Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Hate In The Age Of Hashtags: Surviving Animosity

Finding out someone hates us can be pretty alarming. It threatens our sense of belonging, makes us question our worth, and leads to rumination if we don’t understand where the hatred comes from.

In the pre-internet era, making enemies happened infrequently enough that we didn’t need a guide to deal with our feelings of rejection. Plus, we often did something to deserve it. So their resentment also served as an opportunity to learn and grow. 

But today, we can affect so many people that upsetting even a fraction can create an army of livid foes, even if we didn’t have it coming. 

And without guidance, we’ll take the ire of our modern haters as an emergency. Even if it’s completely unwarranted and they pose no threat to us. 

Now we’re scrambling to look for a way to redeem ourselves and avoid damnation. But there’s nothing to understand or fix. And there’s no real danger.

We’re afraid of disgruntled people who have no power over us only because we put them in charge of evaluating our right to exist. A sweet, but naïve gesture. Although others can teach us a great deal, many strangers have no interest in giving us constructive feedback.

And that’s precisely what we need to look out for.

When we’re the target of another person’s judgment, we need to identify if they’re trying to educate or eradicate us.

In other words, does their message seem more kind or cruel?

Anyone who seeks to hurt us should instantly be recognised as a broken individual who currently has nothing to teach us. They’re simply miserable and looking for company. And we have no reason to take their comments and actions to heart, nor is it wise for us to change their minds.

Everyone’s allowed their own narrative. So if we’re the villain of someone else’s story, our best option is to make peace with it. 

Only the person who’s careful with our feelings and articulate about our wrongdoings should be the focus of our concern. They might have shared something we need to hear. And if our aim is to become better people, we want to do our best to listen to them.

Stop worrying about the mindless haters and start listening to the mindful critics.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach