How to Handle Haters

By Alana HuxtableOctober 16, 2021

Haters, critics and naysayers. Anyone who is doing anything worthwhile in their life has them and must learn to stay motivated for life, despite the criticism, discouragement and negativity. Here I share my secrets for handling haters.

1. Make Criticism your Fuel, Not Your Kryptonite.

It’s all about how you perceive it. If someone says you aren’t smart enough, tell yourself that you’re going to prove them wrong. Or you could go up another level of growth, which is to not care less what they think (truly). I couldn’t give a toss! Remember that negative feedback can either be the anchor you drag through the desert or the wind behind your sail.

They don’t make statues of the critics. They make statues of the good people, the hardworkers, the heroes, the dreamers, the ones who take chances, and the ones who are selfless and help others. Think about it. The revolutionaries who made an impact, changed the rules, ended wars, and fought for freedom were the “crazy ones.” They had to listen to naysayers and absorb the criticism — and they let that be their fuel, not their kryptonite. For you in every day life, remember that in your social networks, your community, your families and your workplaces. It will help you!

2. Take it as a Compliment.

You're going to inspire envy and criticism if you’re good at something, or if you shine brighter or are happier than others. That’s just par for the course. Criticism is the best proof that you're a winner in life. I learned early on that the more people bad mouth you, the more jealous they are - plain and simple. If only they knew that is the message or signal they're sending out when they behave like that. It's an embarrassing look for those who care what others think of them.

3. Understand There are REASONS People are Negative & Toxic that Don't Involve you.

Just like the famous Olympic Bronze Medallist, Julie McDonald OAM stated in our recent chat: what someone says reflects how they feel and when it's hateful, rude or dishonest, is their own toxic “stuff going on, not yours”. If someone offends you (which might be hard for you), your first response should be to ask yourself “What’s this person going through? Why do they need to say something like that to feel better?” Remember, winners don’t go around telling people they’re losers. Winners don’t go around pulling people down or inflicting negativity on you. Only losers do that. Realise it and get over it. The second you take negative comments personally, you’re losing.

4. Remember that Winners Don’t NEED to Put Others Down.

Happy, successful people don’t waste time saying negative things about others. Why would they?

I sympathise whenever I see negative comments about me on social media, because I know those people are suffering and in pain. It's also because they haven't much to do in their own lives, which is also sad. You might try forgiving them or feeling some sympathy. Give them a smile as they probably need it. In time, this breaks down many barriers. Even if it doesn’t, the effect on you will be resounding and shows the extent of your power, while highlighting the lack of power they have over you.

5. Kill Them with Kindness.

Worrying or retaliating against your haters makes you bitter. It’s easy to be resentful and feel justified — but why let these negative emotions play with your emotional and physical health? Are those people really worth it? Of course not. Haters aren't scary. They're actually the most fearful people around. They 'hate' because they’re not happy with their own choices, their own journeys, their own lives. At any point they can take steps to change their life for the better, but they never do for many reasons. It could be fear, concern, reluctance for any change (even if it's positive change) or the belief that they can’t change that keeps them hamstrung. So instead of making any improvements in their own world, they take aim at those who do, projecting their simmering frustration, pain and discontent on you instead. How can you feel resentful of people like that? I don't. I feel sorry for them (momentarily) but steer clear all the same. I'm not interested in another person's self induced drama buffet!

While some people become jealous of your happiness or winning outlook on life, and wish you ill will, others will look to you as an inspiration. It’s even been my experience that people have crossed over from the self-destructive state of jealousy, to the more healthy realm of allowing themselves to be inspired to do better. Life is always moving and changing, so it’s always your responsibility to stay strong. Never let haters bring you down but rather be a shining light and live large so others can see it’s possible. Show the haters that they don’t have to stay stuck in their own misery and be a pain to those around them. Show them they can be and do more. And then... it's up to them which side of life they want to live in. 

6. Don’t React. Be Grateful.

Know that what you feed grows, and what you starve dies. Respond intelligently to your haters to shut them down, though don’t ‘react’ to them with emotional immaturity and reduce yourself to their level because that only feeds them and drags you down into their toxic playground every time.  Realise their words are more about something unresolved within them than you. Oh how's this for a flip: “Look, I have to break this to you gently, but it’s you, not me.”

Third, be grateful. Hate, love, critique and praise are all acknowledgment. You're not being ignored or unseen. If you are getting hate even though you’re doing something good, then good job! You've made it to the next level. 

7. Don’t be a People Pleaser.

Some people are imprisoned by their natural desire to please everyone with their personal and professional choices.

I have to tell you something really important here: no matter what you do, people will always criticise your actions just because you’re living and breathing. The quicker you can ‘get that’, the better you’ll be. If everyone is happy with what you do, it probably means they’ve got a good hold on you one way or another, as you are fitting in with their expectations on where they want you to be in relation to the 'pecking order' that they use to pigeon-hole those close to them.

Embrace and enjoy the criticism. Yes! ENJOY it. Uncomfortable moments are usually a sign that you’re on a good path so be thankful for the compliment! If someone criticises your choices but you know you’re being true to your personal mission and values, then what’s there to be offended about? Do you really care what someone else says, or do you care about what you know about yourself as a person? Smile because you’re doing the right thing.

8. Ask Yourself Whether You Can Learn Something.

“Haters” often communicate as a cry for help. Damaged people try to damage people. When they try to tear others down, they reveal more about their true character than their victim’s character. An attack on others only exposes their thought process, insecurities, suppressed emotions, and how they judge people. Even though you’re not the person at fault, but are on the receiving end of hate, there is always something you can learn when it comes to dealing with haters. I am strong and dismissive when it comes to haters, because I don’t care about what they do or think. I’m immune to them. If I take extra lengths to shut them down or condemn their behaviour, there's usually other more important reasons why I do so, which don't have anything to do with me or how I feel. When I see people throwing grenades back at haters by way of emotional immaturity and abuse, I cringe because all they’re succeeding at, is lowering themselves to the haters’ standards. Who’d ever want to be like them?! Remember that!

9. Stick to Your Convictions.

History is filled with examples of spirited people who were once met with resistance. Think of Nelson Mandela, who fought the good fight but was imprisoned, then decades later became President of South Africa! When I think of my beloved Port Adelaide Football Club – the most successful football club in Australia, which I'm an ambassador for - I remember how it was met with so much hate and contempt for being progressive and making a bid to join the Australian Football League (national competition) in 1990. Even though this was incredibly positive for the state, its economy, and South Australian football, the rest of South Australia was up in arms. Headlines read “Crisis as Port Makes AFL Bid”. When you begin to make change or ‘disturb’ anything, even when it is positive and well intended, dissenters will gather. This club stayed strong and stuck by its task of making the AFL bid, despite the furore, hate and senseless resistance and is now one of the best in the national league. People are naturally sceptical of change and hate accepting things they don’t understand. Don’t let that sway you!

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