It’s just who we are. We could receive 998 positive comments about ourselves, but if even two are negative, that is all we will focus on. How are we to deal with the hateful comments? The ones that are stripped of all intention to help us build, with no belief that we have the potential to grow and be better. It’s natural to have a reaction. We’re human, but remember that it’s important that we don’t allow the haters to derail us from our progress. This blog is all about how to distinguish hate and constructive criticism, understanding where hate originates, developing our own internal practices to process hate, and how to approach haters to diffuse the situation.
This blog is based off the FCM Podcast Episode 28: The Art of Handling The Haters. The podcast and show notes are all located at www.fitnesscareermastery.com/episode28.
There is a difference between haters and constructive criticism. We should encourage criticism, listen to it as much as possible, and allow it to encourage us to grow. Haters offer criticism in a disrespectful format. They have no interest in helping you, their only intention is to tear you down.
When analyzing hateful comments, you will likely notice they almost always have an angry tone. Anger is often a result from fear – most often, the fear of not getting what they want. Where is this coming from?
Understanding the origin will change they way you process hateful comments completely. One potential starting point may be their own internal dissatisfaction. If they’re able to compare you to themselves and find something lacking from within, this generates a fearful response. Sometimes people are confused with what you do, why you are so successful, and this lack of understanding can cause a build up of fear as well.
Depending on the source of the hater, if you’re very good at what you do, their response can be rooted in jealousy. This is a fear of inadequacy and lack of recognition. If you’re pushing boundaries and asking for people to change, there will be people that are uncomfortable this. When they’re asked to step outside their box, they will be fearful. The next time you receive a hateful comment, try to align it with one of these origins and understand where they are coming from. This will change how much you are affected by these comments.
Don’t let that hate take away from your process. Don’t allow others to have that power over you. We all criticize ourselves enough as it is with things such as, “I’m not good enough,” “What if I fail?” We don’t need any more comments from anyone else. It’s also important to remember that the comment is only about you, if you make it about you.
We’ve determined that haters are criticizing without any intention to help and it has originated from a fear that has nothing to do with you. There is no need for you to anchor yourself to their internal struggle. Another way to manage your internal state is being mindful of how you’re spending your time. Every second that you spend worrying about a hater is a second you could have spent on the people who do positively connect to what you do.
Try to change your relationship to hateful comments in the first place. Realistically, if you have no haters, you’re not stepping out of the box enough. You’re most likely playing it safe. Haters come from you breaking boundaries and trying something new, and their fearful reaction to these things happening outside their comfort zone. If you have negative criticism, you’re doing something right! Also, don’t feel the need to know “why” people say hateful comments. It most often doesn’t have anything to do with you and what you’re doing. You can do whatever you want, you are your own person, this is your business, and you’re not required to answer to anyone. If you are someone that finds yourself having difficulty dealing with negative comments, try to make a habit of collecting Thank You notes & positive feedback/texts to remind yourself of the support system you do have. Take note of your reaction to negative comments and ask yourself why do we respond the way we do. Are you afraid that it’s true? Take the opportunity to practice loving yourself – remind yourself you’re talented, worthy, and how much time and effort you have spent getting to the point where you are today.
General rule, ignore. They will be hidden by the positive comments we receive. Don’t reach out and try to convince them otherwise, it is very unlikely you will reach the root of the issue (as it is most likely from an internal fear). However, if you do choose to address the hater, kill them with kindness. You may be surprised how quickly this person can jump from the negative end to the utmost positive end of the spectrum. Offer an apology for not providing them the service expectations they had in mind, offer to meet,
discuss, and apologize and explain your intention. Another technique is responding with humor to diffuse the situation completely. If these haters are coworkers or other closer contacts, always take the approach of kindness. It may get to the point where you need to sit down and discuss how the issue can be solved. In summary, offer compliments on their positive traits, do what you can to remove their fears that initiate this behavior, and overall lead with kindness.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken the high road and it was unbelievably painful to do so, but sometimes years later the person comes back around and admits how much of a jerk they were. That’s called good karma. Don’t do anything that someone could fault you for later. Take that high path – it always comes back around.
People will always criticize what you do no matter what, so be bold. Celebrate your haters as a sign that you’re finding success, that you’re making an impact, that you’re a trailblazer. Use constructive criticism to help you learn, grow, and become better.