What We Focus On We Find: wHaters gonna WHat?
“Haters gonna hate.” We hear it all the time. Personally–although I totally understand the sentiment of the phrase–I’m not a fan of the idea of “haters.”
I mean, I get it. Not everyone is on my side of every issue, every passion, every platform, every opinion. There are those (probably many) whose core values differ from mine. I have people in my life, just like everyone else, who are motivated by keeping me “safe”–they don’t want to see me hurt–so they may encourage me to stay small and avoid the risk of “arrows” or “haters.” Does that mean these people hate me?
I don’t choose to see it that way. Maybe that’s why I never feel under attack.
In fact, I had a little (tiny, miniscule, really) experience the other day that could have been labeled as “haters gonna hate.” Someone from my childhood, someone I care about deeply–I called her my second mom–commented on one of my positive social media posts. (At least in MY opinion it was a positive post…) Her comment basically told me that I am taking too much room in the social media feed and that “we all would like to hear from someone else.” I will admit that it took me aback for a few minutes. How could someone I care about take time to say something so “hurtful” about something that was 100% intended to lift people up?! I choose not to believe that this comment was meant to hurt my feelings, and even if it was, I choose not to feel hated.
I am not a subscriber to hate. I understand too much about human psychology to believe that people are motivated by hate. There are several theories about what motivates people. I personally resonate with Maslow’s Theory of Self-Actualization.
Every human being has two basic emotional needs:
- to know they are safe
- to know they matter
Until these needs are met, people will seek for safety and significance. To many, different is unsafe, and to some, that triggers an instinct to fight. The scylla and charybdis here is that safety is often perceived as “lack of risk,” so if “different” means “unsafe,” it would make sense that separating from people who are different than we are is the way to stay safe. I have learned that people who act out or speak out against me or others are often just afraid, feeling insecure, needing to know they matter to someone. When I remember this and look for the good in people–even the “haters”– 99 times out of 100, I find it. Jesus Christ taught, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
As one who is VERY aware of the principle of “opposition in all things” and of the reality of a spiritual adversary whose purpose it is to destroy the happiness of mankind, I understand that there is a real evil in this world. I don’t believe it exists in people, however. Not innately. It exists in thoughts of fear, selfishness, separation, confusion, and hatred, which can lead to reactive behaviors that look like hate.
The way to combat this confusion is not to focus on the “haters” but to have faith in all that is good–which includes people.
We are all children of God, who is Love, the very Source of all that is good. In His words, “Love one Another,” and “Be of Good Cheer.”
If we focus on the Goodness of People, we will find it.