How to Deal with Haters – 10 Steps to Freedom

In the previous post, we discussed why haters happen and what it means when you have them.

And in this post, we’re going to discuss what you can do to best navigate these types of situations and the people within them.

Got haters? Need a coping strategy to process it and move on gracefully? In 10 steps, learn how to deal with haters and move on with your life. 

The 10 Steps to Dealing with Haters

Learn How to Not Take it Personally

1. Consider where it’s coming from

Imagine you are standing on a platform delivering a speech, when all of a sudden, someone from the crowd slings a handful of mud at you.

Did that mud come from you? Sure didn’t. You didn’t place a bucket of mud on the stage that day for people to take from and throw at you. The mud slinger brought their own mud.

When you’re the target for hate and harsh criticism, it doesn’t come from you. It’s not from you, it’s not part of you, it’s not about you. It’s not from your bucket. It comes from deep within that person, from their own supply of mud – painful emotions that they likely sling at themselves, too, have now been warped around to look like they’re about you.

Why? Because when you have painful emotions within, they can be extremely difficult to face. It’s much easier to try to make others face them instead. It is much easier to pull the skeletons out of your closet and try to place the ownership on someone else, than it is to accept that those skeletons are yours.

2. Realize that 99.9% of the time it’s not about you

While the hate may be painted to look like it’s about you, it isn’t.

It’s a clever masquerade, but it almost always reflects a pain that the hater has yet to face about themselves. Take a careful look at the comment, and consider what flaw, what hurt, or what inadequacy is being raised here and how that could reflect a pain that the hater faces.

Is the comment about money? Consider that the commenter has deep fears and insecurities related to their own financial situation.

About your looks? That’s an obvious one, insecurities and painful emotions about their own appearance.

About your real-ness and authenticity? It’s possible that the commenter worries about living true to who they are as an authentic individual.

3. Understand that it comes from pain

Remember the mud?

That mud comes from within the person who slings it and when you have mud, sludge, or hate to sling at someone else, that means that it lives inside you, too.

Pain lives inside the hater and because of an inability, unknowing, or lack of resources to face it, sometimes that pain comes out. It could be childhood trauma, hurtful past experiences, failed relationships, or pretty much anything that causes pain in another human and so long as it lives inside, it has the ability to come out in the form of words and even disposition.

4.  Have Compassion

While the temptation to feel angry, upset, or defensive at the hater is high, try to refrain. Remember, it’s not about you. It’s an unfortunate display of unhealed inner pain and even though it’s tempting, the least loving thing to do right now is to sling your own pain right back.

So, what can you do?

Learn How to Respond

5. Don’t

If you can, don’t give a response. While giving your speech, and someone hits you with mud, what is the most graceful thing to do? Brush it off and keep going . . .or to take a moment out to personally address the one person in the crowd who chose to be disrespectful?

Responding in any way, is like opening the floor for discussion on whether or not it’s okay to throw mud at you. It isn’t. Don’t give attention to those who break the rules of common respect, unless you want more rule breakers ready to challenge you. Furthermore, if you don’t respond to mud slinging, and no one else does, sooner or later mud slingers will learn that this strategy doesn’t work. Operant conditioning at it’s finest – only give attention to the behavior that you do want.

6. If you must respond, be brief and not defensive

In cases where a response is required, take a moment to regroup before responding. Craft a response that acknowledges the statement in a neutral, non-hostile, non-defensive way. The immediate, human response in most cases is to feel hurt and the temptation is to respond with hurt-feeling pain energy. Pain energy from you + pain energy from them will just make things worse and can lead to escalation. Remember, you do not want to engage here, only acknowledge and move on.

Take time to process and release what was said before you respond so that you are able to respond in a neutral, graceful, non-emotional way.

Learn How to Regroup and Refocus

7. If you have haters, you have at least 3x as many non-haters

ONE person in the CROWD threw mud at you. There’s a whole crowd out there who wants to see you for who you are and likes you for who you are. Haters are going to happen. It’s the way life is. There are just too many people working through their own pain and unable to cope with it in a healthy way, so instead, it gets directed at others.

The good news is that for every one of your haters, there are at least 3 people that love and like you. Haters are in the minority.

8. Prepare yourself for next time

If you want to be prepared for potential attacks, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your own perceived flaws. Things that you don’t like about yourself. When you consider something a flaw, other people are subconsciously aware of that and pick up on it, using it for an attack. Humans are great at this – finding the exact thing you’re self conscious about and targeting it. So, familiarize yourself with these areas. If you already know your points of attack, you’ll be less surprised when they come.

9. You’re making waves – it’s a good sign

Having haters at all is a sign that you’re original, you’re speaking your mind, and you’re shining your own individual light in a way that is different from all others.

If someone points that out, your different-ness, that’s actually a great sign!

It means you’re successful at being authentically you. And even if one person doesn’t like authentic you, do you want to compromise the unique success it is to have both figured out who you are, AND live authentically as that person?


10. Keep doing what you’re doing

You are living authentically as you. If someone spins around their pain and directs it at you to deal with, are you going to let that derail from your goals? Ruin your day? Sidetrack your mission? You can’t. Your light is already too bright.

Too many people adore that light for it to stop burning.

With love,

LAST UPDATED: April 20, 2015