Know this. If you have a dream, if you long for “something more” in your life, then…Expect haters. Watch for doubters and nay-sayers, too.
Not everyone is going to support you growing and changing. Some might even be quite vocal about it.
Critics and Haters Aren’t the Same
Just because someone disagrees with you or questions what you’re doing, does not automatically make them the enemy, or a hater.
Criticism, even harsh ones, can teach you about yourself and how to be better. These people aren’t afraid to dialogue with you to explain: either in person, over the phone, through a letter, via email or on social media.
These are difficult conversations, to be sure, but they’re doable. However, I’m not talking about them.
I’m talking about nasty, vicious trolls. People who thrive on tearing you down. Often, in public. Especially, on the internet. It seems like the bigger you become, the more haters you’ll encounter.
I’m not famous by any means, but apparently I’m big enough for a We Hate Marcy fan club.
They Hate Us ‘Cause They Ain’t Us
Here’s a comment from a hater on a guest post I wrote back in 2015 on a HUGE writing blog with over 250,000 readers. My article was about what I learned from reading Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Studios. At the time, I also had a free eBook on my website called Writing Naked about the vulnerability you feel during the creative process.
Hater to me: “I think it’s disrespectful to heavily quote Ed Catmull in an article with so little original content. Why even bother putting your name on it, McKay? Why bother putting your name on anything? Writing Naked sits on my hard drive only as proof that even on my worst day, I will never publish anything as awful as that. You’re not an asset or resource to writers, McKay. You’re something we should all aspire not to be.”
Me to Hater: “Thanks for your opinion.”
Nice Guy to Hater: “I think it’s disrespectful to comment on an article meant to encourage writers for no other purpose than to flame the author. You are not an asset or resource to writers. You are something we should all aspire not to be.”
I was fortunate that the blog owner didn’t like drama, so he deleted the comment and sent a stern email to the hater about his behavior. My writing group congratulated me since I was apparently growing my audience and making a difference to others.
Except it didn’t feel like a compliment. I felt attacked, shamed and worthless.
The Gift of Time
In 2015, that comment sent me into a serious tailspin. However, I rallied and Pennies from Burger Heaven was published later that same year. Today, my novel has over 250 Amazon reviews, with an overall 4.6 rating. I have readers tell me my story changed their life. It’s incredible.
When I reread that hater’s comment today, I thought HUH. NO BIG DEAL.
GROWTH! I don’t remember his name. The sting has long since faded. I actually feel sorry for that man because he’s obviously not a happy person, but I don’t dwell on him anymore.
Don’t Tie Your Self-Worth into Others
Don’t misunderstand me, 1-star reviews still hurt my feelings. However, they no longer define me. You cannot validate yourself by the response of others — positive or negative. Otherwise, you’ll constantly yo-yo back and forth between the two:
They love you – you’re great!
They hate you – you suck!
The Only Way to Rise Above Haters
My situation was extreme because it happened in a public forum, though it can be even more painful when it’s in private from a friend or family member. The closer the person is to you, the more their doubt hurts.
What helped me to move beyond that hater was to return to my WHY.
WHY do I write?
I write because I have to. I love words. Fiction and nonfiction fill my heart and soul with joy. I need writing like I need oxygen.
What’s your WHY?
WHY are you pursuing your dream?
WHY do you want to start your own business? Go back to school? Write that book?
Your answer will help keep you focused and give you the drive needed to stay the course.
If you’re NOT pursuing your dreams, what’s stopping you? Hint – the answer is almost always fear. Acknowledge that you’re afraid, then do it anyway. Take baby steps to make it less terrifying.
Sadly, fear is not a one-time event. You’ll have to face it, over and over. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Believe in yourself and push forward. Even when it’s hard, or when you’re scared, and you want to give up.
Yes, you’ll have setbacks and even fail. No worries. That’s part of the process. Just begin again.
Do not let haters stop you. Don’t give them your power. Haters are creative vampires who suck the dreams from others because they’re too scared to even try.
How do you handle haters or doubters?
Please leave a comment. I’d love to chat.
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