Every single change creates new winners and new losers. Therefore your actions or even just your words leading towards any kind of change in your environment create backers – people who support you – and blockers – people who try to block and stop you.
Logically, backers are usually people who would (or think they would) benefit from the change you are enforcing, and blockers are the ones who’d lose something, either something material or any other kind of benefit they enjoy, for example a sense of security, reputation, social structure that protects their interests or anything else that’s valuable to them.
If there are no loud blockers and backers in your life, you probably aren’t standing for anything really important. And you should, in a respective and mature way. As the saying goes: “If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.” The right thing to do is to stand for things you believe in, even if it makes your life a little bit harder.
But even if you don’t have any strong social, political, economic or other opinions that you share in public, you face backers and blockers sooner or later in life, even in the most private environments, like in your family or group of friends. There will always be someone who agrees with you more and someone else who tries to convince you otherwise and, of course, consequently blocks your actions.
Sometimes blockers are regular nice people, only respectfully fighting for their own interests, which is totally okay. A clash of ideas leads to even better ideas. But to be honest, many blockers convert to haters who try to knock you down without any style, solid arguments or constructive discussion. Internet enables everyone to hide their identity, which even further encourages haters to become really insulting and primitive.
Even completely innocent people like PewDiePie, who only plays games for a living and 37 million subscribers watch him doing that, has to deal with haters and mean comments.
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Whether you want it or not, haters are the consequence of you standing for something and even more so of you being successful. The more successful and firm you are, the more haters you’ll have to face in your life. Crying about it won’t help, so let’s see why haters are gonna hate and what to do when you face irrational haters in your life.
The main reasons why people would try to block you and turn into haters
The first step is to understand. If you understand their motives and emotional causes, it makes it much easier for you to deal with all the hate aimed towards you. Once you understand, you become more aware and consequently you can forgive. So let’s try to understand haters really well.
There are several reasons why somebody would block you or hate you, but the essence of all the reasons is that with your actions, you’re trying to take away something from someone in material or non-material way. The fear of losing something leads to the manifestation of a blocker’s or hater’s mindset.
Let’s look at the most frequent reasons that provoke haters’ mindset:
A clash of interests
The most obvious reason for someone trying to block you is a clash of interests. If someone thinks that there’s a limited resource of something and that there are too many people who want that thing (scarcity mindset), a competition begins. And there are two ways of winning the competition:
- the fair one is to have better competences
- and the second one is to sabotage your competitors.
Usually, if someone feels that competitors are way above their league and want something really badly, they will turn to sabotage, trying to knock down an opponent or presenting him to others as less capable than s/he actually is.
Haters don't really hate you. In fact, they hate themselves because you're a reflection of what they wish to be.
There may even not be any real clash of interests, but just a matter of ego. If someone tries to block you by using dirty tricks like sabotage, insulting comments etc., it may be that they just feel too inferior compared to you and are just to afraid to even start competing with you.
Most people can feel inferior very quickly. So if you accidentally find yourself feeling too inferior to someone (I hope not), instead of losing control over your emotions and letting the blocker mindset prevail, rationally decide to improve yourself, find your personal fit where you can shine. If you can manage your ego and emotions really well, maybe you can even try to learn from people you dislike but who have more developed competences than you. I try to follow this strategy, even though it can be really hard to put your ego aside.
Well, the least you can do is take a few deep breaths and let it go. Becoming a hater is a path you don’t want to take. Also having an abundance mindset instead of a scarcity mindset helps a lot. There’s enough for all of us and there’s enough for you. You just have to find your own unique path, because you are unique.
One special type of clash of interests is when someone is challenging the status quo. In all societies, we have individuals and organizations who have some kind of monopoly, are protected by legislation, specific social structure, affection of influential people etc. Someone in a position of formal power will of course try to preserve the status quo. Fighting for the status quo only means that they keep enjoying the special benefits from the system as it is.
But there is more. Everything that exists, enjoying special benefits or not, tries to preserve itself somehow, and that often means protecting the status quo. But the irony is that nothing lasts forever. Everything changes, because there are always new rivals, trying to ensure that they have the same benefits. To do that, they have to challenge the status quo. That leads to the demolition of something old, with the goal of building something new, something better and at the same time something that leads to the status quo for the new generation; at least for a short period of time. There are always new generations trying to oust the old ones for a few minutes of being on the top. It’s called (r)evolution.
Fortunately, we can see more and more inter-generational collaboration. Young energy combined with older wisdom can bring great results. And it’s much easier to stand on the shoulders of giants than to demolish everything in order to build something new. Instead of destroying, we should all think about how to upgrade and update.
