Haters Just Gonna Hate: 3 Steps for Overcoming Negative Criticism

Ever run into that person who's always got a critical thing to say? Ever feel like there are some people you'll just never win with? Ever been dealt a load of complaining or negativity that has left you beaten? This post is for you!  

How do you overcome "haters"? I heard it again this morning--some wisdom from pop culture that is uncharacteristically right on! "Haters just gonna hate!" That is to say, critical, negative people are always going to bring just that, and if you're going to rise above where you are today, you've got to figure out what strategies will help you put it behind you.  Here are 3 simple steps:

  1. Recognize that criticism doesn't mean the critic knows how to fix it or do it better. Maybe you've made the pitch for your company or you've delivered a speech about something you care about or you put yourself out there in some other way.  Critics will often be some of the first people to tell you why it wasn't any good.  These same people can likely tell you why the Super Bowl MVP last year could've been stronger or how the visiting Harvard professor could have been more informed, but it doesn't mean they're any good at football or academic pursuits.  They may just be negative.  That takes a lot off of you.  It means you need to listen less to what they have to say.  Some people are just wired to come back at everything with a negative response.  I've spent a lot of time trying new things in my life and find that people who don't have the courage to try the unconventional or the unorthodox or the risky are the very people who are first to criticize shining success.
  2. Distance yourself from incessantly negative people.  I've run into negative people everywhere I've been.  In foreign cultures, in the Church, among ministers and among business people, saints and sinners--negative, complaining, critical people are everywhere. They'll wear you down and teach you their ways.  Do you best to get away from them. Especially when you're trying something that requires you to put yourself out there or take a risk--don't ask their opinion.  Sometimes these people bright and can see the flaws in any sort of idea or project.  However, plenty of other bright people are not stuck on the negative.  Take the advice of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:14,  “Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining…” (The Amplified Bible).  
  3. Keep your own negativity in check.  It's easy to think you're just giving feedback or telling the truth when you speak your mind or opinion about an issue.  The most successful people I know in interpersonal relationships are those who are slow to speak and come up with thoughtful ways of expressing negative feedback.  So much in the book of Proverbs in the Bible talks about the power of the tongue and how wisdom and foolishness are seen in what comes out of a person's mouth.  Here are a couple of examples: "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise" (10:19).  "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from trouble" (21:23).
This is not to say that there's never a good moment to speak truth to someone who has clearly failed or needs to hear negative truth.  The most faithful people in my own life to me are those who let me know clearly when I've made a mistake.

My comments here, however, are about how people with a negative spirit need to be put aside.  Haters just gonna hate, and you and I need to figure out how to leave their hate behind.  

Teddy Roosevelt's words have lifted me many times when I've felt let down by haters.  He seems to have figured a lot about this dynamic out!  

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.  --President Theodore Roosevelt, speech, "Citizenship in a Republic"
Check out Tim Parson's recent blog on this subject by clicking here!   

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