Haters Are Optional

Posted by on Jun 12, 2012

Time is that friend that–if you’re lucky enough to have it–routinely gifts you experience, whether you deserve it or not. With each new conquered challenge comes perspective, allowing you to look at past experiences in their entirety.

Oprah asked 50 about his dog, whom he named after her as a slight. Oprah, the famous dog lover, told him she actually took it as a compliment and then laughed as she said, “You named your dog Oprah, so you could call me a bitch.” (In life, you must call it what it is.)

The joke is no longer funny. In fact, it made 50 squirm a little bit–even looking to Gayle off camera and saying, “See how different it is when she says it?”

I often say, forgive someone long before they ever give you reason to. Forgiveness is truly a beautifully selfish act; it’s the gift that you first give to yourself. Apologies are great, but if you need an apology to move on, then you aren’t ready to move on. The reality is: 50 was a gift to Oprah. He represented the opportunity to continue to teach her that there will always be someone who not only doesn’t get it, but also wants to stop you because they don’t get it.

So can you forgive an enemy? The answer is yes, but only if you first realize they’re not your enemy. Someone can only affect your life as you let them. When asked why 50 put so much energy towards hating Oprah he said, “I couldn’t be your friend, so I made myself your enemy so I could at least co-exist.”

You know what a “hater” really is? A “hater” is someone who just wants to be included, whether it’s through opposition or acceptance. By taking the defensive, you’ve given them life. Now they’ve got the shine they’ve been looking for. Don’t love your hater; that’s ridiculous. Don’t go into war claiming to love your opponent. Instead, don’t go into war. Refuse to acknowledge them as haters.

Haters are optional: you only have them, if you want them.

Oprah remained relatively quiet on 50’s campaign against her, for years. You didn’t see her coming across a table at 50 on TV. Oprah didn’t slam him in blogs. She didn’t defend herself in interviews. Instead, she said nothing. And six years later, here is 50, inviting Oprah to his home for her show. Ignore a pest long enough and they’ll either give up or change their approach.

Every time I see some ridiculous televised fight between adults, over nothing of real importance, I can’t help but to think ‘are they really that clueless?’ What someone does to you is a direct reflection of them. The only real reflection of you is how you choose to react. You want to fight it out over something someone said behind your back? Cool. You’ve just given truth to every word that was whispered. You want to speak to anyone who will listen about how much you can’t stand another person? Alright. But that’s time and energy taken away from your life and given to theirs.

Or you can focus on you. Put your efforts towards something you can control, surrounding yourself with people who see and encourage the vision. And eventually the “hater” will get the message and either let it go or return with their hat in their hands.

Then be ready to offer forgiveness. Remind them why they wanted your attention in the first place.

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