A very wise, knowing, and noteworthy woman once said, “Haters’ gonna hate, hate, hate” (OK, so that would be the pop singer Taylor Swift in her hit song Shake it Off – but it still stands). While this song takes on jealousy and haters in a light-hearted way by suggesting we must “shake it off”, which is important in many respects as it keeps their miserable jealousy fueled issues in perspective for what they are (their own personal hang-ups and not your problem), I recognize that it is not always that easy to shake off haters and jealousy.
It can be human nature to take negative comments, actions or issues to heart, even when those might be honest, are delivered tactfully and are well intended for constructive purposes, let alone when it’s delivered with sinister intent due to some (or many) people’s green-eyed monster that lurks within them.
This can be the case irrespective of whether you know the person well. Everyone deals with haters and jealous people. Even Mother Theresa had criticism and hatred directed at her and look at the well-intended life she led. It doesn’t matter who you are or what positive influence you are trying to make in the world, haters will always exist.
WARNING: Nobody is exempt from jealousy and hatred from others. Unfortunately, and yes it is a pain in the butt, all of us are subject to its cruelty during life due to emotionally immature people who can’t take accountability for their own miserable lives or choices.
It can hurt even more to have a friend or family member who is jealous, because the actions and emotional expressions of a jealous person are not kind or loving. When it’s delivered by multiple people toward you, or even crowds of them, well that takes the cake and is one of the most horrendously challenging situations to ever deal with. However, irrespective of how many people are involved, and what those relationships to you are, you need to understand that their jealousy is caused by their own underlying issues, and it is not your fault. I promise.
With that said, here are my tips on how to deal with jealous and hateful people.
1. Recognize that Jealousy is Often Rooted in Feeling Inadequate
The person sees something in you or another person that makes them feel that they aren’t as good. It could be real or imagined, but the feelings of inadequacy are projected through negative thoughts or actions. Jealousy emerges as a reaction or solution to those feelings of inadequacy.
One example of this is that a woman might be jealous of her friend who makes more money, has a nice car and designer clothing. That friend also comes from a wealthy family, so she never feels like she can beat her, since that seems to be her desire.
Rather than being happy for her friend’s success and happiness, this woman feels that her income, car, and clothing are inadequate by comparison. She might feel like a failure in life because her success is not on the same scale as her friend and they graduated at the same time with the same degree and lived in the same neighborhood growing up.
Instead of identifying and internally dealing with these underlying feelings of inadequacy, the jealousy turns into little digs and insults when they are together. This is at the lighter end of the impact scale, so you most likely will notice it but can tolerate it. For example, the jealous friend makes comments such as “why would a person get a new car every two years when people are starving in the world” and “wow, that purse must have cost enough to feed a small village for a month”.
Those comments that are coming out of jealousy might make the jealous friend feel better or more powerful momentarily, but they don’t address the underlying feelings of inadequacy and emotional immaturity that accompany it, therefore the jealousy will continue and even intensify, until the problem is addressed.
Even if the jealous friend begins making more money, or gets a better car and clothing, she will find a new person to be jealous of or another issue with the existing friend to be jealous about, because the inadequacy is the driving force. She feels like she must compete with this one person who is so close in her life but she knows that’s nearly impossible. Jealousy is a powerful force.
You can’t change how they think and feel, however there are ways for you to handle a jealous person that can help disarm them or prevent you from being exposed to their jealous comments and actions. There is not a one size fits all solution to dealing with jealousy and hatred. Each situation is unique and needs to be handled accordingly.
2. Keep Your Distance
The closer you are to someone like this, the more the jealousy intensifies because they are only ever jealous of people who are in their ‘world’ or ‘environment’. You might notice they don’t give a second thought about celebrities or wealthy public figures who aren’t in their immediate environmental vicinity; in fact they might be a fan and are fine with their achievements, intelligence or wealth because they don’t draw comparisons or compete with them given they’re strangers and are in different worlds.
There is power in distance. If someone is saying something negative about you in their conversations with you, why keep making yourself so available to communicate? If their behavior persists, then don’t talk to them anymore. This means you don’t have to subject yourself to their comments.
With them being further away, they will find it hard to be so jealous and competitive because you become more distant physically and in their thoughts over time. It means that they inevitably turn their jealous comments and hatred toward someone else. This happens because jealousy never disappears… it only ever gets redirected because people like this rarely change.
You don’t have to tolerate bullies. Avoid them, distance yourself from them or even move far away if you have to. You’re not doing this out of malice or emotional immaturity, you’re doing it out of survival and to preserve your sanity in response to their refusal to address their own personal issues. It’s self-preservation: you don’t need to continue to subject yourself to someone else’s jealousy that is based on their own insecurities.
3. Take the Issue Head On
When you’re courageous, and really desire an end to the behavior but want to retain the relationship, you might be bold and raise the issue with the individual concerned. Don’t feel bad about it or worried as though you’re doing something wrong. Remember, if they’re game enough to inflict their jealousy and hate through their communication and body language on a regular basis, then they don’t care – plain and simple.