Even more drama is usually present when there’s a clash of interests of people who have different values. Politics is a very good example of this. By definition, politics is a conflict of different values. An important fact is that there’s nothing wrong with that. The clash of different values, different beliefs and different perspectives leads to progress, to new ideas and middle path solutions; it leads to diversity and that’s what makes life so interesting.
The problem arises when the clash of values is not constructive, integrative and doesn’t have the goal of producing even better solutions/ideas, but is instead performed as the politics that we all know in the worst kind of way, using manipulation, trickery, fraud, frame-ups, conspiracy, deception, cheating, betrayal, hypocrisy, treachery, and so on. That kind of behavior is a plague to humanity.
Well, the solution is simple: we all have to respect different views and angles, but it takes quite a lot of training. Values, as the name implies, are something that we value and are thus usually prepared to zealously fight for. When someone has completely different values, we instantly feel threatened. It takes a lot of discipline and courage to manage animal instincts and stay emotionally mature in situations where people have completely different values than us. But it can be done, especially if we also value diversity and if we respect all living beings. Something different is not as life threatening as it used to be in the jungle.
As an interesting fact, the opposite is also true. You try to bond with people who have similar values. It makes you feel safer and more secure, but even more than that: you have a group of people around you who can protect you and fight with you against people who have different values. But if the group has hateful values, then that leads to aggression and violence. Maybe this had been mandatory a few thousand years ago, when everything different was a threat, but now we can all be much better than that. Respecting different views and living in harmony is a simple solution, yet sometimes still seems so far beyond reach.
The next quite popular cause of people turning into haters are personal issues. First of all, if you don’t like someone, it’s merely a reflection of you having issues with some part of yourself. In other words, if you don’t like someone’s personal traits, it’s usually because you want to have the same traits but simply don’t have them or maybe it has something to do with your past, how you were brought up etc.
An example would be someone with very aggressive parents who consequently can’t bear even slightly aggressive people later in life; or maybe someone always had material support at home and became lazy, not achieving anything and consequently hating all hard-working and ambitious people. We all have personal issues and because of that, we all like and dislike certain types of people.
But what I found out is that we can learn a lot about ourselves by analyzing people we don’t like, by asking tough questions, such as for example why we don’t like them and how that is connected to our personality and our past. Instead of becoming a hater and a blocker, it’s much more productive to analyze the situation and do self-reflection to learn more about ourselves and issues burdening us.
The fewer different types of people we dislike, the fewer personal issues we probably have, and the freer we are, especially because our capacity for love increases. It’s that simple.
Nobody has to like you, you are not a Facebook status.
Stereotypes are a very obvious variation of personal issues. By stereotyping, some people try to group other people in categories with common (negative) traits that they’re lacking, are afraid of or even don’t understand. Sometimes people’s minds still live in the jungle, where humans had to be afraid of everything that was different. But as mentioned that’s not the case anymore. Sadly, people who are stereotype-based haters usually feel slightly superior for a short period of time, but in reality, they deprive themselves of diversity, peace and respect, and only attract hate and violence to their lives.
We can easily find different hateful stereotypes against gender, nationalities, sexual orientation etc. and all of it is nonsense. Diversity is what makes life interesting. Everyone is unique, with all their positive and negative personal traits. And everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Avoiding someone only because you assume how they are like based on stereotypes makes no sense. The idea is that you meet as many different people as possible in life, and after getting to know someone, you can simply decide if there’s common ground for building a deeper relationship or not. But even if huge differences exist, becoming hateful and disrespectful doesn’t do any good.
Low self-esteem and self-image
If someone has low self-esteem or a misshapen self-image, they need some kind of a compensation and the easiest medicine is to trample other people. It gives people like that a short dose of feeling a little better about themselves. Even if that kind of action feels like medicine, it’s nothing but a poison in disguise. It definitely won’t help with better self-esteem or self-image and in the long run, it probably only brings new enemies.
Low self-esteem and misshapen self-image are the most difficult types of personal issues that turn people into haters, and they’re the hardest to overcome. Not many people have the courage and the energy and the stamina to work on themselves, improve and build strong personality foundations that don’t have any need for disregarding other people. It can be done, but it takes a lot of effort, personal development, emotional management and stamina. Sometimes even professional help is the best way to go, to cure all the wounds from the past.
It's adorable when people blame everyone but themselves.
Envy is one of the seven deadly sins, and a quite frequent cause of people becoming haters. Envy occurs when someone doesn’t have another’s superior quality, achievement or possession, and at the same time wishes that the other didn’t have it either. When someone is envious of something belonging to someone else, they usually feel humiliated, worthless, and all that negative energy turns them into pure haters.
There are two things that can be done when you feel envy. The first one is called malicious envy and it makes you a pure hater, trying to knock others down and crush them. But many scientific studies show that malicious envy leads to unhappiness and misfortune. For example, someone writing insulting comments to people who work and create and show their work to the public, only because they can’t find a job, won’t bring anything good to anyone.
