth texting!

Please visit Kimberley’s website,, for more inspiration.

1 Comment

  1. This is an amazing article. We’ve all experienced this topic, at some point in our lives. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve sent this to, how many people have read it and shared it from another FB post. Great timing. Thanks Tracie and Kimberly!

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