You’re happy. You’re living your life plans, or about to. You’re confident and calm. You know you’re doing good things, and you’re relieved that you’ve finally got your shit together.
Good things can happen to good people.
And then they arrive. The bubble busters determined to bring you back down to reality and make you feel bad.
They slip in unnoticed and at a time when you’ve finally stopped beating up on yourself.
They remind you that you’re not that special.
The dream stealers and the naysayers.
We’ve all met them, possibly over and over again. They project their fears and limitations to squash you.
“If I’m not brave enough, then I sure won’t let you shine that light to be.”
On another level comes the haters. Who can work them out? They show their face to complete strangers just to vent their anger.
They kill your enthusiasm. They kill your confidence. They kill your self-love. They make you agonize over your choices and doubt every word you speak and action you take.
Travel as a hater shield
Travel used to be a shield for me. It never held me down to any particular way of living and being. I was free to roam as myself and meet other people who were also free to be.
Dream stealers and naysayers were there before I set off on my adventures, trying to make me feel guilty or stupid for following a dream. But once I hit the road, I escaped from them.
And haters and trolls? Well, I didn’t know too much about that. I didn’t stick around in one place for them to stick on me.
Travel doesn’t afford me that bubble privilege anymore. Technology allows the haters to infiltrate. And well, we have a popular travel blog, which means we have somewhat of a public profile. Although that idea kinda sits funny with me.
Not only can the haters infiltrate my space a lot easier, but they come too frequently.
It takes a lot of effort to hold my head up and continue to believe that people are mostly kind and loving like travel taught me.
I get upset, less by what they say and do to me, but more by the illusion of an awesome world they shatter for me.
Sometimes it comes in waves, or in droves, or if you’re lucky fits and starts. Not matter the frequency or severity, it will come. It’s just the way it is. We need to prepare ourselves for it and have a plan of action to follow when it does.
You need strength of spirit, heart and soul and a belief in what you are doing.
Vulnerability and sensitivity over thick skin
You need to develop thick skin, so they say.
I’ve realised I’m quite sensitive and agonise over things far too much. But, I think choosing to thicken my skin is dangerous. It means you shut yourself down and then the haters win.
I don’t want to build a stone wall around my heart because then I’ll stop believing and feeling and hoping and sharing. Then what? I turn into a hater too.
Real strength lies in vulnerability.
In having the courage to stand up and share even when people are throwing tomatoes at you.
Something I’ve heard said many times about celebrities; I’ve said it myself, is that “Well they put themselves out there so they should expect to cop some flack.”
That’s such a stupid and inhumane statement.
They should be applauded and respected for their willingness to share their story and not let their music die within them. They shouldn’t shut up and put up just because they’re a celebrity. It doesn’t mean they have to give up their right to be respected.
Whether you’re someone in the public light, or someone intent on living the best life they can, or even just someone, you’ll have to deal with bullies and the haters, and on a less malicious degree, the dream stealers.
It’s not easy as forgetting about it or blocking it out as most people advise. I bet you can’t do that either.
It eats away at you because it’s struck a chord and there’s something you need to do with it. That’s why some haters and insults we forget about easily and others persist in making us feel miserable.
The truth is, there’s nothing anybody can say to you that you haven’t said to yourself already.
“You’re fat, you’re ugly. Look at your wrinkles. No one cares what you have to say. You’re unlovable.” all those hateful things we whisper to ourselves.
The haters make you feel like they are exposing the bad bits about yourself. Even though your bad bits aren’t really there, it’s just all imagined out of fear, or years of other people’s judgements!!
I’ve had a bad week with haters infiltrating my space. Most of them don’t bother me, but some of them hit that place of vulnerability.
How to deal with the haters – a positive plan
The haters are just light illuminators – trying to get us to see how we subconsciously feel about ourselves so we can bring that out of the shadows and start believing something different.
I like to turn the negatives into positives. If I didn’t, I’d be a blooming mess. I also know what a powerful part it plays in creating a life you want.
After spending days imagining ways to get revenge, and journaling all my thoughts and pains, I decided to write a post to help you deal with the haters in your life.
It takes every ounce of you being not to hate with ferocity back. You dream of vengeance and gleefully waiting on the sidelines so you can be the first person laughing.
