I love my haters. There’s a special place in my heart for them. I would give these people kisses and hugs if I could. And although we have our ups and downs, like any couple does, I’m thankful for them.
Before I tell you why I appreciate the haters, I’ll share some of my experiences through the hate.
My Memorable Experiences With Haters
For background, school always bored me from kindergarten to my senior year of high school. I would rather compete in sports, get in trouble with friends, play video games, do a fantasy football draft, or do something exhilarating.
As you may imagine, I didn’t have the best discipline at school. I always misbehaved because I figured it was more interesting to get in trouble than sit in boredom.
One day when I acted bad (but not too terrible because I can’t recall it), a middle school teacher—at a Catholic school actually—threw me some memorable hate.
She said, “Brian, I promise you that you’ll be in prison by the time you turn 18. I guarantee it.” Might not sound that awful as adults, but her comment hit my 11-year-old self hard. I feared I was going to prison because I didn’t know better.
In a more recent example, I sent emails this spring about my new website to students at Miami University before I graduated. Like most topics, some people praised it and others strongly opposed.
One response said, “You’re not impressive. That was spam, your spam, your whole family is spam. Hate you.” Besides the grammatical errors, that’s messed up because my mom is not spam. She’s a great lady.
Another guy said, “Learn photoshop douchebag.”
And when I got into a heated argument with my housemate over the NHL video game (I’m hyper competitive in many subjects), he angrily told me to send more emails and that I’m a star on the app Yik Yak. By his comment, he meant people were dishing significant hate about my email and me.
Those are a few examples of my experience with haters. These moments caught me off guard, but I learned to thrive off of them moving forward (which I’ll share later).
Everyone has haters to some degree (And, if you don’t have haters, you’re most likely not putting your real self out there enough). They are everywhere, especially in the internet-age. Even if you’re the nicest person in world, people will dislike you for being too kind.
Why To Love Haters
I love haters because when they question me, they cause me to strengthen or refine my beliefs.
I love haters because when they bring negativity, I respond by becoming more focused and determined.
I try to empathize and be kind to haters because at the end of the day, they’re spending their time hating and I’m doing what I enjoy.
If you can think about your critics with a mindset of appreciation, it will be much easier to commit to the steps below and (from my experiences) effectively respond.
How To Channel Other’s Criticism For Your Good
Here are four steps that help me respond positively to haters.
1. Respond kindly or don’t respond at all. Either way, don’t give them hate back.
If you feel the need to respond to better understand why they feel that way, or think an appropriate comment could heal the situation, then go for it. If you’re kind, you can maybe turn that person into a follower, or gain other fans who respect your effort with the critic.
However, it’s a bad idea to send them hate back. Your retaliation will only open the door for more hate to follow. And it gives them the pleasure of getting a reaction out of you, which could be their main goal from the beginning.
Haters only have as much power over you as you give them.
2. Let the criticism go, or use it as motivation.
If you can’t snap back at them, you want to know what can you do. And we will get to that in the next step. But, we first need to decide how to internally handle the hate. Otherwise, the rest of these steps are useless.
There are two options: 1) forget it from our memory, or 2) use it as motivation. The goal of filtering into one of the two categories is to manage your psychology for focused work without distractions. If you’re emotionally worked up that someone criticized you, it’s impossible to concentrate and produce quality work. You will waste time being distracted and doubting yourself. So, we need to control the negativity before it controls us.
The first option, if the severity of the hatred toward you is not too bad, is to move on and forget the incident happened.
For example, those negative response emails don’t bother me. I laughed at them more than anything, especially the comment, “That was spam, your spam, your whole family is spam.” Then I went back to working on Take Your Success. I only remembered these comments because I spent fifteen minutes trying to think of something recent for this post.
A second option, for the events that stir up deeper feelings which you can’t forget, is to remember their hate and use it as motivation for focused work.
For instance, I vividly remember my teacher’s prison comment because of the shock of that statement, the contempt in her tone, and my age at the time. I deserved discipline, but I firmly believe she acted inappropriately when she put a prison sentence on my future. She lost control, which wasn’t cool of her.
So, I haven’t forgotten that memory from 11 years ago, it stays in the back of my mind. But, I haven’t let it ruin my psyche either. Instead, when I need motivation, I’ll remember it to focus and push harder. (Plus, she was wrong. I’m 22 and haven’t spent anytime in jail or prison. Sorry to disappoint.)
3. Keep moving to your finish line.
Now that the judgement is set aside and you can focus, keep moving to finish what you started.
Proving to yourself that you can do it and getting past the naysayers will take significant effort that can be painfully difficult. But, the patience and time will all be worth it when you persevere to accomplish your goal.
4. Pursue what you want to do—what makes you happy.
So, do you and you’ll be satisfied.
Readers, can you relate to this? What have critics said to you? How do you handle the negativity? Is it easy for you to get motivated like me and love haters, or do you get discouraged? Any other questions?