“Girl, you’re public now. Even Mother Teresa had haters.”
This pearl of wisdom was imparted to me a few years ago by my very own mother while listening to another one of my pity parties. I had just read some negative reviews of my book on Amazon, and I was pissed. Said reviews were left by complete strangers, who knew nothing about me other than what they could gather from 140 or so pages. And yet they attacked me, personally. It wasn’t pretty.
Social media is a double-edged sword.
That’s the thing about the world we live in today. You can and will be judged by people, and those people now have tools like comment boxes and Twitter accounts where those judgments can actually be published for all the world to see. And even if you’re not writing books, speaking on stages, or promoting your business on social media, you most likely are sharing parts of yourself that leave you open to criticism. Whether it’s a recent promotion you got at work or a weight-loss success story, nothing is off limits these days, especially when you’re sharing those stories on platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Social media can be an incredible tool for connection, but it can also shred our self-esteem if we don’t keep a healthy perspective.
So how do we navigate the haters? How do we not just deal with them but rise above the nasty, hurtful opinions of others that always seem to go right for the jugular? Compassion.
Haters are hurt, plain and simple.
I know, I know. Not the most common approach to someone who has insulted your character, called you fat, or ripped apart your business. But here’s the thing: Hurt people hurt people. I learned that mantra years ago, and it truly transformed my life. Think about it—would a happy, confident, secure person take time out of his or her day to tear someone else apart? Would someone so madly in love with their own life feel the need to step all over yours? It just doesn’t make sense.
But here is one very important thing to note—it’s not an excuse for their behavior.
Having compassion for another soul doesn’t mean that person gets a free pass. It doesn’t justify their behavior or make it OK by any means. What it does do is open us up for a shift. It allows us to look past our ego and work from our higher self. It sheds light on the fact that there are all types of people in this world, and we’re all at a different point on our spiritual journey. The haters just aren’t there yet.
Here’s a powerful tool you can use when encountering haters.
Before responding, getting upset, or being reactive, ask yourself, “What would my higher self do right now?” Take a step back and allow yourself to work from a space of love and compassion. Try sending that person genuine love from your heart. If you’re anything like me, this won’t be easy. This takes practice. But it truly changes everything.
This is also an excellent time to step into your gratitude practice. Be thankful you’re not on the other end of things. Imagine how miserable it must be to hate someone else? When you feel yourself being attacked, try thinking of five things you’re grateful for. Transform your anger into gratitude. You’ll feel better, and research shows those who practice gratitude actually improve their physical health, too.
And finally, remember that emotions are contagious. If you allow another angry person to affect you, you’re only ruining your own day. Remain strong, rise above, and always come from a place of love. It will never lead you down the wrong path. That I know for sure.