Hate is the comfort drug of choice today, consumed and spewed in order to make individuals feel better about their circumstances, lot in life, or whatever else they lack the mental fortitude to reconcile via critical thinking and self reflection.
After all, if they can’t be happy in their own skin, why should anyone else be afforded such luxury? Inevitably, then, hate and negativity clog up our Facebook and Twitter feeds, while we remain “friends” with those whose aims of using such mediums are completely self-centered.
They whine and complain when life goes awry. Or they post their latest personal accomplishment and watch as the “likes” roll in, feeling their sense of self worth grow with each successive click.
Our society has become so obsessed with “me” that hate has become the default response leveled in the direction of anyone who is more successful, lives by a different standard or set of principles, holds different political views or ascribes to a belief system that is contrary to their own.
Respectfully disagreeing has become oxymoronic. Disrespect now appears to be a prerequisite for disagreement. Logical discourse has been replaced with personal vitriol.
It could be well argued that the dumbing down of our society is partly to blame for this. The rules of logic are a foreign concept, because they are not taught in most public schools, leading to almost any disagreement that happens to be taking place in your news feed being wrought with strawman arguments, ad hominem attacks, appeals to emotion and various other logical fallacies.
Without a logical framework from which to argue their position, people are left with using emotion-based appeals and personal attacks as their primary modus operandi.
Our inability to apply logic notwithstanding, hate is en vogue. And it can even be fueled by something as innocent as making your health and personal fitness a priority.
Haters Will Attack Your Healthy Choices
These days, seemingly mundane personal choices are enough to cause others to feel obliged to goad you if they happen to be different than their own. Steve from NerdFitness.com exposes this common situation as follows:
Imagine the following scenario: You’re sitting around a dinner table at a restaurant and everybody places an order for a meal:
- Person 1: The chicken and broccoli please!
- Person 2: I’ll have fish, quinoa, and a salad please.
- Person 3: I’ll take the steak, asparagus, and sweet potato please.
- Person 4: I’ll take a double cheeseburger and chili cheese fries – and can you add a side of ranch, as well?
For the sake of argument, let’s assume person 1, 2, and 3 are generally healthy, and person 4 is overweight. Can you see persons 1-3 saying the following:
- “Are you seriously going to eat that?”
- “Are you sure you should be eating that?”
- “You’re overweight enough, you should probably eat more like us.”
Of course not! That would be rightly considered to be incredibly rude, inconsiderate, and downright mean. That person can choose to eat however they want, right?
Now compare that to the following situation:
- Person 1: I’ll take a medium pizza with sausage and side of garlic bread.
- Person 2: I’ll have the chicken parmesan pasta and salad with extra ranch.
- Person 3: I’ll have the lasagna please, and let’s get nachos for the table.
- Person 4: I’ll take a grilled chicken salad please, and hold the dressing.
Can you see persons 1-3 saying the following to person 4:
- “Oh come on, why eat like that? What are you, a rabbit?”
- “Come on, live a little! You’re too skinny already.”
- “Jeez, I feel bad for you having to eat like that. I’d rather starve.”
If you’re a health-conscious individual (or are working on becoming one), and spend any amount of time hanging around with unhealthy friends, I’ll bet you’ve dealt with this scenario on more than one occasion.
When people eat things that are unhealthy, everybody keeps their mouth shut… But when somebody goes in the other direction and tries to better themselves, suddenly everybody feels the need to chime in.
And this doesn’t end with dietary choices. If you’re exhibiting excellence in any area of life it’s going to make those who aren’t uncomfortable.
It’s much easier for them to simply hate on those who they believe are making them look bad by comparison than to exert the effort required to make a similar change in their own life – even when they know deep down it’s what they should also be doing.
Instead of supporting and encouraging you, the more likely response will be to do everything they can to drag you down to their level. Misery loves company.
But, believe it or not, there’s a considerable amount of empowerment haters provide to those who are committed to making a positive difference in this world.
Haters Only Empower You to Stand Out
While I don’t have the empirical evidence to back it up, it’s my personal estimation that 4 out of every 5 people living in America today are self-centered individuals who communicate hate ten times more than they communicate love, support or encouragement.
They might think cutting others down, blaming everyone else for what they don’t have, and mocking people with whom they disagree helps them along in their journey on this planet. Unfortunately for them, they’re mistaken.
