When you’re dealing with haters, the first thing you have to remember is Taylor Swift:
Haters gonna hate.
It’s just what they do. And most of the time, what they do isn’t in your control.
However, what you do have control over is your mind. You are the sole arbiter of what matters and what doesn’t. You guard the gates to your mood. So it’s your job to not let that negativity get inside your head.
None of that noise can lower your self-worth or decrease your self-esteem if you decide it won’t.
So let’s look at how to keep your head in the game and out of the gutter.
Negative comments come from people in all shapes and sizes.
I think many of us will agree that, in some ways, getting an unsavory comment to our face is different than getting it on social media.
Face-to-face, you know more information about the person, even if you don’t know them personally. You see how they look; you can read their body language; you hear their tone of voice…there’s a lot of data there. It’s easier to say: I care about this person’s opinion. Or on the flip side, you may immediately determine that they’re off their rocker and probably just escaped the nearest loony bin.
When insults are delivered in person, the person delivering them really needs to own the insult and take responsibility for it. This accountability usually means that people are more polite to each other when they are in the same room. They endeavor to establish a sense of civility and present themselves as respectable, reasonable people.
But on social media, the gloves come off. People go from respectable and reasonable to downright bonkers. Their righteous fury is triggered by anything under the sun - or, more realistically, a florescent light. And in most cases, their detractions make no sense at all.
The reason for this discrepancy in behavior is obvious: online haters can hide behind a fake name, a pseudonym and wear a digital mask. There’s much less accountability. This is why it’s a lot more common to be insulted in our pixel-filled land of social media and news feeds than IRL.
Now just because we know WHY it happens, that doesn’t make it any more pleasant. It sucks to get a hurtful comment.
But returning to our fearless heroine, TayTay reminds us that we “just gotta shake it off”.
With that in mind, let’s review two facts that will help you shake things off in style:
It’s Them, Not You:
Most of the time, the comment has much less to do with you and much more to do with issues the hater is dealing with. They could be having a bad day, or they may have forgotten to take their meds, or their favorite team just lost a match. Whatever the case, they are projecting their frustrations on you. You don’t deserve it, but they don’t care, or may not even realize what they are doing in the heat of the moment. Regardless, it has no association with the quality of your work.
You Mattered to Them:
The hater took time out of their day to tell you how they feel. Think about that for a second. That means you’re worth something to them. That’s better than being ignored. They engaged with you and that means you exerted some influence over them, so go you!
By acknowledging these two realities, you’re equipped to let the negative comments bounce off you like water off an umbrella -ella, ella, ey, ey (okay, okay, enough with the pop songs).
Now, this isn’t to say that all negative comments should be ignored. In fact, in aggregate, negative comments can be very helpful. Individual people have their own opinions that may or may not jive with yours, but if you are seeking to serve an audience, and a large portion of that audience is giving you a similar type of constructive criticism on an independent basis (i.e., they aren’t just feeding off of each other), that might be an opportunity for you to improve!
In other words, while individual negative comments should be taken with a large grain of salt, when you start to see noticeable trends across a larger pool of data, you might want to take note of why that might be, and act accordingly.
After all, none of us are perfect, and we should always be proactively looking for ways to get better at our craft.
Okie dokie, that’s our scoop on haters.
To recap, remember the following:
- Most of the time, these people are just having a bad day
- If they said anything at all, it’s because what you said mattered to them
- If a large group of individuals are independently saying the same thing, you might want to turn that into a learning opportunity
Remember, Explearners. It’s a lot easier to throw shade than to create something beautiful.
My advice to the trolls out there: create, don’t hate. Or as Jesse Jackson put it, “The only time you should look down at someone is when you are helping them up.”
But that’s a topic for another time.
In the meantime, let the haters keep hating, and you keep on creating. The world needs more light in it.
Don’t let anyone dim your brightness.
So now that I've shared our thoughts, I want to hear about what works for you. What other strategies can you share with the Explearning community to deal with haters? And what challenges have you encountered along the way?
Share those two things with me in the comments below.
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With that, have an awesome week, Explearners.
Thank you so much for joining me and I’ll see you next time for your next Explearning lesson.
Happy Explearning ⚡