Don’t act upon that hate yourself, but don’t disregard that energy. It’s powerful, and you can use it in far better ways like the
The “Fuck you, I’ll show you” manoeuvre
I hate people dissing on other people’s dreams. I wouldn’t be where I was in my life today if it weren’t for the multiple of haters telling me how embarrassing or stupid I am, and that my dreams can’t be reality.
Only the dreamer knows what they are capable of.
I’m glad Rosa Parks ignored the naysayers when they said she couldn’t sit in the white section of the bus.
These dream stealers ignite a little spark within me that quickly sets my backbone on fire. I politely smile, but on the inside I’m saying, “I’ll show you.” Then I work harder than ever before to prove them wrong.
Use it as evidence that you’re not so bad after all
Whiny, desperate, bitch, sell-out, and bovine whore are just a small fraction of the names I’m regularly called. Then there are the insults like, I wish you’re children would abandon you.
Or, the behaviours like someone calling you out in a public place for not having ethics, and then starting a private bitch hunt about in a group you can’t enter to defend yourself. Yeah. that’s my personal favourite at the moment. Weird sense of morality that one is.
Take satisfaction in knowing that, if you don’t behave in this way, at least you’re not doing so bad. Thank goodness your life is not that miserable. You’re doing okay.
Use it as an opportunity to pat yourself on the back and praise yourself, You’re kind to others, there is a lot to be said for that.
Use it as a promise to be a better person
I couldn’t sleep at night, or look at myself in the morning if I knew I was being a hater, or trying to kill people’s dreams (actually now I’m approaching 40, I do avoid looking in the mirror because of those wrinkles)
I’m certainly not perfect. I lose my temper, sometimes I don’t call people back, and there are many people I don’t like, but I don’t intentionally set out to destroy people’s self-esteem.
It’s okay to not like people, or to have people not like you. Sometimes we just don’t jive with one another, but you don’t have to be mean about it. (Although I have noted that calling Tony Abbot an awful leader who needs to be removed is a behaviour I do need to correct. It just goes to show the whole “celebrities don’t have feelings” myth we’ve bought into. I’m sure he’s a wonderful person, just not suited to the job.)
I have a little thing I do now when a hater enters my realm – I promise to kill them with love and kindness. I don’t mean shower them with love and kindness. I have not yet mastered that art of forgiveness and compassion (but I am listening Dali Lama!)
I mean overpower their hateful energy with love. As soon as they hate on me, I turn to someone else to spread them love. And it makes me determined to be a better person. Anything to not be a hater like you!
I can’t see any other solution.
You can’t change people. The only thing you can do is help spread more love instead and hope it catches.
Don’t let the bullies and the haters in. It’s time t make a stand against them and allow our voices to be louder.
Draw a line in the sand that says, “Not in my world. Please leave.” I regularly tell people to leave our community and blog. “If you can’t be respectful to me or others in this space, then you’re in the wrong place and it’s time to go.”
Be firm. Be polite (as best you can). Remove yourself from all groups and forums where the hating and bickering happens. You don’t need that in your world and it’s more than likely you’ll get drawn into it.
Of course, there are those you can’t cull them. Remain polite but guarded. Don’t share your dreams with them. Only share it with those you trust to hold them tenderly.
Don’t let others dictate your reality
There’s a tendency to want to hide, or change who you are, because of what the haters say and do. Keep being yourself – nothing will irritate the haters more!!
Your opinion of yourself is all that matters.
Who you are is perfect and worth sharing as it is. Be brave in defining your life for yourself and living the full expression of that. Be vulnerable. Be real.
I love this quote I recently saw from Wayne Dyer
and this one I read from Lisa Wilkinson
Another one I like to say to the haters
Surround yourself with supporters
The thing I hate most about my experiences with haters is that I could receive ten positive, encouraging comments and one hateful one, and I let those empowering people vanish like pixie dust.
All I hear are the haters.
Do you experience that too?
It takes such an effort to focus on the majority. I had many people rally around me recently (And I love and adore them for it) but their loving support was not enough for me to forget the one negative.
Imagine if I did not have the supporters, though. I probably would have enacted out my most vengeful scenarios.
