One of the most valuable life lessons I have learned is simple: don’t pay attention to the “haters”. Giving too much power to people’s opinions is the same as “people-pleasing.” A “people pleaser” puts God in a substandard, or secondary, position in their lives all while elevating the opinions of people. He doesn’t deserve to be there. He deserves to be up top and the jealous, nosy people do not. If you’re wondering what I mean by “haters”, let me explain. Some folks view anyone as a ‘hater’ who disagrees with them or doesn’t do what they want them to do. I don’t consider those people haters myself. By “haters” in this post, I’m talking more about jealous friendships and those who seem to always put you down even though they purport to be helping you.
In my opinion, a hater is a person who is intentionally envious of you or who does not wish you well.
The scary part about it is a hater can actually be a buddy a family member or even a mate.
Yes, I said it.
Sometimes insecure husbands can be haters and be miserably jealous of your gifts or talents. Again, they manifest their “hatership” by either putting down your ideas or efforts. In these jealous friendships, they can say things like “No, that won’t work” or “Someone else is already doing that, why should you try?”
It would be one thing if these folks were strangers, but the hardest part is they are supposed allies. They are supposed to be people I can trust, but I cannot. *sigh*
For sure, the sneakiest haters hide behind friendships or relationships. In these jealous friendships, they smile at you all while discouraging you from trying new things or pursuing your dreams.
Haters can also be critical. For example, they can see you wearing the same red suit as someone else, but purposely say the other person looks better in it. Even if it is true, a true friend would not do that. A hater would.
One example is when I started wearing a particular hairstyle, that same person said “I don’t like that on you.” The funny thing is once I was getting compliments about it she asked if I could do her hair the same way. Wild right?
The style was crochet braids. You can click here and see some of the styles she criticized.
A small disclaimer about jealous friendships
Now before you continue, please get me straight: I’m not advocating treating people badly or to be uncaring. No, but I do advocate for putting the opinions of others in a proper perspective.
Take the “meat” and leave the “bones” of what others say. In other words, take the “good” stuff (or beneficial) information they say to you. Sometimes, this “good stuff” may not always feel good, but if it is rooted in wisdom – adhere to it. Nurse your emotional wounds and put the advice into practice.You can mistake good counsel as someone being a hater. Know the difference. Click To Tweet
Once, someone told me the reason I was so stressed out was likely because I wasn’t spending enough time with the Lord. She was right. That comment “cut” me, but it was wisdom. She is not what I would consider a hater.
Had a hater commented on the same situation, he or she may have said “And you call yourself a Christian and you’re all stressed out.”
See the difference? One was intended to make me better while the other was likely trying to minimize or hurt me.
It’s about intent and relationship. Consider the following as you handle the Christian haters:
Analyze your suspected jealous friendships:
Ask yourself honestly: “Is this person a friend or foe?”
Just like in my example above, plenty of times I received advice that hurt my feelings, but it was good for me. I needed it.
It instructed me and got me on a good, healthy path. In those situations, I absolutely knew the person meant to do me good – so I listened.
The first step in knowing how to handle haters is to know who is one and who is not.
Cultivate a mental (and spiritual) “filter” for the information you receive/reject.
- Is this true?
- Does this person have a history of helping me or criticizing me?
- What is the person’s expertise on the subject?
Or, are they discouraging me from starting my project and they have NO history of doing anything creative themselves? If they do, were they successful? In other words, do they know what they are talking about, or just flapping their gums?
An absolute MUST is to pray and ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. He can reveal the haters and help you discern someone’s intention.
Don’t let “haters” get to your heart…Guard your heart.
For me, getting to this place of guarding my heart has been a long journey in self-awareness and spiritual growth. It took time.
As a young girl, I cared entirely too much about what people thought of me. Oh, how and I longed for their unattainable approval.
This longing for acceptance and approval turned into extreme teenage rebellion. Girl, I was a mess until I reached about 17 and gave my life to the Lord.
Reflecting back, I think I was worn out.
I was so tired of trying to “fit in” and gain approval. When I reached my breaking point, I decided to break all the rules and do my “own thing”. I figured I’d go ahead and earn the “F” those people always seemed to give me regardless of how hard tried to please them. Bitterness and frustration became encrusted on my young heart.
Sadly, I assumed a “to heck with them” mentality. Although “heck” wouldn’t have been the word I would have chosen back then!
Be careful how you criticize your teenagers. They really take it to heart. As a mother of a teen, this hits me in the gut. I have to do better. I cannot let my high expectations make my kid’s heart bitter.
Back to jealousy in friendships.
Jesus didn’t fix my hater problem. Instead, He eventually gave me wisdom to handle them.
As I grew into my twenties – a young Christian – I found myself still stuck on the people-pleasing roller coaster.
