Handling The Haters: 8 Simple Keys That Work For AllAdeshola Ezeokoli
Hater is a commonly used word nowadays. Personally, I think that it is actually overused. People want to label everyone who disagrees with them as a “hater”. What does that word mean? I found two definitions in the dictionary: a formal one and an informal one.
Formal: A person who dislikes a specified person or thing e.g. “a man hater“.
Informal: negative or critical person e.g. “she found it difficult to cope with haters“.
In this post, I will be referring to the latter meaning. How you handle negative or critical people is key to your growth, and key to living a life of balance. Here are eight simple keys to handling haters.
1. Keep things in perspective: First of all, keep things in perspective. Not everyone who disagrees with you is a hater. They may just disagree with your position. Secondly, there is a difference between people disagreeing with your Facebook posts and people being after your very career or life. Think Colin Kaepernick, Martin Luther King, or Jesus. A lot of people scream “hater” just because a stranger disagreed with them online. It is not that deep. Thirdly, not everyone will like you, your product, or your message. In fact, according to Tim Ferris about 10% of people will not be into you. It is just the math. It is very important to keep things in perspective in order to choose the right response.
2. Focus on your “lovers”: Of course, by lovers I mean it in the sense of being opposite to “haters”. People spend too much mental and emotional energy on haters. They either try to defend themselves, justify their position, or “throw shade” at said haters. Big mistake. It doesn’t matter who doesn’t “get you“. It only really matters who does. Those that love you? Focus on them. Love them back. Support them. Do not take that love for granted. Concentrating too much energy on haters takes your focus away from people that you should be serving and “loving“ right back.
3. Listen: What is being said? Who is saying it? Let me give you a somewhat facetious example: if one person says you are a cat you can ignore it. If two people say that you are a cat, well, they could be wrong. If 50 people say that you are a cat, just get down on all fours, and say Meow! If a person that you know and trust and has your best interests at heart says you are a cat, give it some thought-and then start meowing! Not every negative thing that you hear is false. Some of it, you have to take as feedback for your own personal growth.
4. Don’t listen: Listen, then don’t listen. Don’t accept “constructive criticism” from people who have never constructed anything. Let me give you an example. Someone once came to me saying that “people” say that my Facebook posts are patriarchal. I told her that these “people“ were free to block me on Facebook or unfriend me. This same person told me the same thing a few months later. Now in my personal experience, most people reach out to me about my Facebook posts are not saying that. I generally get positive responses; people want to sign up to have me coach them; and people buy my products just off my Facebook posts. I quickly classified this person’s observations under the category of “don’t listen”. When I started doing events as part of my speaking/coaching business, someone approached me, and in a derisive manner wanted to know “what was all this that I was doing?” The person tried to talk me out of my dreams. Most other people however were happy for me, supportive, and quite willing to attend my events. Guess what? I did not listen to that negativity.
5. Prioritize your personal growth: Jesus said, “remove the plank from your eye before you remove the speck from your neighbor’s eye”. This basically means mind yourself, don’t be a hypocrite; get rid of your “big flaws” before you point out your neighbors called “little flaws”. This means that if I am focused each day on becoming a better person, I won’t be worrying too much about what other people are doing. If you are growing and changing, the people who are not meant to be on the journey with you will eventually leave you alone. Do your own inner work and focus less on haters.
6. Be love and light: Don’t be offended. Learn to see people through the eyes of compassion. Don’t take things personally. Don’t get angry at folks who do not know anything about you. Transcend and elevate. Uplevel your thinking. Live happy. Do not descend to the level of negative and critical people. The Bible says and I paraphrase: “do not get tired of doing good, because you will reap a reward for your persistence in good works“. Don’t get bitter, get better and better at doing the good that you do.
7. Stop explaining: It is a waste of time to keep on explaining yourself to negative critical people. You cannot reason people out of a position that reason did not get them into. Stop defending and explaining. Last year, someone tried to get me on a different path than what I knew was authentic for me. I tried to explain what I was doing and the reasons behind it. I explained and explained. I defended and defended. By the end of this hour long conversation, I was emotionally overwrought. I was ready to give up, give out, and give in. I had to call a close friend and confidant who prayed for me. The next day I realize a powerful truth. Explaining and defending will get you nowhere with some people. After that, I was done, I was free! Remember this, even Jesus told his disciples that if they entered a town, and were not received, they should shake the dust of the town of their feet, and leave! Sometimes, you have to metaphorically shake off peoples dust and leave.
8. You need mental toughness and grit: Continuing on from point number seven- In anything that you want to do in life, you will meet some type of resistance, internal and external. You need to brace yourself and decide that no one is going to send you running home with your tail between your legs. One of the ways to develop mental toughness is to remember your “whys”. Why are you doing what you are doing anyway? When you remember your “whys”, embody them. Let them become part and parcel of who you are. Stay true to your convictions. Don’t let everyone and anyone knock you off the course with negativity. Don’t let anyone and everyone have access to your emotions. A lot of people act from a place of their own dysfunction and bias. Truth be told, haters are unhappy people. Who wants their lives to be ruled by unhappy people? Not me. Do not give negativity the satisfaction of winning.
In conclusion, what are some of the ways that you handle negative and critical people?
Do you need mental toughness, emotional tools, and skills to handle haters? Do you need balance in your life?