There are going to be haters.
A couple of years ago, someone sent me an anonymous email with a link to a blog they'd created. To tell you all that is necessary, this blog was dedicated to telling the internet about how much I sucked (their words, not my own). There were about a dozen posts and a new one coming every time I pressed "Publish" on my blog. This person would wait for me to publish and then rip apart and analyze my essays. This person would attack my words, my content, and my character. They did this for a long time and they kept sending emails to make sure I got the memo.
At first, I could not help but click into the articles. I wanted to see and know what made me so bad. I would absorb them and let them fill me with shame. I didn't want to share the link with anyone because I was afraid maybe that person was right, maybe I didn’t have a voice worth putting out there. Maybe the blog would gain traction. Maybe I was a fraud. It's easier said than done to ignore the critics and the people who think you're not worthy to live on this planet. You tell yourself you won't see the hate but, a lot of the times, you do.
I can't tell you the critics won't come. If you write on the internet, you will likely-- at some point-- become the scapegoat for someone who is having a hard day. Brace for impact. That blog wasn’t the only ounce of hatred that has spilled into my lap. There have been others. But I’ve learned to look at the criticism differently.
Jon Acuff once wrote about people who criticized him and it has stuck with me ever since. He said that whenever he reads a bad review or a hateful comment, he reminds himself that this is someone who has never met him and cannot vouch for him in real life. Someone who doesn’t know you has no right to critique you.
You cannot allow the fear of criticism be the thing that keeps you back from putting your voice out there. Writing stirs things inside of people. It causes a reaction. Good ones. Bad ones. Some people are just angry. They are angry with their lives and how they unfolded. They are angry with spouses. They are angry with themselves. Sometimes a writer on the Internet gets the brunt of that anger.
It is easier to create an anonymous email, write a blog about someone you don't know, and publish it online than it is to face people in real life.
So what do you do? Do you never read the harsh comments? Do you get some super psychic radar that screams at you, "DON'T OPEN THIS EMAIL BECAUSE IT'S ABOUT TO GET BAD!!!!!!"? Do you believe them when they kick you down?
While you don't have to take their words to heart, it's hard not to. You tell yourself you won't stare at the bad but you do anyway. You take it to heart sometimes. You can get 1,000 kind comments and yet your brain will gravitate to the 1 star review on Amazon that tells you how horrible you are, how you should never breathe again.
Criticism will paralyze you if you let allow it to. And this is why you must keep moving. You need to see the lemons and keep making your lemonade. If there are haters then that likely means you are doing something good, something valuable, something they wish they could do too.
This fine stranger, the one who dedicated a blog to my suckage as a human, definitely didn't like the day I fought back with words. I took their lemons-- bitter and bruised-- and I wrote about how, if we let them, other people will paralyze us. They will keep us moving forward. They will stand in our way and stomp on our dreams. That angry person only gets the credit if they succeed. If we accept what they say as truth for our lives then we hang out on their level.
So don't let them win. Don't let them throw a party with your losses. Don't let them rejoice, thinking they've shut you up for good. Shove it back to the person with the angry words and do something they are going to hate: take another step. Write another thing. Publish another anthem. Find another avenue. Just Keep Going, no matter the adversity.
You bounce back. You always come back, even when you don't feel like it. I mean, the Internet is about an audience. It's crazy to think you will always win over every person who comes across your words. Accept the critics. Nod your head. Keep creating.
Remember this: we are all human- hurting in some form or fashion. Some of us deal with the pains gracefully and others have no clue what to do with all the pain inside of them. That, to me, is more heartbreaking than any mean blog or bad critic.
This world is full of needs. Your existence and your creations fills some of those needs. Focus more on those needs than the people who try to shut you down. In the words of the wise sage Taylor Swift- haters are absolutely going to hate. Let them. You can't stop them anyway. Shake it off and get back to your creation process.