Or dealing with your critics, trolls, enemies etc.
Recently I wrote an article which went viral on a local website I freelance for. It’s about me and my girlfriend. It got thousands for shares and yep, a slew of different reactions. I happen to know it was shared in several different forums too.
Of course, there were haters. I know only because a friend told me about it. I always ignore the critics and unfounded comments.
But I’m glad it all happened. It made me go deep and research on how to deal with haters and I was surprised how much this topic touched on human behavior and psychology.
It goes beyond simple ignorance and “haters, gonna hate”, as the internet saying goes.
1) It’s not be hated or loved. It’s be judged or ignored.
Credit goes to Seth Godin for this brilliant insight.
“You’ll be judged. Or you’ll be ignored.” And those are pretty much the only two choices there is.
The former doesn’t feel good of course. It’s uncomfortable, hurtful and even plain weird, especially when it has to do with other people.
But this is something you have to accept if you want to be remarkable; to stand out. You can’t ever achieve any of these if you’re playing it safe all the time. That’s the way to get ignored.
So when you’re dealing with your haters, don’t take it too hard as if people are out to dish out pain and suffering on you. They’re only judging you.
That’s better than being ignored as that’d mean who you are and what you’re doing isn’t worth a damn.
2) Stop putting a piece of yourself in what you do
And credit goes to Tucker Max for this one.
When asked why people tend to obsess over a bad review of a book over a high number of good ones, he said:
“If you are doing that, you need to ask yourself ‘why does the positive not matter and the negative does?’ You are attaching your identity to the book, so you see an attack on the book as an attack on yourself. The question that needs to come is ‘what is missing from my life that I have to attach my identity to this piece of art I produce?’”
So indeed, all too often we tend to take things so seriously that we subconsciously attach a part of ourselves in what we do. When haters hate on it, we take it as ourselves, our identities being attacked.
I can’t say I’m an expert on this psychological aspect, but I think it boils down to improving many different areas in our lives.
It’s not just about distraction. It’s about focusing our energy on other things that actually mean something to us, so much so it drowns out the negative. For a simple example, perhaps you finally won first place in a competition of your favorite sport. You can bring that confidence to work and tell yourself, “Boss is picking on my work? Whatever. I just won first place. Nothing is going to take that away from me.”
3) Hate and anger are mere manifestations of fear
Credit goes to James Altucher for this insight.
Behind every piece of hateful and angry energy is fear. People attack others because they’re crying for help.
When somebody calls you ugly, they probably have a fear of being judged on their physical appearance. When somebody calls you a waste of time, they probably know they’re growing up too fast and aren’t doing what they really want.
When somebody is hating, they’re definitely angry and having a bad day.
So don’t ever take it personally. It’s never about you. What your haters say or do is a reflection of their own lives.
4) Out of sight, out of mind
Unbeknownst to what I can probably think is a lot of my haters, I’m actually no longer on Facebook. I quit months ago.
While all the hating was happening, I was busy doing whatever it is I want in exactly the way I want. Effectively, every reaction had zero effect on me.
Now, I’m sure most people would say something like, “But Alden. The hating is still going on. Just because you aren’t there doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
That’s true. But that’s not the point.
The point is I’ve created time and space for myself to do the things I want, hence creating the self-confidence I need so I don’t attach myself to my writing and start taking things so personally.
It’s not about whether it exists or not. It is always there. The hate will never disappear (because we’re all judgmental).
But see how I only allow what counts to really count in my life?
You can’t reason with hate, hence fear. They’re feelings that need to fester on their own.
You on the other hand, should just focus on your own life. You can’t improve if you keep looking on from or at the dark side.
Please share this if you ever had problems dealing with haters!
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Alden Tan keeps it real at his blog and writes about motivation in unconventional ways. His two main passions are Bboying and writing. Check out his free report, 12 Things Happy People Don’t Give a F**k About!