Off My Chest: Why We Should Be Grateful for Our "Haters"

When you spend as much time on Twitter and Facebook as I do, you know that there are certain recurring, seemingly universal themes in your stream of tweets and status updates. One of the most persistent topics is “haters” (also known as “h8ters” and “hatas”), people who for no good reason but pure jealousy are out to get you, put you down, hold you back. Particularly on Twitter, people devote an awesome amount of tweets to their haters.

For some people, the thought of having haters is as fascinating as wondering about life on other planets. And just as pointless. (Curiously, people respond to or talk about their haters, but they rarely block them.) What’s to gain from obsessing about it? My point of view is this: We need to stop hating on our haters. Without them, we probably would not ever come close to achieving our full potential, much less greatness. That’s right, I said it. If you want to be great and do great things, be grateful for haters—you need them.

Have the courage to ask yourself: Could my haters be right? What do they see that my supporters don’t—or do, but don’t have the guts to say? Those who openly oppose you are often the ones who see you most clearly. Just because someone is envious of you, disagrees with you or does not like you does not necessarily mean that their views are totally inaccurate and that you have nothing to learn from them.

In fact, my experience has shown just the opposite. It’s mostly my haters, not my friends, family or “peeps,” who refused to pretend I looked good in that $100 suit, that my presentation skills didn’t suck or that my writing was genius. Friends are full of dishonest approval—they’ll tell you what makes you feel good. After all, they don’t want to discourage you, hurt your feelings or get you mad at them. Haters are far more honest in their criticism than your supporters are in their praise.

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