Haters. This word has come to be understood as vaguely as 'people who don't like you' and as specifically as 'critics who don't have anything positive to say about a musician's music'. Whatever it is, it's an inescapable fact that - as the famous meme goes - haters gonna hate. While the ignore-rinse-repeat reaction is common (and safe) there may actually be a positive side to having haters (or being hated on).
|It's good for you!|
Quick, what's the first thing that happens when you push against something? There's resistance, right? Aside from a physics standpoint, Newton's third law applies in life as well. the reaction to someone being overly critical could be displeasure, anger, and resentment, which could all eventually lead to you lashing out at perfectly innocent people around you, such as family and friends. There is a quote that says "How others treat you is their karma; how you respond is yours" and I believe this applies here perfectly. Why give in to negative comments and sulk all day? I was once 176 lbs and I am not exactly the tallest person around, and I was on the receiving end of 'fat jokes' for most of my life. Instead of accepting fate that I 'was always going to be overweight', I threw myself in a new lifestyle that saw 40 lbs melt away in 15 months. Use negative comments for inspiration!
One thing about haters is that they will nit-pick every single negative thing about you. How is this a good thing then? Chances are, they won't be merciful to you, not by a long shot. You can always rely on negative people to give you the most honest - albeit brutal - opinions of you. In the end, when no one is telling you that you should probably quit smoking, the hater who spreads stories of your legendary bad case of halitosis might actually be doing you (and your health!) a great favor. What does not kill you still really, really sucks to receive, but in the end, they make you stronger.
|This guy is helping you become better!|
Having said that, being inspired and knowing how to temper reactions and learning to accept honest perspectives can actually shed some much-needed light in the status of your real character. Turning negative remarks into something positive is one great step into becoming a positive thinker, and knowing one's limitations, weaknesses, and faults will actually help one focus on building up these weaker areas. Take the two together and take a minute for some self-reflection. You know what you'll see? An individual who can roll with the punches while remaining true to who s/he is. The hater becomes a mirror - one that does not just reflect any image, but an image aware of flaws. The hater becomes a non-selective mirror, showing us where to improve when our own vanity chooses what it wants to see in ourselves.
Lastly, and above everything else, FORGIVE.
Nothing is quite as healing as learning this most difficult of skills.
Hateraid image from NWTekno, retrieved on February 28, 2012.
Angry man image from Science Daily, retrieved on February 28, 2012.