Let’s discuss my favorite group of people: haters. You heard me right. I love haters. So much so, that I advise people to celebrate with a glass of champagne when they acquire their very first hater. And before you leave thinking I’m crazy, allow me to give you my reasons why I embrace the hate so much.
First, you have struck someone’s nerve enough to have a passionate opinion on what you just created. Congratulations! You have just awoken the mindless Internet surfer and made him or her engage. That’s reason enough to celebrate. Most bloggers hear crickets. You caught yourself a real live troll!
Now, don’t take what they said personally. Do you think Beyonce cared one iota about her recent Super Bowl performance with her song “Formation”? A huge conversation erupted in America over racism in America, and a large portion of that conversation was hateful and violent, to say the least.
Beyonce wasn’t on social media defending her performance. She was immediately off to creating her next performance. She already said everything she needed to say about her haters at the end of the song:
“You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation. Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.”
Whether you agree or disagree with her stance, she fulfilled the role of the artist: to spark a conversation and change perceptions with her creations. It’s what we deep down want to achieve with our work as well.
Beyonce has tons of rabid haters and loyal followers. But that didn’t happen overnight. She put in intense hours over decades to get where she is at today. We can expect to be required to do the same.
You will have people that simply don’t like you. That’s okay. There’s at least one person on this planet that desperately needs what you have to say. You would be doing that person a great disservice by allowing haters to get in your way. Don’t let your fans down.
While it isn’t a good idea to publicly interact with your hater, you can objectively take a look at the criticism and see if there is anything constructive in there. Is the criticism coming from a place of good intent or just being hateful? Does the critic make any suggestions on how you can improve your form to create better work? Take what is useful and ignore the rest.
For example: A review that says your book was horribly written and contains numerous typos contains constructive criticism. You need to better word what you say and fix the typos. A review that calls the author an idiot is not constructive and needs to be ignored. It’s not always this cut-and-dry, but you’ll be able to better get a grip on what readers are saying and how to respond appropriately over time.
The worst kind of negativity that you will encounter will come from your family and friends. Typical bombardments will involve constant criticism about your choice of profession (When are you going to get a real job?), constant distractions and demands on your time (After all, you’re just sitting around playing on the computer all day), and so on.
The negative feedback may not always be as obvious as outright hateful statements. You are going to make people around you uncomfortable simply because you choose to buck the status quo and follow your personal passions. Though they may never say it themselves, you have created a situation that has forced them to look at what they have accomplished in their own lives. They were afraid to jump out of their comfort zones, and subconsciously they resent the fact that you are making that point obvious. Their reactions are a defense mechanism that you will have to learn not to take personally.
Once you do achieve some success, those same individuals may even turn around and pretend like they have been there supporting you all along and expect handouts simply because they know or are related to you. If you attempt to teach them how to do the work for themselves, you may see an amazing amount of resistance. They have it in their minds that they can ride your coattails instead.
This is an uncomfortable place to be in as it puts you in a position to look like the villain if you don’t respond positively to their requests.
As a good person, naturally you will want to give in to their demands. But don’t fall into this codependent trap. Each person is the author in his/her own life. To get the rewards, you must do the work.
Ultimately, you are responsible for your own life. It’s up to you to achieve your hopes and dreams. It doesn’t matter what others think. Let the critics sip their haterade. Break out the bubbly and celebrate your willingness to break through the ordinary. And stay thirsty for more!