The second, much better way to deal with envy is to make it your personal motivator. In psychology, it’s called benign envy. First of all, it’s very good to be aware that you envy someone something. It gives you a very clear idea of what you want in life. But instead of wishing that someone else didn’t have something you want or even working against someone to make them lose that something, you should get motivated and get it for yourself. There’s enough for all of us (if our desires aren’t too extreme).
Be thankful to all the haters, they should keep you motivated.
There’s another interesting reason why people turn to haters – when there’s a one-sided attraction and the person with romantic feelings feels ignored or humiliated. You know that there’s a saying that people who love each other fight a lot. Well, if that love only goes one way, the fight can actually be much more intense. Sure, I can imagine that it’s not easy to love someone who doesn’t love you back, ignores you and makes you feel unimportant, but again, I don’t see becoming a hater as a reasonable solution.
Haters only hate the people they can't have or the people they can't be.
Sure, there’s a thin line between love and hate, but if we have the right understanding that someone not loving us back only means there’s a better person waiting for us, then there’s no need for hate. Keeping a positive perspective and acting like an adult is definitely the way that leads to happiness sooner or later. There are 7 billion people on the planet and a perfect match for everyone definitely exists, especially if we look at life with an abundance mindset.
Haters can also become haters because of bad communication. Misunderstandings, misinterpretations and a lack of information can lead to hateful feelings and a blocker mindset. If you don’t have all the information, you usually fill the gaps with your imagination. If you’re more pessimistic by nature or if you deal with a lot of cognitive distortions, gaps created by imagination can quickly become very negative and threatening.
If you see that someone is a hater towards you only because of bad communication, make sure that you share all the information as quickly as possible, before imagination takes things too far. On the other hand, when you lack information, make sure you don’t jump to conclusions and fill the gaps with all possible negatives that turn you into a hater or a blocker. And even when you have all the information, make sure that you stay cool and respective.
Sometimes people have a really bad past experience with a certain type of people (for example bodyguards, lawyers or whoever) so their subjective reality map becomes distorted. They start to generalize and can become haters towards all the people with the same attributes. It’s very similar to dealing with stereotypes, only in this case, the issue is very personal and isn’t being transferred from upbringing and society but rather from personal experience.
The final reason would be that some people are just assholes. Who knows why. Probably because their mental capabilities can only see “eat or be eaten” scenarios and no other wiser and nobler way to achieve their goals. Many assholes also have great achievements, for example they’re successful managers, entrepreneurs, politicians, artists, athletes, and so on. Nevertheless, life’s too short to spend time with any assholes, no matter how successful they are.
There’s of course a big question if, for example, investors should back up entrepreneurs who are assholes. A similar question is whether you should follow an asshole leader even though he or she is extremely competent, and so on. In my personal opinion you should not, because if someone is rewarded despite being an asshole, they’ll just continue with their behavior and become even bigger assholes.
You also shouldn’t become an asshole yourself, just because you think it’s a shortcut to success. It may seem like a good shortcut, but in the long run, you have the same or even better chances of success if you aren’t an asshole. And you’ll definitely feel much better about yourself, and other people will respect you more as well. Domination and prestige can both lead to social success, but the latter usually lasts longer, has a more positive impact and is the best way to go for an individual and the society.
The two most important facts about haters
All the reasons stated above have two very powerful forces behind them – fear of losing something and fear of humiliation. It’s in human genes to survive, cling to safety, climb the social ladder and try to dominate others even if only for a few minutes of fame. Hate sometimes seems a good way of achieving that, but it’s definitely not. We can all be much better than that.
The sad thing is that people are often not even aware that they’re haters. When people are haters, they’re in such a negative emotional state that they don’t even realize the negativity of their words or actions. Of course directly explaining to them that they’re haters and that they should stop never works. Maybe only if the broader community reminds them that they’re doing harm, they may slowly become aware of their ill-doing.
Haters will broadcast your failure, but whisper your success.
That leads us to the second fact. If that kind of behavior is tolerated, it will only escalate. Small insults usually lead to bigger ones if there’s no social punishment for bad behavior. Now that we understand why people become haters and that their behavior mustn’t be tolerated, let’s look at how to deal with haters in the best possible way.
Dealing with haters
Dealing with haters is no easy job, especially because it’s often very emotionally demanding. You also don’t have many options, but there is a proactive way to go. You can (1) ignore them, (2) fight with them using arguments, (3) get on their level (meaning you also become a hater towards them) or (3) try to defend yourself in an unexpected and creative way. You probably already know that the first option is the best.
