Our words can inspire greatness. They can also tear each other down. Whether we’re aware of it or not, whatever we focus on, whatever we put energy into, grows, and that growth can either flourish or fester.
A friend of mine wrote a book. An enchanting book that enthralled me end to end. A book that drew tears when I finished reading it because I was so damn proud of her. A book that drew spiteful remarks from some stranger on a social network … and I seriously had to bite my tongue when I saw this particular review because this stranger’s remarks were mean and totally baseless.
And even though my friend knew on an intellectual level that none of what this stranger said was true (like the claim that the book was filled with poor sentence structure, or that the development process was rushed, that it wasn’t written from the heart), she was still hurt, and doubt in her talent flared.
It got me thinking about haters. And why they hate. This stranger’s review wasn’t the tiniest bit helpful. Not to the author, not to potential readers. So what is it then? Do haters think that, in embodying the scathing critic, it shows some kind of higher intelligence? That it gives them power? That it makes them better than the rest of us?
Anytime anyone of us cares deeply about something, we open ourselves to haters. Whether it’s writing a book, raising a child, baking a cake, or doing our jobs. Hell, sometimes all it takes is stepping out the front door or posting a selfie. What we wear, how we look, how much we weigh … it’s all open to random attack.
Sometimes haters just come with the job. As writers, filmmakers, artists, we are particularly aware of the intense vulnerability of pouring our souls into a project and releasing it into the world. It’s just something we have to accept as part of the job, and we have to learn how to deal with rejection in healthier ways.
But that doesn’t mean it’s okay for people spew fountains of abuse.
I’m human. There aren’t always flowers coming out my mouth. Because it’s so easy to be the critic. What isn’t so easy is to inspire people. To light fires in their souls, to feed them courage … that is a way more impressive show of skill.
You want to rant about something? Find a cause. Be a voice for those who can’t speak. There’s far more power and grace in that than in shredding someone’s idea/ creation/ accomplishment to pieces with unjust, unfounded, unsolicited criticism and petty nitpicking that tears at beauty and pulls people down.
Or hey, try a little constructive criticism on for size. Dare to build a framework that people can climb upon to reach new heights. Because we all have a level of impact. All of us. We can be the haters or we can be the change.
I want to live in a world where people lift each other up. Not step on their throats.