It seems that everyone is jumping on the “hater appreciation” bandwagon. When someone expresses their opinion on anything, and their opinion is negative and/or not in agreement with what others feel they should believe, then they are deemed a hater.
And, the automatic response is…”haters gonna hate,” or, “I love my haters,” or, “my haters make me stronger.”
But, is that always the case?
Are people really hating on us, or are they merely expressing an opinion on something that we chose to put out there? Is it hate, or is it opinion? And…do people’s opinions of us make us stronger?
I’d venture to say the solution to this entire problem could be summed up by the old adage, “Treat others the way you want to be treated,” followed by, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
A woman posting selfies doesn’t give anyone a right to make negative comments about her…slut shame her…or make her feel insecure.
On the flip side, when people do say hurtful things online…they…well…hurt. Words can often hurt more than physical pain.
For example, when I was young, I used to be a tomboy. I loved riding down the hill near my house on my bike and going as fast as I could. Most of the time I would stand up and hold my arms out in the air (like Leonardo DiCaprio, although this was pre-Titanic).
On one particular day, I was riding down the hill, and I ran into a parked car and skinned my knee. I mean, all of the skin was off of my knee, and all you could see was the white and blood. I screamed and limped in the house. It hurt so bad. I can remember my mom rinsing it off, putting Peroxide on it, and bandaging me up. It took a few weeks, but eventually, my knee healed and now you can’t even tell that at one time there wasn’t any skin there. While I can remember the experience and the pain I felt at the moment, my knee doesn’t still hurt. That physical pain has been long gone.
Emotional pain, on the other hand, doesn’t go away so easily. The words that people say to us can stay with us forever, having the ability to shape our thoughts, ideas, and actions.
For example, last year for Spirit Week at my job, a few of my fellow teachers and I decided to dress up for cartoon character day. I went as Doc McStuffins (my favorite!). I went all out! I had the pigtails, the headband, the tights and sneakers, the white lab coat, the stethoscope, and everything. I even put blush on my cheeks. I looked exactly like Doc McStuffins.
When I went to work, the students instantly recognized who I was and they gave me a lot of positive feedback. I usually don’t like attention, but I was glad that I had stepped out of my shell to do this because I was having a ball.
Towards the end of the school day I was standing in the hallway and some students that I didn’t know where walking down the hall. One of the girls said, “You look so cute. You look just like Doc McStuffins.” Then, a boy that passed by me said, “Yeah, but she’s not fat.” The girls he was with told him how rude and mean he was and I’m sure he didn’t realize I was a teacher (because I’m so short and young-looking, they never do).
My first instinct was to punch him in the face, no lie. But, I have a family and I need my job, so I chose to ignore him and go back inside my classroom. And although I acted like it didn’t bother me, it did. I was devastated. And pissed!!!! I think more pissed than devastated. I mean, who did this little jerk think he was? I didn’t deserve that. I hadn’t done anything to him. I was just minding my business, living my life, and choosing to be me, and the little punk decided to make it his job to rain on my parade.
I learned a few things that day. First, I realized that words do hurt. His cruel words still echo in my ears sometimes, which is insane, because I am a beautiful, confident, successful, grown woman. Secondly, I realized that just because you think something doesn’t mean you need to say it. Sometimes it’s better to keep your opinions to yourself, especially if your opinions are rude or counterproductive.
Ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to say or write going to upbuild this person?” If the answer is no, then shut up and keep it to yourself.
Because haters aren’t motivators. They’re just jerks with too much time on their hands.