The best possible advice for dealing with haters is to simply ignore them. If you wrestle with pigs, you get dirty. Don’t get dirty. When you’re insulted, take a few breaths, forget, and move on. Carefully choose your battles, because you have a limited amount of energy and other resources. Dealing with haters is, of course, an obvious big waste of resources.
At this point, I must emphasize that you mustn’t confuse haters with constructive criticism. If you’ve done something wrong, if someone tries to show you a different angle, if someone gives you directions for how you can become better, you should take an opinion into consideration and critically analyze whether they’re right and if you can improve. In that case, you should thank the person giving you constructive criticism.
But if the action comes out of a pure hateful mindset, do everything in your power to ignore it. Just move on. If you ignore someone, it means that they don’t exist to you, so there’s no reward for them, and sooner or later they have to move on like you have. Let me repeat everything again by quoting James Altucher: “When you get in the mud with a pig, you get dirty and the pig gets happy.” So completely ignore the evil people:
- Completely ignore them.
- Don’t think about them.
- Don’t talk to them.
- Don’t write to them.
- Don’t give them advice.
- Never gossip about them.
Fighting with arguments
The second option you have is fighting with arguments. But the fact is that haters are most often not acting on a logical basis, but rather on an emotional one, and therefore logical arguments won’t work. What you may show with strong arguments, presuming that you have them, is that they’re less competent than they might seem and that they lack knowledge and understanding, next to being an assholes. Using numbers, statistical data and bottom lines usually works the best.
Nevertheless, don’t expect that stating facts will convert haters into your fans. They’ll only hate you more. So try to go back to option one and ignore them. Only show facts and numbers if your professional status or work are really threatened. Maybe not even directly to haters, but to all other people you work with, for example with a blog post or in any other similar way. Much like you will forget, everyone else will also sooner or later forget what the haters’ fuss was all about.
If people are trying to bring you down it only means that you are better than they are.
Getting on their level
The worst option you can take is getting on their level. It will only escalate the hate, negative energy and there’s no doubt that at the end, you’ll be even more offended. Sure, everyone can return a good nasty blow of hate, but it only feels good for a short period of time. You don’t gain much, you only waste your precious resources that could be invested into something much more productive.
Taking this path only shows other people that you can be a hater too. But that’s not who you are, you’re much better than that. It’s not always easy to be wiser, nobler and smarter than others, especially when dealing with haters, but if you can manage your emotions and ego properly, you’ll never let yourself get on their level. No matter what you have to do to keep your cool.
The best revenge is living well. Because nothing drives people more crazy than seeing someone actually having a good life.
Unexpected creative replies
The last option you have is dealing with haters in very unusual ways. That’s probably the second best option, but you have to be really good at it. There’s a thin line between a clever defense, where you keep your cool, and passive-aggressive behavior. The moment you become passive aggressive, you’re basically on their level, taking the worst option you have.
What are some examples of unexpected replies towards haters? Show them love, since they’re probably lacking it. Be like Jesus. Or use sarcasm. Satire. Smart humor. Memes. Circle jerk attack. Tease. Reply with movie quotes. And so on. Watch that PewDiePie video in the beginning of this post.
- If you don’t like me, you don’t like yourself or
- Haters gonna hate or
- Don't be such emotional midget or
- Don't be jelly or
- If you are so happy with your life, stop worrying about mine and go on living yours
may be cool unexpected replies, but for example replying with something like
- I Would Challenge You To a Battle of Wits, But I See You Are Unarmed or
- Too bad you can't photoshop your ugly personality
is probably already going too far. If you need inspiration for unexpected replies, 9gag comments are a great way to go. You can see it as an act of developing your creativity and as a social experiment. But on second thought, just ignore the haters.
Make sure that you aren’t a hater or encouraging haters
If you’re only a witness to haters attacking someone, you should pretty much take the same approach. Ignore them, don’t give them additional material to chew on. If things go too far, remind them of their attitude, but don’t try to fight with arguments, unless really necessary. You can also try engaging with humor or other unexpected replies, but no matter what, don’t get on their level.
Last but not least, make sure that you aren’t the hater. Whatever you’re commenting, incognito or not, on the internet or in person, make sure that your comment shows:
- Respect to all other people
- Constructive criticism and sharing your positive ideas
- That you clearly read the content and analyzed the author’s point of view
- That you put yourself in the author’s shoes
- That you challenged your own point of view with the author’s different perspective, asking yourself if you’re wrong
- Stating facts with solid proof (not only vague opinions or even insults)
- You aim for proactivity and the desire to look for new integrative solutions
There will be haters, there will be doubters, there will be nonbelievers and then there will be you, proving them wrong.
Life’s just too short to deal with haters; and I wish you all the luck possible when you have to deal with them.