Dealing With Haters

I know you’re awesome and amazing. So am I! Problem is, not everyone sees it that way.

Or so we think.

But maybe we’re wrong.

On the other hand, there are those out there that we love. Sort of. Well, they’re terrific in some ways, but if only….

In other words, we often have ambivalence about our relationships. In addition, an element of uncertainty and subjectivity is ever-present in our interpretation of our and others’ feelings and intentions. There’s always that yin to the yang, our like/dislike, our love/hate, our approval/disapproval.

Thus, when it comes to haters (and lovers, for that matter), circumstances are rarely black/white. First, you may think they hate you, but unless you talk to them, you just don’t know for sure. It’s possible you’re misinterpreting their words or actions. For example, they might be complaining about you or what you do, but they may just be a grouchy, negative person in general, or they may think you’re fundamentally OK but need a change in behavior or attitude around a certain subject. Think about all the people you know and love or respect, and whether there are certain behaviors or attitudes that you’d like to change. Likewise, you could be that person for your hater wherein they may not be handling their frustration constructively.

Second, your belief that they hate you may be fueling what might be an otherwise benign dynamic. You may be reacting to perceived judgment with your own hard energy, aggression, martyrdom, or need to control. They are not going to respond positively to your negativity, which further reinforces your perception of their dislike. And so on. How would the dynamic shift if you reached out with compassion and empathy and/or solid boundaries?

Third, it may be that your hater is actively trying to get you fired, break up your relationship or has told you directly that they think you’re pond scum. Just because they feel that way, doesn’t make it true. It also doesn’t make it false. In other words, explore whether there’s a grain of truth to their criticism, but know that the intensity of their reaction says more about them than it does about you. How can you look past the delivery to the wisdom within the message?  Why are they taking such a destructive approach to the situation? Likely, they are not coping well with their frustration.

Likewise, your own reaction says more about you than it does about them. Do you retaliate and go on the offensive, get depressed, quit or break-up, bury your head in the sand, or do you rise above and take the high road? If your hater brings out the worst in you, then you’ve just – to some degree – validated their complaints. If the hater brings out the best in you, then you’ve risen above the pettiness and shown yourself and others the quality person that you are.

The latter is easier said than done. I know. But this is your growth opportunity, isn’t it? While you’re calm, determine your strategy for dealing with a hater. Ask yourself: What is the best possible outcome for this? How would your role model or best self react to this situation? Your main hurdle is your own feelings about the situation. They’re not easy to manage, but managing them is easier than getting someone else to do the same, right?

Happy Birthday America!

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