I struggled to please everyone at church–the older women, my pastor’s wife, and the ladies in my social circle. They seemed to not accept me as I was and it was affecting how I felt about myself. Besides that it was exhausting and it was draining because no matter what I did, I always felt I was the “odd man” out. It was a hard time.
Eventually, it occurred to me: people cannot be your barometer or the measuring stick in life.
You simply can’t let people’s opinions or feelings about you control who you are or what you do. The other day, I watched Alanis Morissette on the Kelly Clarkson Show. She shared some useful advice. It was actually from her dad but was so valuable.
He said three types of people exist in the world:
- those who love you and you can do no wrong,
- those who hate you and you can do no right
- those who couldn’t care less about you.
Surely, you’ll see in the video her father used more colorful language, but he was so right nonetheless.
Fast forward the scroller to 4.21 to see the advice live.
Jesus did not miraculously deliver the people involved in my jealous friendships. He did, however, give me the wisdom and strength to amend those relationships, as necessary. In fact, I was released to actually end one, but another was more complicated. It was a family member.
Family can be jealous of you too…just as much as strangers can.
All my life she had something critical to say to me. Some demeaning or the “nice nasty” jabs. She’d say something like that “that shirt would be cute if you had something to put in it.” Sure, those things seemed like jokes, but they hurt my feelings.
She also used social media to do it. On just about anything I posted, If she commented at all, I could always expect it to be snarky.
Most of the time, she wouldn’t even reply but would text me expressing some fault she found with my post or a t-shirt design I created.
The funny thing is when God gave me some success, she was among the first ones to be impressed and tell people I was her relative.
People are funny.
In order to salvage our relationship, I had to reclaim the power I’d given her. Next, I had to genuinely forgive her and finally, I had to set some boundaries. I also had to tell myself to “heck” with the haters and maybe end jealous friendships
Once you figure out who your number 2’s are (see above…as mentioned in Alannis Morrisette’s video), go ahead and release the need to please those folks AND limit their access to your world.
Now that I’m much older, I love the liberty of walking my own path and following Jesus’ direction in my life. No outside approval is needed and is rarely solicited.
They ain’t going anywhere, Girl
Christian Woman, I finally reconciled tongue-waggers, criticizers and copy-cats will always be around to weigh in and, consequently, add a burden to my life.
That saying “haters will hate” – is more than a song. It’s a reality!
Seriously, though, you can’t escape it. You just have to learn how to navigate around it.
If those people are posing as friends, I suggest you change your relationship with them UNLESS God is calling you to it. Sometimes, I think He forces us to be in relationships with difficult people to be “salt” and “light” to them.
Other times He uses them to humble us and help us learn patience.
What do you think?
After all, Jesus knew what Judas was up to and He still hung with Him.
Give them ZERO power!
By all means, I don’t want you to let them inhibit you or prevent you from fulfilling your dreams.
Just love them and pray for them.
But, do not allow their foolish conversations and personal opinions to upset you or bring you down.
If you do, your Godly ambitions will be nothing more than that…ambitions or ideas. You’ll be too doubtful to pursue them. Too fearful to advance.
God doesn’t want that for you.
Instead, pray and then MOVE FORWARD!
You know, I’ve never watched a bio-pic or read a book about an important person who allowed the “haters” to keep them down. No, they are always about people who tried, endeavored, and attempted – in spite of the haters!
Be that sort of sister – one who goes for it and ignores the haters!"Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you." Proverbs 20:22 Click To Tweet
What qualifies them anyway, Girl?
I’ll tell ya, few experiences hurt me more than seeing talented, Spirit-filled women impeded by the opinions of people who are “stuck” themselves.
That’s like someone who can’t figure out how to make a cake giving instructions and advice on making a delicious scrumptious one.
Get outta here!
Before I try to bake a cake, I want someone who is a rockin’ baker to give me advice, wouldn’t you? Sure you would, so don’t allow an unqualified person space in your head with their unnecessary and less-than-benevolent critiques. Assess the sum total of their lives before you take a person’s advice.
As with my family member, I had to have a conversation with her. I warned her I unfriend her [both online and offline] if she didn’t stop seeing only my faults and heckled my every move.
Put your confidence in the One who will help you and possibly guide you to Godly people to instruct you.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-6
Go for it, Christian Lady!
Try new things, and dream big dreams!
After all, people who take the time to unproductively criticize you are usually stranded in a dark, doldrum themselves. Being stuck, mistreated, or undervalued may have made them haters. Have compassion for them, but keep it moving!
The truly spiritually mature and spiritually healthy people are usually too busy with their own life’s mission to be condemning yours.
Be kind to haters, walk in love, but do not allow them to stifle you.
Trust, obey, create your plan and advance it in Jesus’ name. Agree? Disagree? Tell me below!
Articles and Stuff on Jealous Friendships
“Your Fortune, Their Envy: Dealing with a Jealous Friend “
I love Karolyn Roberts “take” on this topic…