Try to see where they’re coming from
Some people are purely just hateful. That’s their only motivation.
Others might be coming from a more sensitive place. It could be a parent who doesn’t want you to travel because they’ll miss you, or they’re fearful of what might happen. Understand this and have compassion.
Some take things too personally and others see a difference of opinion as a threat. Feel sorry for them – but don’t let that be an excuse to tolerate it. Everyone, no matter their circumstances, is responsible for their choices.
Sometimes people might be having a bad day. We don’t know what’s going on in their lives. Offer them some grace.
The other day I was abused via email. A couple of hours later that person replied profusely apologizing. She’d never normally speak that way but she was having a bad day and operating behind a keyboard makes it too easy. I let her know it was unacceptable, but I accepted her apology and told her not to worry. We all have horrible days. I have a LOT of respect for people who can apologize.
Have direct conversations
I had a conversation in person with someone recently who I had a slight dispute with over email. It wasn’t that bad, but I kinda jumped the gun on something. We sorted it out quick, but I saw him in person and apologised again and asked if we were all cool.
“Of course,” he said. “I like how you were upfront with me. Too many people wouldn’t say anything. At least I know where I stand with you and we can deal with it.” We spent the rest of the evening chatting over drinks and getting along fine.
Being upfront and honest goes so much further than letting problems fester, or worse slandering people behind closed doors.
A plan for figuring out the truth about the haters
I believe that our experiences are lessons designed to help us grow. They rarely make sense and can often take us years to figure out. But, the more we get used to looking at the good in the bad (including the haters) the faster we can raise ourselves up to the next set of lessons.
Here’s the process I use:
1. Do the mirror test
Can I look at myself in the mirror each morning (wrinkles aside) and be proud of what I see?
If not, what needs to change. Sometimes we might attract haters because we’re being haters ourselves. That’s a hard pill to swallow.
2. How do the people that count feel about you?
What about the important people? Your partner, your children, your parents, your siblings, your friends? Or, in our case, our real readers. Do they love you? Are you making a difference in their lives?
Usually, if we focus on this, we can better determine if the hater’s being a hater and should be ignored, or if there are things we need to change.
Caveat– don’t change because you feel someone wants you to. Only change if you know it’s the best thing for you.
3. How might the hater be a messenger?
You don’t want to draw this conclusion that your hater may be a messenger. It feels as if you’re approving their behaviour. But, you’re not. You can still be grateful for how their hating has helped you grow, without being grateful for their cowardly or mean acts.
It takes time to uncover what the lesson is, and it involves you having to sit in the pain and discomfort of how it makes you feel. You can’t get to the messages and the growth if you shut yourself off to the pain. If you can feel the pain, you’ll be amazed at what you find at the end of it.
I arrived at sadness for how much I felt like I was not worthy and always had to justify myself. Where did that come from? But in that place I also felt alive because I felt an emotion fully. With that came a strange sense of peace. An awareness that I’ve changed. Acknowledgement that I’ve hated on myself too much.
Resounding messages that speak clearly.
Be open to hearing them.
The day after my unfortunate experiences last week, every magazine I picked up had some article or quote abut dealing with other people’s opinions. They kept popping up in my Facebook feed as well!
One of the messages that I received was that I must continue to share. It was the same voice that spoke way back in 2010 when I tried to make sense of our financial disaster and how to fix it.
“Your experiences are not for you alone Caroline. They are there for you to share to help others.”
So that is the reason I’ve written this post today. I don’t ever ignore that voice, not matter how uncomfortable it forces me to get.
4 .Make the changes. Pay kindness forward
Whatever needs to change in your life do it.
The haters will disappear (well at least for the meantime) until the next time you need a lesson and to move on up another layer. Once you know their purpose, you can laugh at them and shake them off better.
Make kindness your main form of currency. For every hater, pay forward ten acts of kindness and love. We’ll win in the end.
As Tay Tay says
As I was writing this post a friend’s update popped up on my wall on Facebook. She was sharing the story of how someone had gone out of their way to help her. “There really are kind people in this world” Yes there are. We need to share their stories more so we can drown out those who’ve forgotten how to be kind.