Coping with haters in your life? Let me give you a piece of advice that really helps me: their hatred is almost never actually about YOU…it’s about them. Their fears, insecurities, or just plain ugly personality. Once you realize that, dealing with them becomes a whole lot easier. Let’s discuss.
3 Reasons Why Haters Hate (& Why It’s Almost Never Actually About You)
You know how I love to kick things off with a great quote, right? Well, I actually have a bunch for you today, but let’s start with the one that inspired this entire post. It goes, “A person hates you for one of three reasons: 1) They see you as a threat; 2) They hate themselves; 3) They want to be you.”
Notice how all of them say everything about the hater and very little about you? Let’s break that down and talk about each one, shall we?
1. They see you as a threat
This reason is almost always motivated by fear, and it’s what’s behind most politically charged hatred. Each side feels that the other is a threat to something that’s important to them. That fear drives them to lash out rather than just discussing things like rational adults. Fear and logic, after all, are practically arch enemies.
It’s definitely not limited to just political debates, though. It’s the reason your best friend’s spouse seems to hate you. Why your coworker talks about you behind your back (because haters like this almost never do it to your face) after you get a promotion. Why a seemingly nice fellow PTA mom gives you the cold shoulder after you become president of the organization.
In other words, it’s never about you personally. It’s about what they think you will take away from them. Since you did absolutely nothing to incur their wrath, there’s also absolutely nothing you can do to fix it. Well, nothing that you SHOULD do. Never compromise or give up something you love just to ease someone else’s jealousy.
2. They hate themselves
You know that quote that says you can’t love others until you love yourself? Well, when someone downright hates themselves, it’s hard to even like other people, let alone love them. Of all the reasons why haters hate, I have the most empathy for this one. That hatred comes from a place of deep insecurity, low self-esteem, and even severe depression.
Let’s try an example. Imagine that Sally is in a really bad place right now. She hates everything about her life. Her job makes her miserable. Her husband is a bit of a jerk. She feels like she’s not pretty enough, not smart enough, just not enough enough.
Then she sees you, out there loving your life. She sees how happy you are with your job, your husband, and yourself. And she HATES you for it. She seethes. Why do YOU get to have all of that, and she gets nothing? What did YOU do to get so lucky (because, in her mind, you didn’t work for it, you just magically won all of it)?
Again, it’s not about anything that you did to Sally, and there’s nothing you can (or, again, should) do to “fix” it. If Sally is very important to you, all you can do is be there to forgive her when she finds her footing again. She’ll need someone on her side after she’s done burning all of her bridges. If she’s not someone you really want to keep in your life, though, don’t feel like you have to put up with her.
3. They want to be you
This one kind of – but not always- overlaps with “they hate themselves.” In the example above, Sally wants to have your life. However, sometimes people just plain hate those who are more successful than they are, even if they’re already pretty happy with their own life. Maybe your friend Betsy is doing pretty well right now. She has a good job that she really enjoys and a great love life. She’s very comfortable in her own skin and seems pretty put-together.
Then one day, as you’re walking down the street together, a movie agent pops out and says to you, “You’re exactly what we’re looking for!” Okay, so that almost NEVER happens in the real world, but if we’re playing pretend, we might as well go all in, right? The movie is a hit and BOOM, you’re a star, baby! Even though Betsy is perfectly content in her life, she still hates you because, in her eyes, yours is better.
Once again (see a pattern here?), it’s not YOU that she hates. It’s the fact that you have something that she wants. A dream job. A gorgeous new house. Heck, even the last pair of discounted designer shoes that you saw first. She wants it, you have it, and she can’t stand that. I think you know what I’ll say next, right? There is nothing you should do to change it. DO NOT give up something you love to make a hater happy. Ever.
I really feel like 99% of the hatred in the world stems entirely from these three issues, and that it says a lot more about the hater than the hated. The other 1%, though, really is all on us. So, let’s discuss.
Sometimes, though, it really IS about you
All three of the examples above assume that you legitimately did nothing wrong. You didn’t actually threaten someone. Didn’t connive to take a job that you knew should have gone to a coworker. Didn’t provoke Sally by saying horrible things like “Wow, your husband is a jerk and you’re so dumb!” You didn’t look down on Betsy from your new Hollywood mansion and act like you’re better than her (because in the words of Paul Walker, you’re never cool enough to look down on someone).
You were just living your best life possible. Working towards your dreams, putting yourself out there, taking chances. You were, as they say, just doing you.
HOWEVER, if you DID do those things, then yes, someone has every right to hate you for it. Or at least strongly dislike you. Hate is such an ugly word and should really be reserved for the worst acts of humanity, but that’s a whole different post entirely.
Of course, if you did do something horrible to someone to earn that hatred, chances are you’re not reading this post because you just plain don’t care enough about others to care why they hate you in the first place.
So, I’m sticking with my original statement. If you’re reading these words, I can almost guarantee that your haters don’t actually hate YOU. In that case, I’ll leave you with one last quote from Einstein. It goes, “Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.”
Keep it as a reminder that you should never put too much energy into dealing with haters. They’ll suck the very life out of you if you let them. Don’t let them.