It only takes two seconds for a professional hater to sniff out every ounce of your joy and crap all over it.
Haters tend to zoom in on those who don’t quite fit in -- which, as a bespectacled, plump 8-year-old into Batman comics, did not take me too long to discover. Since then, I have swapped Batman for blogging, but the haters still follow. You would think it sucks...but no.
In my other life, I write a blog mostly related to civil rights and liberties, and if there's one thing I've learned after years of fielding expert-level barbs, it is this: Even the stinkiest crap can be turned into gold, given enough balls.
The good news? You can do it too. Here are 10 lessons I learned from my haters:
1. Even your haters have haters; use that to your advantage.
When someone is always ready with a witty one-liner to try to make you look stupid, it is easy to assume he’s packing the brains of Stephen Hawking and the charm of Johnny Depp. It’s like, everyone can’t help fall for his charm...right?
Actually, no. There is a good chance there are as many people hating on him as there are sucking up to him. These are the people you need to be hanging out with.
2. Those haters know sweet FA about you.
Sure, they talk as though they know your worst vulnerabilities. But haters are rarely constructive and you are perfectly within your rights to give them the consideration they deserve (aka, none).
If you have genuine doubts about an area of your life, seek the advice of a professional or someone you trust. Don’t just take the word of the first creep who speaks up; he doesn’t know the first thing about you.
3. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the haters to improve yourself.
Yes, you can take something useful away from even from the most seemingly dumb statement.
Back in school, this girl zoomed in on the fact I hated my inelegant walk. From that day on, she had the whole school doing weird catcalls as soon as I walked past. I had to do something about it, or I would face every day too scared to walk across a bleeding cafeteria.
I took catwalk lessons and went on to take part in a charity runway show. It didn’t make my walk any less funny, but guess what? After facing an audience with my head held high, I found I couldn’t care less.
4. Success is measured by YOUR terms, not theirs.
Haters are forever setting standards for other people and raising the bar for everyone but themselves. You’re never clever/witty/rich/funny/"insert impossible adjective here" enough for them and their friends.
Don’t fall for that trick. If you’re happy doing what you do, you are already successful.
5. But they can help you turn insecurity into motivation.
I don’t know about you, but when it comes to making grandiose plans for self-improvement, I rock.
Until apathy and procrastination get in the way, that is, which usually happens right after I’ve finished that daydream about winning the lottery and migrating to the Maldives.
Enter the haters, and that apathy magically turns into motivation. Any task, no matter how tough, is worth the effort as long as there’s someone who thinks I can’t do it.
6. Popularity doesn’t last forever.
Go on, admit it while no one’s looking: It sure feels good to be popular, huh?
As shallow as this makes us feel, it’s more upsetting to be hated on by the cool kid at the office than by the lost soul with mismatched socks who’s always sitting alone in the corner.
But popularity doesn’t last forever, and the colleague whose offensive jokes crack up your manager today may very well make the same joke to silence and raised eyebrows tomorrow.
7. Sometimes, it’s best to let it go.
Unless we’re made of particularly stern stuff (i.e. are abnormally unsociable), our default setting is to want to make people like us. It’s always the jerks who have us eating out of their hands, jumping through hoops to make them throw a smile our way.
Train yourself to stop doing that. Some people will never like you, no matter what. And that’s perfectly fine.
8. A superiority complex can backfire.
The problem with haters is they only see as far as their nose.
It’s all cool and dandy when everything’s going their way, but when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan, they invariably lose the plot. You’ll recognize a hater by the confused look on his face as his life is falling to pieces all around him.
9. Don’t spread the drama unless something positive is to be gained from it.
If all the hating is killing your zen, stay away from Twitter and Facebook. Hell, stay away from your mobile phone (if possible)!
Trust me on this one: No one really wants to read your depressing statuses. Sure, people might throw a sympathy "like" your way, but know they’ll be snickering behind their keyboards.
10. Life always gives you a way out.
Are your coworker’s snide comments too much to take? Do you find yourself the butt of "one more joke than it is polite" at your local fitness class?
The simplest way to deal with the situation is to avoid it in the first place. Stop hanging out with that coworker during lunch and change fitness classes. Some might view this as wussing out, but I view it as a shortcut to a jerk-free day.
Because life’s too short to put up with other people’s crap.