Right off the bat, I want to be perfectly clear (for all the haters that will find some way to nit-pick in the comments), that I don’t respond to EVERY hater.
In fact, I probably respond to about 10% of haters.
By now, haters have probably seen I’ve used “haters” in every sentence of this article so far.
Another reason to hate.
I’m really giving ya’ll a lot of ammunition, aren’t I?
Haters Have Pissed Me Off Lately
For some reason or another, I’ve managed to attract my fair share of haters lately.
Maybe it’s because I’ve started publishing at The Mission more.
Maybe it’s because my views/fans/reads have never been higher.
Maybe it’s because I’m legitimately saying shit that people SHOULD be taking offense at?
Then again, all I’ve been talking about is how to improve as a writer, and how traveling changed my life.
Hardly the hate speech that deserves haters, right?
Apparently I’m not authentic.
Apparently “responding to every comment” on all of my articles is “fake.”
Apparently I’m encouraging people to have zero relationship with their parents, even though my relationship with my Mom and Dad has never been better.
Apparently people know more about my comings and goings (despite them JUST hearing about me five minutes ago) than I do.
Even though I hate haters (secretly love them though, don’t tell them), I think there’s a few reasons we SHOULD engage with them.
Hear me out.
Your Haters Are Right
Even though I hate to admit this, many times your “haters” are right.
To clarify, sometimes they’re only HALF right, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some truth to what they’re saying.
The other day a lovely lady commented on an article of mine and told me I’m pushing people to travel and chase a “badass” lifestyle while leaving no room for my loved ones.
If you think about it, building a relationship with your loved ones is equally as badass.
To me, we don’t value family here in America as much as other countries.
Does that make everyone who chases their entrepreneurial dreams at the expense of spending time with their family terrible people?
Of course not.
But it’s something we should keep in mind.
In this instance, my hater was right.
Only half right, mind you, because I DO have a great relationship with my parents — but right nonetheless because I didn’t communicate that clearly in my article.
Your Haters Will Help You Grow
My definition of a “hater” is simple..
Someone who has a problem with what you wrote/who you are as a person and is telling you about it.
Some might say haters are people who “hate” ALL of you, but I like to give haters more respect than that.
Even though they’re spewing rampant rankness throughout the internet, that doesn’t mean their judgement is so black and white that they actually think 100% of your being is worthless.
I’m getting carried away (Haters: let me know about that in the comments).
Anyway, how many people are that honest with you in real life?
It’s difficult for a friend/family member to tell you straight to your face that what you’re doing is bullshit.
Because this is the internet, and there’s sometimes thousands of miles between you and your haters, it’s become much easier to be honest.
Some would say it’s become much easier to be mean, too, to which I say: 🙌.
I’m just being honest.
But many times honesty and meanness go hand-in-hand.
Do This: Don’t take it personally. Try to give haters some respect. Hear them out, and then sleep on it. If you don’t wake up the next day with some sympathy to what they said, discard their comments as worthless.
One thing’s for sure, haters will help you grow by telling you shit nobody has the guts to tell you.
Why We Should Engage With Haters
Engaging with haters is like debate.
You deserve a rebuttal. You deserve to defend your position.
Engaging with people in debate only deepens your understanding.
But that’s the thing. A lot of times we hold on to our rebuttals without saying them out loud because deep down we’re scared of having them torn to bits.
We’re holding on to our rebuttals like a safety net.
No. Put them out there. Let the world see — and if the world shits on you, then that’s just making you better in the end.
Now you’re aware, now you can grow.
Just because someone is being mean doesn’t mean they aren’t right. This may be the hardest thing to do, but try to separate what they’re saying with how they’re saying it.
The internet needs to have a little more respect. I get it, not being in front of someone allows us to act like the biggest douchebags of all time with seemingly zero consequences.
But we still need respect. Sometimes it’s not somebody’s fault that they’re ignorant. Sometimes it’s their parent’s fault, or their teacher’s fault, or whatever else.
Let’s try to be a little more cognizant of that.
Let’s have debates where the goal is not to shit on somebody’s life, but to legitimately help them see the other side with kindness.
If I succeed in convincing just one person to act this way, then this article was more than worth it (even if I get 10,000 haters in the comments).
In The End, This Is How You Transcend The Haters
There are some people online that act like jackasses 99% of the time.
There’s some people on Medium who literally comment on articles with nothing but venom from sun-up to sun-down.
I think it’s time to stop saying these people and their comments are totally worthless.
We’re failing to separate how they’re saying things from what they’re actually saying.
Hate is a great place to find malice, but it’s also a great place to find your faults.
Appreciate the haters for that. Respond to the haters (respectfully) if it pisses you off. Then wash your hands of it and allow them to go about their business hating on everybody else.
In the end you’re the one who “won.”
You learned something new, and you engaged with someone like an adult instead of a child.
And most times our haters can’t seem to do the same.
That’s why you’ll transcend them.
Want to get started writing online? I actually have a free 5-day email course called “Your First 1,000 Medium Followers” that will teach you how to build an audience here on Medium! Sign up for it right here. I’d love to teach you a couple things.