Have you ever held yourself back because you were worried about what other people will think?
Maybe you stopped yourself from posting that message online, didn’t share what was really on your mind or you missed out on that amazing opportunity, because you hesitated.
Not wanting to deal with haters, critics and naysayers.
Well I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news - if you want to do anything meaningful with your life, dealing with haters and people’s judgement comes with the territory.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for criticism and feedback - after all, it’s vital for progress and improvement.
However there’s a difference between constructive feedback and those who like to spout negativity, simply to put people down aka haters.
Unfortunately, the more successful you are, the more people you will be in front of, and the more haters you’ll have - statistically speaking you simply can’t please everyone.
As Elbert Hubbard once said, “To Avoid Criticism, Say Nothing, Do Nothing, Be Nothing”.
Personally, I’ve experienced this countless times before - “that’s a dumb thing to say”, “that presentation was terrible”. In fact, sometimes I’m not even doing anything, not on stage and still copping it “you have cellulite”, “hey flat chest” - lovely.
But don’t worry - I said there was good news.
The good news is, even though these things were painful at the time - I’ve learnt that the quickest pathway to success is learning how to overcome obstacles. You can’t build strength without experiencing any pain.
Rather than living in the shadows, playing it small - let’s step out together and charge towards greatness. So here’s how to deal with all those people who’ve drank too much haterade...
Whenever you experience criticism or judgement, and you’re affected by it, ask yourself - “What’s useful in this person’s sharing, if anything?”.
If they are sharing something that could be useful - constructive feedback, take that on and ignore the rest. If nothing is useful and it’s pure hate nonsense garbage, it’s a great opportunity to learn about yourself.
Ask yourself - “What is this situation asking me to be more aware of?”.
Maybe it’s allowing you to build your capacity to let go of criticism? Giving you an opportunity to have a difficult conversation with someone? An opportunity to challenge those people-pleasing tendencies? Or maybe it’s to simply set better boundaries with those around you (block/delete anyone?).
This one makes sense in theory, but often can be a little hard to apply. I know because it took me awhile too. Until I realised this, opinions are purely based on THAT person’s background, beliefs, values, ideas.
Just like how one person can think a movie is the most amazing masterpiece in the world, and another can think it’s absolute rubbish.
Who was right? No one.
The same goes with judgements.
The truth is judgements only hurt if we believe it might be true. So instead, like in the point above. Use it as a learning opportunity. What do we believe about ourselves here, that we want to change or let go of?
Maybe it’s the idea that we think our work wasn’t good enough? Or that we deserved those harsh comments?
Review, learn and move on.
More often than not, haters just want attention. When they leave a negative comment or spout some judgemental rant - if we reply and engage - it just gives them attention and eggs them on. Engaging with them is like adding fuel to a fire. In fact I’ve learned this first-hand the hard way. When I responded to haters, I ended up in an online battle and 5 hours later in a blaze of tears (pun intended).
Lucky I learnt my lesson quickly, and since then I’ve simply ignored it and that was that. No response from me, no further comments from them. Quickly forgotten and moved on.
One of the most successful Formula One race car drivers in the world, Mario Andretti once shared in an interview, his number one tip for success in driving. He said, “Don’t look at the wall. Your car goes where your eyes go.”.
As a new driver, this is one of the most crucial lessons that they learn. When you’re driving at high speeds, you need to focus on the road in front of you. Where you look - automatically steers the car that way - and if you’re looking at the wall, you’ll end up hitting it!
The same could be said when dealing with judgements and criticisms.
When we receive it, we often have the urge to focus a lot of time and energy towards it. Thinking about how angry we are, how we should respond, what we should do about it. We might even be tempted to complain and rant to other people.
The problem with all of this is that this causes us to focus on it - looking at the criticism - the wall, which sends us straight towards it. And so this leads us far astray from the pathway of our actual goals.
However, using the points above, if we take what we need to learn from it and then move on. Aka rather than looking at the wall, we focus on the road - our goals and moving forward. We can drive by these barriers and roadblocks, and speed towards success.
Haters and critics are not only a common fact of life, they are what some would say a rite of passage - especially for those who are doing anything meaningful with their life.
To truly avoid judgements and criticisms would mean not showing yourself to the world. It would mean withholding your efforts, your gift and greatly dampen any chances of success.
Rather than avoiding them, we must learn to overcome them. Use each experience as fuel and encouragement to charge towards success.
After all, as Nelson Mandela once said “You playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great?”
How have you dealt with haters before? Let us know in the comments below.
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