It isn't an unknown fact that celebrities like Justin Bieber and Rihanna attract attention from both fans and agitated observers alike. However, I began to wonder if several thousand fans were suffering from an undiscovered breed of paranoia after the word "hater" appeared in the comments section of several different articles about a million times.
Comments like "Don't let the haters get you down! They're just jealous!" from fans weighed down the comment on unfavorable reviews of Justin Bieber's new movie, Believe. I wanted to poke my eyes out and found myself wondering if there were truly that many haters in word. What else would cause fans to feel like they needed to jump to the aid of their idol online?
According to the Urban Dictionary, a hater is "a person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success, so rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person."
Wait a second.
Exposing a flaw in someone isn't always a bad thing.
The first time I told someone about my dream of being a writer, I was told that I needed to learn to love criticism. Why on Earth would I love hearing someone point out everything that was wrong with my story?
Then we started to peer edit each other's work in school. "Constructive criticism only," My teacher instructed. "Make sure that you're giving your partner something that will improve their writing."
We don't like being told that we aren't perfect, especially if it's at something that we pour our hearts into: sports, music or even schoolwork. We like to imagine that everything we do is wondrous.
But that's not how it works.
Sometimes we don't notice our flaws, or we ignore them because we don't want to admit that they exist. That's how people pointing out your flaws can be a good thing. If these weaknesses aren't brought to light, how else are we supposed to rid ourselves of them?
Look, I understand that sometimes people are downright nasty. The secret is recognizing an opportunity to learn. Sometimes snippets of advice are hidden at the bottom of the criticism chest.
1. Ask for clarification. Sometimes people make remarks that you might not understand. If you ask them to repeat themselves, you'll be able to understand better.
2. Get a second opinion. If more than one person is saying the same thing, chances are that you might need a bit more work on your craft.
3. Don't be afraid to disagree. You have to remember that criticism is often based on someone else's opinion. The fact is that you just won't agree with certain people, and that's perfectly fine. Take what you can get and be on your merry way. It's like unwrapping a candy bar. Throw away the wrapper and bite into the yummy stuff.
4. Take a break. It's all right to say that you aren't interested in someone else's opinion. It can be draining to analyze someone else's ideas. Accepting criticism is about bettering yourself, after all. If you try too hard to bend to everyone else's will, do you really have a say?
5. Remember that humans aren't perfect. Maybe criticism of Justin Bieber's work bothers some of his fans because they have built him up to be an untouchable idol. Realizing that he has flaws and isn't perfect may cause people to realize that he's only human, just like our flaws humanize the rest of us.
Overall, think of the rewards! Learning to embrace your flaws will make you stronger. If people try to use them against you, you'll already be at terms with them and it won't bother you as much.
Aristotle once said "criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing."
No one is going to waste their time to give you criticism unless you've caught their attention. If you're on the receiving end of criticism, chances are that you've done something pretty substantial to gain this attention in the first place. Be proud of yourself! Remember that with great success, comes great attention.
But then again, maybe the haters are just out to get you.
In that case, don't let them bring you down.