We all know them. They're often referred to as "haters", "naysayers", "the Peanut Gallery", or "crabs in a barrel". They''re the ones who are stuck at the bottom of life's totem pole, and because they have remained stagnant, they want you to do the same. Anytime you try to elevate yourself or move forward they are the ones saying,
"Who does (s)he think (s)he is?!?"
"That ain't gonna work."
They sit around and shake their heads as you make moves. They suck their teeth at the very mention of your forward progression. They laugh at your dreams and your plans for the future. If you stumble along the way, it makes them joyous. They gather in groups and talk about you. They pray for your downfall. When you do achieve success, they watch from the sidelines with their fingers crossed that you'll fall flat on your face. And they love to accuse you of "forgetting where you came from". They feel it's their job to remind you of who and what you once were, and they do so every chance they get.
It used to bother me that these people existed. I thought they were a waste of oxygen and a detriment to society. A few of these types came to me for "help" when what they really wanted was for me to do all the work to place them in the coveted position that they saw me in. They wanted all the things I had earned. The only difference is that they weren't willing to put in the work to get there. They wanted me to do it for them. When I refused, they turned on me and used all the energy they should have used for their upward mobility to tear me down instead.
"I opened the door for them/What else can I do?/These #!&&%$ want me to WALK for them..." ~ Jay Z "Already Home"
It's not enough to offer them a helping hand so that they can take the spot right beside you. What they really want is YOUR spot. They don't want to be LIKE you. They want to BE you. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then haters must be the equivalent of crazed stalker fans like the chick in "Single White Female"!
Recently, I've stopped seeing these people as enemies. Instead, I view them as proof of my progress. Someone once told me that when you have no "haters", you're not doing anything worthwhile. Anyone who is making moves will attract jealousy from those who haven't had the courage to make any moves of their own. Thinking of it that way has allowed me to see the "haters" as victims. They are plagued by a disease that won't allow them to applaud someone else's progress because they lack the conviction to do anything of substance themselves.
I've come to realize that your success can make other people feel badly about their own station in life. Seeing you soar to such glorious heights makes them feel inferior. It's not you they're mad at. They're really angry with themselves. And if you set a goal and achieve it, it only hightlights their own lack of effort. It's easier for them to sit around and talk about you and how you "think you're all of that" than it is for them to be brave and try something new for themselves.
You buy a new car, and they get mad at themselves for not having the money to do the same. You buy a new house and they get angry that their credit score isn't high enough to get one of their own. You get married and they are reminded that they can't find a good spouse. You get a good job, and they wish they had the motivation to get up, get out and get something. You go on vacation and they get pissed that they haven't saved enough money to travel, too. They dislike you because you represent all of the things that they wish they could be. But instead of doing something about it, instead of changing their behavior for the better, they spend their time and energy wishing you ill will. In truth, they do not dislike you at all. In fact, they wish they could be more like you. Their negativity towards you is misplaced bitterness about their own lack of progression.
After all, we're not the ones they're really mad at.
Wave "Hi" to your haters today. Who knows? You could inspire them to get off the sidelines and join the race!