In fact, their actions only serve to unintentionally aid the success of those they spend their time hating.
This is because haters will never get anywhere or make anything useful out of their lives. They’re too consumed with self and the hating of those they disagree with, those they’re jealous of, those who are achieving, and those who are positively impacting the lives of others, to do anything positive.
It’s nearly impossible to better yourself and achieve your dreams when you’re wallowing in hate all day and only concerned with elevating yourself at the expense of others. I’m not sure if you noticed, but the businesses (and employees) that tend to be the most successful are those that are most effective at helping others.
Self-serving businesses that care only for pulling profits, and neglect to serve the needs of their customers, don’t tend to last very long. Similarly, most managers aren’t that free-handed with awarding promotions to employees who denigrate their co-workers as a means of advancing their careers.
Yes, there are exceptions. But this is pretty much par for the course.
What that means for YOU is that you only have to compete with 20% of the population for whatever it is you want to accomplish in life.
You’re not competing with everyone because the haters disqualify themselves from even entering the race. They’re an afterthought. In other words, the field is already narrowed down for you.
While haters spend hours on social media – typing hateful and unproductive comments all day – they’re not chasing after dreams.
They’re not competing for your spot. They’re at home rotting in the living room or basement, pounding the keyboard and spewing hate.
They’re not learning. They’re not educating themselves. They’re not using their talents to improve the lives of others.
So whatever it is you want to achieve in life, you can thank the haters for not even competing and increasing your chances of success.
Ignoring The Haters In Your Life
I’d be remiss if I pretended that all the hate around us, especially that which is hurled in our direction, is easy to ignore. It isn’t. I’ve lost sleep on many occasions because of the nasty and vile comments others have sent my way.
I’ve been verbally hated on and attacked for my Christian faith. I’ve been criticized for stating things in articles that others happen to disagree with. I’m not immune to such personal attacks. No one is.
As much as I sometimes wish I didn’t, I do care what others think of me. I have a desire to be well liked. I want others to look up to me and respect my opinions. Who doesn’t?
With all the hate around us, it’s easy to allow our focus to settle on the negativity, forget to count our blessings, and remember everything positive in our lives. And, if we’re not careful, this can lead to a swift transition of being reduced to using the favored tactic of haters and starting to blame them for the negative circumstances we all face in life.
We must daily choose to drown out the hate and focus on what we can do to be a light of positivity in the world. As hard as it is at times, we must refuse to be pulled into the hate-spewing culture that seems to be growing more hate-filled by the day.
It’s impossible to completely avoid those who love to hate on others. But do yourself a favor and start spending less time time on social media sites, especially Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter are cesspools of needlessly incendiary arguments, personal attacks and selfish promotion.
Trust me when I tell you that the less time you can spend absorbing this negativity into your mind the better off your life will be. For more than a year now, I’ve made it a point to spend no more than 5 minutes per day on social media and it’s one of the best decisions I could have made.
And don’t hesitate to block or un-friend those whose communications are a net negative to your daily experience. They might notice and get their panties in a bunch. But sometimes it’s necessary to prune off the diseased branches in your life to keep the remaining ones vibrant and healthy – and make room for more fruitful branches.
Haters Aren’t A New Phenomenon – They Have Always Existed
Jesus dealt with them. Martin Luther King dealt with them. Ghandi dealt with them. They’re never going away.
As each of these men did, we must also daily choose to rise above the desire to hate and curse those who hate on us. Instead, we should live out the change we wish to see in others.
As an old Chinese proverb says, “it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. Lighting a candle eliminates the darkness. Cursing the darkness does nothing. The point is that hate will only continue to be perpetuated unless the light of love is there to extinguish it.
And let’s not forget the command to “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us” that Jesus Christ gave during His Sermon on the Mount.
Responding to hate with more hate only serves to perpetuate the problem. And it’s never going to get someone to see your side. An argument made with hate has never swayed the opinion of another. Never.
The proper way to deal with the haters in our lives is to ignore their hate and maintain our focus on the positive difference we wish to make in the world.
The next time someone degrades you for your decision to eat healthy, or exercise instead of attending a happy hour…
Tell them how great you feel. Tell them that you’d love to help them feel great, as well. Let them know you understand where they’re coming from because you used to feel the same way.
Or, just ignore them and go about your business trying to be the best that you can be.
This is how to deal with the haters in life in a way that will make a positive difference.
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