… will always harm you.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been carrying the weight of fame, cruel words hurt. While you learn to ignore a lot of it, every now and then a barb catches you. And some of the worst ones are still in you.
You read a headline that completely distorts your words, your life, your relationships… and it changes your energy for the day. It doesn’t matter how much your brain knows that you shouldn’t let it bother you, it’s not your brain that hurts. It’s your heart. What hurts more than misrepresented facts, are blatant lies about your character.
Words are energy. Highly focused energy. And they impact you at an emotional, physical, and energetic level.
But why do they hate me so much?
One of the great enigmas of fame is that people love to hate you.
The energy of fame creates a division of “us vs them” — this energy keeps you from seeming like a real person to the public. People believe that you are immune to the hurtful things said about you. You will never be just another fellow human being to the public. And because you are not one of them, you are fair game for words that they’d never have the balls to say to someone they know.
Among the public and within the industry, people who do not know how to own their own lives and manage their own innate power, view anyone who has what they don’t have with envy, jealousy, and a belittling attitude.
The majority of people live from an energy of fear and scarcity beliefs. People tear down those they envy, because it’s easier to do that than to face the fact that they have not and may not achieve their own potential. That, and well, some people are just assholes.
But why do they hate? Why don’t they just leave you alone? And why does the hate sometimes seem obsessive?
Do you remember in grade school, how when someone was picked out by the cool kids as a victim to bully, pretty soon most of the kids hated on that kid? Even though no one really had a reason why, and most of the kids, if you talked to them individually, would say they didn’t really agree it was right to hate that kid.
It’s a mob mentality, and again, an energy phenomena. Predominant energy, that is continually fed, attracts more of the same energy. It’s hard to stop it once it starts. No amount of pleading, begging, defending oneself, or screaming one’s truth will overcome it.
Bullying is rooted in a lack of self-worth and a predator style of getting high off of power. It takes a potent, heart-felt jolt of compassion and eye-opening kindness to topple these people from their ways, but unfortunately, that rarely happens.
Everyone in the public eye has haters, yet some creatives end up being chosen as the kid to bully. And yes, it is bullying, en masse, by adults. Inexcusable. But it’s real, and if you are the kid being bullied, it is damaging. I don’t care if you’re 19 or 59, bullying can destroy you and your career unlike anything else. One of the reasons why is because those who are bullied have no way to stop their aggressors. That mob energy is fed anytime you react.
And what happens? You retreat further and further into yourself, cutting yourself off from your own voice, and end up being so isolated that you are, for all purposes, silenced. If you lash out, it fuels them. If you speak quietly, it fuels them. Your very existence fuels them. If you’re the target of bullying, read this.
It’s true that it’s not the real You they are hating. It’s your persona — a you that does not exist at all and yet, it is who the public believes you are. You learn early on that this persona is created and owned by your fans and marketing, and if you even attempt to redefine who you are, you risk your career.
They buy into their illusion hook, line, and sinker and they will turn on you if you attempt to dissuade them from their fantasy. They don’t really care who you are, they just want you to be who they believe you are. Even though it hurts the same, there is some comfort in knowing that it’s your persona they hate on.
But, guess who carries the persona? You do.
If you are a Law of Attraction believer, you know it teaches that you are attracting this hateful energy to yourself and if you change your predominant energy, it will change. I disagree. You are not the one attracting and fueling this energy. The haters are doing that and promulgating it. You can’t control their energy. Their mindset. Their decision to bully and hate. The persona they have invented. Their existence. Their reactions. Their beliefs about you.
So what can you do?
Control your own energy. Your mindset. Your spiritual beliefs. Your sense of purpose in this world. Your reactions. But most of all, what you believe about your Self. And what you choose to believe about others.
Remind yourself that the choice to react is always yours. It’s hard to know where and when to draw the line between ignoring negativity and standing up for your dignity. Usually, starving negativity drains it of energy. Engaging with a hateful person will not make them less hateful, but it will fuel their ego when a “star” gives them attention.
There may be times when you can simply shock them and perhaps influence their spiritual life by responding from an energy of higher compassion. They won’t expect that. The old adage, kill them with kindness sometimes works. But only as long as you are standing in your own power and not getting baited into futile battles. And if you aren’t in a place where you can offer higher compassion, you need to be careful not to get baited.
Plan ahead when and how you will respond. Have a playbook and know ahead of time what your conscious response will be. What subject matter will you respond to? What will you avoid? Don’t leave this to how you feel each day. Be mindful about it. Make sure your social media team is clear on this, too.
Don’t fight fire with fire. I know, it hurts, and it sucks that for the most part, you have to just take it. But at the end of the day, knowing you stayed true to who you are as a caring individual and didn’t get baited is worth it.
