*Another post from my upcoming book “Less Talk, More Action! Lessons Learned from My Awesome – Yet Imperfect – Life” – I hope you enjoy it! David
“Haters don’t really hate you, they hate themselves; because you’re a reflection of what they wish to be” ~ Yaira N
Ah, the Haters of life… I love these guys, and you know why?
Because Haters don’t realize that life is a mirror, which means they also don’t realize that all the cruel and nasty venom and judgment they spew is actually a direct reflection of how they truly feel about themselves. It’s true!
Most non-Haters totally understand this, and can often be found shaking their heads in disbelief at the complete silliness of such juvenile behavior. But back to the Haters…
Haters are pretty much the same as bullies, but with one notable exception: Bullies often include physical torment as part of their process, whereas Haters don’t – not at all.
(Note: Bullies don’t always use physical intimidation, but they WILL show up in person.)
Haters are insecure cowards; and the very thought of facing the people they abuse terrifies the living shit out of them! In fact, card-carrying Haters will only launch attacks on those they are slagging from far off and safe distances, both literally and figuratively.
Instead of actually showing up, Haters spread their negativity by gossiping with like-minded Hater friends, (who in turn keep the hate-virus going) and by posting nasty things about people online, usually anonymously.
Being cowards, Haters are terrified of people discovering they are the ones responsible for spreading mean-spirited shit around in the first place, so they always operate from the shadows.
But why is this? What could Haters possibly get out of the constant nay-saying, belittling and judging of other people, many of whom they’ve never even met in person? What’s in it for them that they feel the need to do this? No big surprise, I have a few thoughts…
Whether it’s in person or online, I believe Haters (and less toxic “critics”) do this for one simple reason: They are either (a) jealous of, or (b) intimidated by the achievements or ambitions of the folks – many whom they’ve never met – they are judging and criticizing.
Rather than be happy for people’s achievements or congratulate them on their brave and tenacious actions, instead Haters will slag them and their efforts, because in fact the very idea of doing these things scares the bejesus out of both Haters and critics alike.
It’s true: Actually attempting to do something or be something of value would require the (a) courage, (b) self-confidence and (c) willingness to fail, or possibly look a bit foolish along the way – three things that are like Kryptonite to Haters (and critics).
And so rather than trying to grow and become bigger, better people through hard work, effort and achievement, instead Haters (and critics) publically criticize anyone and everyone who actually tackle their fears, take on new challenges, try something new, or who take risks to become more, and do more with their lives. They are all anti-heroes!
Understanding this, remind me again why the hell it is that I love Haters and critics?
For as long as I can remember, the negativity that Haters (and critics) throw my way has driven me even harder to succeed. In other words, anytime somebody tells me I can’t do something, I work extra hard to achieve my goal just to prove them wrong.
And while my critics haven’t usually been as mean-spirited as the Haters (actually critics are often well-intentioned) their words and comments and negativity regarding my abilities have always driven me in the exact same way – beginning with my parents.
1976: As a (distracted) sixteen year old student, I remember believing if I was to ever achieve anything of value I’d need to work extra hard outside of school, so I took a weekend job washing dishes at a local restaurant. While all my friends were getting drunk at parties, I’d be in the dish pit working my ass off, scrubbing dirty pots and pans.
I was a hard worker (still am), something my restaurant bosses showed appreciation for by piling on more shifts, usually on school nights. Hmm… no wonder my studies suffered… But more shifts meant more money, so I happily accepted them.
Alongside of my ambition, drive and work ethic, my bank account also grew. I saved and saved up all my newfound wealth – except those times I didn’t, acquiring a few spoils and trinkets so my high school peers knew just how flush this working dude really was…
I’d buy restaurant meals, nice clothes and leather jackets; because having two was way cooler especially when my friends had none. As I got older my interests changed, as did my purchases, which soon included expensive toys, cool experiences and world travel.
Now, not everyone liked my lavish – yet self-funded – lifestyle; not at all. It became a source of constant criticism from my parents who never missed an opportunity to tell me I was irresponsible with my money, I didn’t understand it’s value, and to grow up and get serious about life – Ouch! Fortunately, I wasn’t a very good listener.
Now I love my parents very much: but looking back I now understand that their lack of faith in my lifestyle wasn’t in me, but rather in themselves. There’s that mirror again.
Being from a different generation, Mom and Dad couldn’t see the world through my lens, nor me theirs, which sadly was quite narrow. As a Navel officer, Dad’s job dictated everything from where he would work, what he could (and couldn’t) do, where we’d live, etc. When one joins the military, personal choices soon become a thing of the past.
