03/27/2013 03:48 pm ET Updated May 27, 2013

How to Handle Your Haters

It seems like there is a lot of "hateration" in the air these days. All of us seem to be consumed by those pesky folks known as our "haters." This is an important topic to address because "hate" in any form is toxic to our mind, body, and souls.

I follow social media faithfully and I find that one of the topics people lament about most is "haters." Also known as people who want to tear us down, hurt our reputation, sabotage our plans, kill our dreams, or worse. I have found that the key to "handling" your haters (and mine) is to try and understand where they are in their own lives. So let's break this down so we can learn how to deal with those who mean us harm, and ignore those who simply are envious or jealous of who we are and what we have.

  1. Know the difference between someone who is petty and wants to tear you down through gossip, and someone who is out to do serious damage to your reputation, your financial interest, and/or your character. Gossips will always exist. We all engage in gossip. We need to own that truth, but the latter kind of person is dangerous and needs to be handled swiftly, directly and legally if needed.
  2. "Haters," as we like to call them, are people who are broken and stuck. They have at you because your light and your energy blind their ability to deal with themselves. Actually, we find that most people who "hate" us were once people who admired and loved us. There is indeed a "thin line," as they say, between love and hate. The admiration turns to envy, and then self-denigration. They want what you have, but are not willing to do what you had to do to get there. So they fixate on you, and blame you for what they lack. Their underlying emotion is lack of self-worth. It is so not about you or me.
  3. Haters for the most part should be our motivators. Instead of getting upset about how they attack, demean, or talk about you, look at it for what it is: You are doing something very right in your life for someone to be so consumed with and by your every word or deed. As long as they keep their distance and don't try to do you physical, relational or financial harm, they are harmless. Feel sorry for them, and keep climbing.

Let me close by sharing a personal story so you can relate to what I am saying. In the past, I have been the victim of someone's unbridled hate and attacks. What was a small thing between us turned into a very big thing. It all happened because they could not own their part in a disagreement and instead chose to cover their wrong deeds with lies. They turned people against me, held "briefings" on me, called me "gay" (I am a Christian heterosexual, which is well known), and accused me of "stalking" -- which is a criminal offense, by the way -- when in point of fact I was the one being relentlessly maligned and harmed. I would be devastated each time I heard of another attack, or got a forwarded text or email, in one case someone actually audio taped this person talking about me and sent it to me. I could have sued them for libel and slander, but I chose to overlook the offenses because foolishly, I still cared for the person.

In my hurt, however, I reacted (never a good thing) by talking about the situation on social media (not always a good idea), because I did not know how else to defend myself. Which only made them lash out at me worse. It was one of the most awful experiences of my life to date. One from which I am still trying to recover reputationally and otherwise.

What I did not grasp until recently, however, was that this person doesn't hate me, they hate their life. They are badly broken. They hide behind things, status and position. Don't miss this part: Their problem with me is that my life is my own and everything I have ever earned has been on my own. I am my own woman. I am doing great things in the world on a national level. I am authentic and transparent. I live a life of honor and character as a person of faith -- I walk the talk (no, not perfectly -- but I truly try to live a holy life). They hate my freedom, my potential, my influence and my goodness. My best days are ahead, whereas theirs are behind them. Every hand I ever extended to help lift them was taken not as help, but as rubbing more salt in their hidden wounds. I had no clue. Truly.

My point is this: Hate is never about you. It is always about them and what is missing in their lives. Always. If someone corrects you that is not "hating on you." If someone does not like you but does not go around trashing you, that is not "hating on you." Learn to discern between those who are mindless gossips and those who are dangerous character assassins. Haters hate that you are living your possible and that they don't have the courage or character to do so. They hate your light and how brightly it shines. Regardless, don't retaliate, if you need to have it stop seek legal counsel or experienced mediators; but whatever you do, don't dim your light! Pray for them, release them, and keep being you!

For more by Sophia A. Nelson, click here.

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