Don’t let those who don’t “get you” distract you from those who do. We give negative energy more importance than positive when it comes to what people say about us. Negative words are threatening and can easily cast us into self-doubt. Usually because we don’t love our Self as much as we would a partner or child — even though we must learn to do so in order to protect our Selves.
The negative words get our focus, our mind latches on to them, we ruminate. The positive words are accepted with gratitude or dismissed if we do not truly believe the praise, but they don’t eat at us.
Often it isn’t the words that trigger you, but the attitude behind them. And even more so, the way it makes you feel misunderstood and incapable of making yourself understood. That’s where the real triggers are. Because a few cruel words take you right to that place where it all swirls inside.
I ended a marriage to someone whom I could not make myself understood. This was particularly frustrating after I separated, because I wanted so badly for him to understand my reasons for why things had ended. I finally had to accept that it was not going to happen.
That sense of not being able to make yourself understood is infuriating and makes you feel invisible. In the end, you’re left to pick up your sense of Self and realize that the Other doesn’t get to decide who you are.
Their version of you is their version, but it’s not Who You Are.
You get to a point where you choose where to focus your attention and energy. If you do the work of inner-reflection to own everything that is yours to own in the situation, you can get to a point where you can train your mind to not focus energy on the situation.
When I start to mentally argue the same old issues with my ex, I tell my brain, “thank you, but no thank you,” and remind myself that I am not going to give him any more of my energy. Then I focus on something else. It sounds elementary, but you can do it. When you starve a situation of energy, it eventually deflates and dies a quiet death.
We all know we can’t stop haters (well, you can block them on Twitter, lol) but overall, they are going to show up. Elizabeth Gilbert has a great analogy that we can tweak here. It’s about fear and how fear is part of creativity. She says fear always gets a seat in the car, but it never gets to drive. The same can be said for haters. They’re part of your life, but they don’t get to define who you are, or drive your reactions.
This makes sense, but… it still fucking hurts.
All said, we still come back to the fact that cruel words hurt. Damage has been done. It’s normal to ruminate. It’s normal to be affected by it. It’s normal for the energy of those hateful words (especially if the sentiment is widespread or comes from someone you assign authority to) to seep into your sense of Self and wreak havoc. What are you supposed to do with the pain?
Take their power away by giving it back to your Self.
Anytime someone is mean to you, or directs mean energy at you, it knocks you down a bit. But here’s the thing. Do you know how when you don’t give a shit about someone, nothing they say can bother you? You just don’t care because their opinion has no authority over you. They can say whatever they want and it won’t rile you, because you don’t care what they think. They don’t matter to you. You don’t hold them in esteem.
You can take this same indifference and apply it to your haters. No doubt, you already do. So, try doing it with those few that still really get to you. Change the dynamics of your relationship with them.
But more importantly, change the dynamics of your relationship with You.
Haters can hate all they want and it won’t influence you, unless you believe what they’re insinuating. That’s when it gets to you. When there is something in the sentiment that, on some level, you fear is true or believe is true, that’s when it festers. Same goes for when your relationship with the hater is one where you expect that person to like you or support you (when you have esteem for them).
The biggest critic and hater you will ever deal with is your inner critic. When the inner critic believes something the hater has said, it will chime in and start harassing you, and run intensely hurtful thoughts through your mind.
Managing haters often comes down to really looking at what negative beliefs and fears you hold about your Self, and deciding to change them. Sometimes the only way to set yourself free from haters, is to set yourself free from the hateful self-talk.
See yourself through softer eyes
You won’t ever forget the words that stung the most, love. They are part of your journey. But you can rethink what you believe about who said it, why it was said, and most importantly, who you were when it was said. Those words changed you. They either made you hide a part of your self or they propelled you to dare to become what you weren’t.
If they made you hide or retreat, don’t berate yourself now for how you responded then. We grow into our Selves and the important thing is that you are here now, with the insight to see how hurtful words shaped you. It is not too late to reclaim those parts of you that retreated. They remain in you, waiting for you to be gentle with them.
Self-compassion is something we rarely feel. We are, all of us, by upbringing, self-haters. But compassion is what You need most from You. Compassion, not pity. Anytime you are dealing with painful words, I want you to take a step back, and imagine the situation as if someone had said that to a partner you love or to your child.
Don’t go to anger and righteous indignation. No. Look at their innocence. Look at their soft vulnerability. Look at how strong and beautiful and capable they are. Feel in your heart how much you would want them to NOT believe the painful words about them. Because you know those words are not true about them. You see the bigger picture.
Now, gently take these feelings back to your Self. You deserve just as much kindness, compassion, and to NOT believe the painful things said about you.
Always keep this in mind: painful words can’t fuck you up unless you believe those words are true about you. You hold the power to choose if they are true about you.
You are beautiful and you are loved… not for your brand name, but because you are a precious soul upon this earth.