“People are probably not happy with their lives if they are busy discussing yours.”
No one likes to be the center of nasty gossip, relentless criticism, or mean spiritedness. It goes against our nature.
When we were cave men and women, being socially rejected could mean life or death, as it could effect our access to food, water, and resources. If the guy with the warmest bear skin blankets hates us, we’re probably going to be cold at night. If the best fisherman in town thinks we’re a schmuck, we better improve our foraging skills.
So, subconsciously, social rejection can feel life threatening if we let it.
And while most of us reading this are lucky enough to not have to worry about being warm enough or having enough to eat, social rejection still stings, and most of us, no matter how kind and delightful we may be, will find the nastiness of others directed at us from time to time.
If you think back to anyone who ever hated you, spread rumors about you, or was overly critical of you, I want you to ask yourself two questions. Firstly:
Would you want their life?
The answer is most likely no. People say don’t take advice from people if you wouldn’t want their life, and the same idea applies here. People who treat others like garbage, and who are quick to judge, criticize, gossip, and spread rumors, are not happy or fulfilled people.
Think of the biggest gossip you know. Someone who is quick to talk smack about others, roll their eyes, and always has some unflattering news about someone they are eager to share. I can picture mine. And from what I know about her day-in-the-life and history, you couldn’t pay me a million dollars to trade places with her.
Really, truly, imagine trading places with the person in question. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to see right through to their insecurity, shitty relationship, mental health struggles, or buried ambitions. Send them some well wishes instead. They are clearly suffering.
If they are anonymous person in the comments on the internet, you can ask yourself a revised version of this question, which is:
When I am criticizing, judging, and gossiping about others, do I feel good?
This can be a little complex since sometimes judging others makes us feel morally superior, however it’s surface level. It might make us feel good for a moment, but it’s certainly not the path to sustainable fulfillment.
Now, maybe you do receive criticism from someone you admire, who’s life looks pretty good from the outside. There’s nothing wrong with constructive criticism, and sometimes gossip is just one of those shitty things most humans do (I know I fall prey to it.) There is a difference, however, between excessive criticism and nastiness, and constructive criticism. Learn to tell the difference, and brush it off.
When you are truly happy and fulfilled, you don’t want to be a hater. It doesn’t feel good. Maybe it feels good to vent about someone to get it off your chest, or call someone on their bullshit, but when you’re busy leading a full, interesting life, you don’t have much time for gossip or low-blows.
Think back five, ten and fifteen years ago. Who was it that was bringing you down, and does it matter now?
Oftentimes, our past can bring to light our present by helping us realize IT WON’T MATTER SOON, SO IT SHOULDN’T MATTER NOW.
Not to say that nothing matters, but when you can remember the “haters” from your past, and how little impact they actually had on your future, or even how they don’t even take up mental space anymore.
This is a good tool any time you are freaking out about something, whether it’s your finances, your love life, haters, or some other disappointment. It feels insurmountable in the moment, but everything that once felt insurmountable one day becomes a blip on our radar. Remember that one day, this too, will be a blip.
Most people aren’t doing a lot of self reflecting and taking responsibility for their actions or working on healing their past. Most people go along with what everyone else is doing because that’s easy. So, it can feel shocking when you are confronted with the fact that haters are gonna hate. Think of this as a blessing, and remember all of the supportive, kind, non judgmental people you have in your life.
Plus, strong reactions aren’t necessarily a bad thing, and they often mean we’re being true to ourselves. If we shape shifted to make everyone happy we would be boring, washed-out versions of ourselves, never really doing anything innovative or making new ground. Having some people who don’t like you if often a sign of authenticity.
So, next time you’re feeling bad about someone you caught talking smack about you, and wondering what to do about haters, use these two questions to help shift your perspective, delete or block if you have to, or stand up tall, remember to breathe, and walk away. Be the bigger person, because you are.
You can always say, “Bless your heart. You ok?”