If they don’t care, why should you? The truth is that you cannot avoid the comments of a jealous individual. No matter how you try to disarm the person by changing the subject, it doesn’t stop them. In those situations, the best option is to talk with them about what is happening - calmly and rationally, with empathy and maturity.
Even though in the moment, they might hate your frankness in addressing it with them, if they are reasonable and value you and the relationship, they might change their behavior after they've had some time to think about it. Let me warn you though, that not everyone is reasonable. Some are just so consumed with green envy that nothing you say, try or do will make a scrap of difference.
Quite often people who are consumed with so much jealousy have already devalued their relationship with you anyway… some people just can’t live in a world with someone doing better or being better than them in any way. Even your frankness and maturity in taking the real issue to them can make people like this fume with contempt… and they would rather hate you than accommodate you. With people like this, unless you’re willing to be walked over, then that relationship is not yours to have. Accept that.
Taking on the issue of jealousy head on is especially important when it comes to family and close relationships. You want to improve those relationships, so let the person know that you are coming to them for that reason. But sadly, just because they're family or friends doesn’t mean those people will be any more reasonable.
It's black and white: they either value the relationship or they don’t. Quite often if there is a lot of jealous, senseless behavior that is taking place toward you, they really don’t value the relationship because they are willing to put it at risk to satisfy their own desires for power in compensating their feelings of inadequacy.
4. Remind Yourself That it’s Them and Not You
Take a step back and pause when you are getting treated unfairly because of someone’s jealousy. Remind yourself that it is not you who has the problem: it is them. Their jealousy and underlying issues are causing them to act this way.
This approach is known as empathy; it’s a handy trait to have when it comes to other people. It helps explain their behavior, and you can have compassion for them and their inner pain which means you carry less resentment and are unlikely to react in a hostile or reckless way. Having said that, you are under no expectation or duty to put up with it because nothing justifies their actions in taking it out on you.
By understanding what drives their behavior, it is possible not to take it so personally. I know - it is easier said than done. But with practice, it’s very possible to think and behave like this. It really does help you when you can understand what is motivating their behaviors, which then makes it easier to digest the circumstances. Being the bigger person is never easy, but with practice it does come more naturally.
5. Disarm Them With Positivity
Words carry power. Being a positive influence in the world, especially when it comes to a person who feels like they are less than you, is a powerful force. Help others to be better and do better by focusing on the positives, especially when negative comments are coming your way. If you are able to practice this method of disarming a jealous person it will become easier and more consistent over time.
Showing love and using positive words to encourage can be infectious, so spread it among many and your community and world will become a better place. You might or might not positively inspire the jealous person or people, but you are helping those who do want to be the best versions of themselves.
6. Ignore and Avoid
There is a small percentage of people that simply does not change no matter what tactic you use to disarm or disengage their jealous behaviors. These haters will hate on you because you are too good, then they will hate on you the next day because of your faults.
You can never do right by some people and sometimes there is no other choice but to limit or remove them from your life. You don’t need people who are continually trying to tear you down. Their own insecurities may be so deeply rooted that they are quite extreme, and only professional help will enable a change in their ways. Though this is unlikely to occur given that people like this often refuse to take accountability.
There is no rule in life that says you must be friends with every person you know or encounter. There are some mean people in this world who will always be dissatisfied by their own life and therefore insult and hate on others constantly. Don’t get sucked into their drama and insults. Avoid them, change suburbs, states, jobs or activities if the situation is severe enough that it affecting your mental wellbeing and attitude in life.
7. Keep Being You
Having haters is a sign that you are doing things right in life and are successful. People who are jealous of you know that you are doing well and they want that for themselves. Rather than investing their time in making their own lives better, they try to bring others down who they know are better than them. They look for faults in those people so they can justify their hateful jealousy.
It's a lazy approach to feeling 'powerful' - but it's not true power so always recognize that. You will never have favor with everyone you encounter. People will dislike you, especially when you remind them of their own shortfalls or failings. It's a part of the deal with being happy and successful. The happier and more successful you become the more you will find people will become jealous. This means that negative, desperate and senseless commentary, actions and behavior will be coming your way whether you like it or not.
Don’t allow these people to bring you down. Be strong by remaining true to who you are and what you do. Don’t allow someone else’s own failures to prevent you from being you or pursuing your dreams because that only makes you regret not living your life the way you want to and being the person you truly are.
Remind yourself that their comments are based on their own failures and dissatisfaction with life and have nothing to do with you, but everything to do with them.
8. Focus on Relationships that Encourage
There are plenty of people and places in this world that provide goodwill, positivity and happiness. They show love to others in their relationships because they treat others how they want to be treated. Invest your time and energy with these type of people because they are of high value in your life.
Choose to be close to people who encourage and support you and your life endeavors. Be of encouragement to those you like and love too. This can be empowering for everyone involved.
You determine who you allow to influence your life. If you spend a great deal of time with someone who exhibits jealousy toward you, then you will not feel uplifted or encouraged. Seek out the relationships in your life that uplift you, encourage you, and help you become a positive influence in the world.
Relationships are powerful, so make sure yours are rooted in positivity, encouragement, and love. Forget the haters and deal with them only on an 'as needed' basis.