And since many of big life decisions were made for them, my parents had little opportunity to experience the huge rewards associated with making decisions and taking risks, including many of the simple ones associated with daily life. I clearly remember them fearing possible the repercussions that making “bad” choices might bring not just for themselves; but – as parents – also for their children.
But despite being spawned from a risk-aversive gene pool, I somehow wound up with both an entrepreneurial mindset and a D.N.A. strand that screamed “Why NOT me?!” that manifested by my taking risks whenever possible. This drove my parents crazy!
Between their archaic views and the constant reminders that I “lived under their roof” my parents often criticized my methods; but as also mentioned, I didn’t listen too well, and just kept doing what I did, turning a deaf ear to their comments.
Many years later, and not long after my dad died, I was sitting with my mother at her wee home in the country. We were having a beer and reflecting on life, talking about (amongst other things) the businesses I’ve owned, my successful hotel career, the many countries I’ve explored and my wonderful son, when my mom suddenly said, “I don’t know where you got your ambition from, but your father and I are very proud of you”.
After years of seeing me as reckless, upon reflection my parents came to see that there was another way to live; and as I noted to my mom that day, their stubbornness to see this earlier in life actually drove me to work hard to become the man I am today.
So on that day the evidence was clear: My parent’s criticism always came from a place of love and concern for their child. I mention this because critics often criticize out of these places, which is what makes them an entirely different kettle of fish than Haters, who are just mean spirited assholes.
Haters hate for one reason only: As a way to make their insecure selves feel better by trashing other people’s achievements and accomplishments. Here’s a prime example:
A few years ago Paula and I had some friends who’d routinely invite a small gaggle of people for BBQs and dinners, a group which included a friend of theirs who – to be blunt – was nothing but a drunken, insecure, small-minded, homophobic redneck who hated on everything and everyone who didn’t fit into his narrow stereotype.
Despite the vast abyss between our experiences, interests and lifestyles, I always tried to be cordial with this guy; but being a atypical Hater, with every word I’d say to him his distain for me grew. One night at the dinner table, he silently decided he’d had enough.
Without warning, this guy bolted up from the dinner table and – without any further explanation – screamed to his girlfriend “We’re leaving right now!” Then, after blurting a hurried “I’m sorry” to the bewildered hosts they fled the scene, and disappeared into the darkness of the night. With puzzled looks on our faces, those of us who remained resumed dinner wondering what the fuck just happened?
After several months (and consistent prodding from me) our host finally explained. It turns out Mr. Redneck called them the following day and ranted about how much he hated me, couldn’t stand listening to my “bullshit” any longer and refused to be in the same room with me ever again – all his words – Come again?
Apparently my lifestyle – including my work, travel and hobbies was offensive to him, and he was fed up with me always “bragging about it”; also his words. My host was almost apologetic as he added that this guy had been saying these things ever since we’d met a few years earlier – so in essence this had been going on for sometime…
So to be clear: Because I don’t share his insecurities and self-imposed redneck views on life, this jerk finds ME offensive? Wow. This guy is both a card carrying Hater AND “Class A” asshole!
Needless to say, we never saw this dickhead again; but more interesting is that after this incident the connection with our hosts became uncomfortable and strained; and to no-ones surprise, we chose to cut ties with them.
Personally I was offended that for years our hosts pacified – even rewarded – this vulgar behaviour, and didn’t stick up for us. They never had our backs, and as far as I was concerned this is just as bad as if they spewed the hate themselves. And so as the old saying goes, “With friends like this, who needs enemies?” Actually since this came to light I wondered if they were ever really our friends?
I think they started out as such; but as we continually grew and achieved lofty goals in both our careers and lives they definitely felt more relatable and comfortable with Mr. Hater. This is too bad, because they are actually pretty nice (and accomplished) people when he wasn’t around.
Having said that, my gut tells me that when someone surrounds themselves with people they know can’t (or won’t) keep up their lifestyle, it smacks of the same sense of superiority that Haters try to achieve by – well – hating. Strange bedfellows indeed…
Oh well, one thing is for sure: I’ll keep using all of their hate and insecurities and negativity that comes my way as fuel to achieve even bigger and better things in my own life, and you know why?
Firstly, because as the 17th century English poet George Herbert noted, “Living well is the best revenge”…
And secondly? Because I can – and so can you.
And that’s how to deal with the haters and critics; live life on your terms, be happy and let their negativity and naysaying be jet fuel – not an anchor – to your amazing life.