How I Handle Haters.
Recently I was publicly attacked on one of my SignedM. social media accounts.
My very character was called into question, over a photo taken during my time in Uganda. I won’t give power to the accuser by giving details here, but the post is still out there.
So, from a girl who has chosen to publicly share so much of her life… with the sole intention of inspiring, encouraging & supporting other women, here is how I handle my haters.
Not very well.
Here’s the truth: when someone hates, it hurts. I feel like I’ve just given this mean girl complete satisfaction by admitting to this… but, in all realness, I was shook.
This isn’t the first time someone has voiced their less-than-flattering opinion of me… & I’m certain (if I’m doing things right, anyway!) it won’t be the last. I choose to do things differently than most, especially in my professional journey. I’m wired to write my own story… to pave my own path… to do things differently. I’m not afraid of a challenge, of taking big risks & working my proverbial ass off. & I’m also not in it for anyone else but me.
Here’s what I’m not here for… & am certainly never prepared for… the hate. I don’t understand it. I’m just not wired to form such strong, adverse, personal opinions on what others are doing in their lives… especially when I have never before met them & their lives have no impact on mine.
Needless to say, the mean comments came as a shock. & it hurt. I was faced with a decision: respond or ignore. Well, I was in a vulnerable place & I’m admittedly always quick to get defensive when I know the attacker is flat-out wrong… so a public battle in the comments section of said post ensued.
I’m not proud, but I’m also not ashamed. Do I wish I would have had the strength to just “shake it off”? No, I don’t think so. I hope I never reach a place where I’m not offended by poor behavior, & I will always stay true to myself in circumstances where I feel the need to set the record straight. But, engaging with it doesn’t necessarily do any good.
So, how I handle my haters:
People don’t know what they don’t know.
This is one of the first things I try to tell myself. When you are the kind of amazing individual that prefers to pave her own path in life… you need to recognize that there will be people with harsh opinions & negative judgments toward you. It’s ok to be honest about how you are feeling, about what you are doing & the unjust crap they are throwing at you. When we open our hearts & share our truth in this way, it makes it harder for people to hate… but it’s also ok to guard your heart from these people who don’t know. Not everyone needs to know. Not everyone gets the privilege of knowing everything. & remember: “what will people say” is a sentence that has killed more dreams than anything else in the world. Don’t let haters hold you back.
Set Personal Boundaries.
Know this: even after opening your heart & letting people know why you are doing what you are doing… there will still be some people who hate on you. But here’s a fact: this has little to do with you & everything to do with them.
People grow at different rates. They might not be at a point where they can understand why you doing you in the name of working towards your greater happiness or purpose in life can be so impactful. It could also be that seeing you go for it in life is making them face the realization that they are unhappy & unwilling or unready to do something about it yet. Jealously is ugly on everyone.
Send them love, be happy for where they are, & set some personal boundaries. Know these are not your people to go to when you need words of encouragement or even to celebrate with. Heck, if they are the kind of people that want to hate… they might not be your kind of people at all.
Surround yourself with people who empower you.
Friend, this is a MUST. You want to balance out any negativity in your life. Actually you want to overpower it. As a rule, always be very intentional about surrounding yourself with people who push you to always be better. People who empower & inspire you. This is where a success partner (in business & in life!), masterminds, mentors, coaches & a killer girl tribe come in… invest in your energy & enlist people who believe in/support your greatest potential in life, period.
Know that not everyone is meant for you.
Listen, we all want to be liked, approved of, & accepted. But it’s impossible to please everyone. Let go of that expectation. Instead know that when you get very specific on the people that matter most to you, your ability to be affected by the people who aren’t for you is minimized… & if you are a business owner or are creating a brand, this is why it is so important to know who your ideal client & customer is. You can’t be everything for everyone.
& lastly, I tell myself these two things:
Someone else’s opinion of me is none of my business.