‘Cause the players gonna play…And the haters gonna hate…Baby, I’m just gonna shake it off. — Taylor Swift
Man that guy is a jerk! I can’t believe how he talked to me about my work. I wish I’d had a snappy comeback to put him in his place. He got me so upset I’m still mad about it. I wish I could just let it go, but it’s eating me up inside.
Have you ever felt like that? I have more times than I care to admit. Since the dawn of time a few things have been true: The sun will rise in the east, your bread will land butter side down, and haters gonna hate.
We’ve all been there. It’s part of life. But how we react to these situations is up to us.
My daughter Summer came home from school the other day upset. I asked her what happened and she went into a long story about how a girl at school was mean to her, said some awful things, and was generally annoying. After I empathized with her, I started to ask her some questions.
Do you like this girl?
Do you care what she thinks about you?
No. Not really.
When did this happen?
Do you want to be upset all day long?
Summer, this happened in the morning and got you upset. It’s now 4:40 in the afternoon and your still letting it upset you.
Do you want to let this person you don’t even like – or care what she thinks of you – ruin your entire day?
Do you want to give her that power over you?
I love reframing the haters this way. Haters don’t have the power to do anything to us – unless we give them that power over us.
(Remember, we’re talking about haters who just want to tear us down, not people who are giving us construtive criticism. We should all be willing to listen to people we respect and make changes to get better at what we do.)
The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had no impact on you. – Tim Ferris
OK, Greg, I’m with you. I don’t want to let this jerk control me, but how do I let it go?
Great question, mi amigo, I love where your heads at. Here’s the plan:
- Realize that you are in control of how you react to the hate. You get to decide if you’re going to continue to be angry, sad, hurt, or whatever because of what happened earlier. He can’t make you feel bad unless you let him.
- Understand the fact you have a hater means you are probably doing something right and/or significant. People who are just muddling along in mediocrity don’t usually have haters. Use that as fuel to focus on your important work and to remind yourself that you are not going to let anyone stop you from reaching your goals. Quite often haters are jealous of what you’re doing. Or, your success makes them feel bad about themselves, so they try to drag you down in the hopes this will make them feel better. Sometimes it’s even a subconscious thing for the hater.
- Decide if you care what he thinks of you. (If it’s a stranger, or someone you don’t care about, it’s a lot easier to let it go.)
- Decide if there is any validity to the criticism of you or your work. Every once in a while a hater is on to something.
- Decide what role you played in the conflict and if there was anything you could have done differently. Sometimes you’re actually in the wrong. (I’m sure that’s rare, though, right? Ha!)
- Write down your thoughts and feelings about the situation. Sometimes it helps to write the person an email telling him exactly how you feel. DON’T SEND IT. This is just to get your feelings down so you can let it go and think about something else.
- Review some of the successes you’ve had in similar situations. How many times have you achieved things haters told you that you could never do? Think about all the people who praise you for what you do. Take a minute to be grateful for at least 3 things that are going well today. Write those down. (Trust me, that really helps.)
- Tell yourself you are not going to give the hater the power to ruin one more second of your day. Actively decide to let it go. If thoughts about the conflict come up again, simply acknowledge them and let them flow right out of your head.
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