6 Reasons To Love Your Haters

Drop Dead Gorgeous / Amazon.com
Drop Dead Gorgeous / Amazon.com
When my haters first started filing in, I reacted predictably: defensive, confused, and kind of upset. Then, about three hours later, I remembered that Byron had “mocked Keats for letting bad reviews get to him,” and I was over it. Because think about it, what’s more stressful: to be loved, adored and worshipped, or to be hated? In both cases your work is still getting attention, but only in the former are you pressured to maintain excellence… It’s kind of nice down here, where the haters hate — quiet, too. But mostly calming, with the knowledge that there’s nowhere else to go but up.

1. They’ll keep you loyal to your roots.

In his novel Money, Martin Amis wrote about New York City,

The city is fully of these guys, these guys and dolls who bawl and holler and weep about bad luck all the hours there are. I read in a magazine somewhere that they’re chronics from the municipal madhouses. They got let out when money went wrong ten years ago…

An accurate and succinct description of New Yorkers, if you ask me. And as a native New yorker, I feel it’s my duty to maintain this standard. But it can be hard, as winter turns to spring and Andrew Sullivan quotes me. That’s why I don’t just like my haters, but require them: if I’m feeling too relaxed or jovial, all I have to do is pop open my latest article and quickly scan the comments to awaken the vulgar and petulant New Yorker living inside of me.

2. Having haters is humbling.

Confidence is important and great and yada yada yada…Why doesn’t anyone ever tout the benefits of low self-esteem? Because let me tell you: there are many. With low standards, you’ll always get high rewards. And who wants someone cocky hanging around anyway? It’s suspicious and unnerving, but mostly unpleasant.

3. They help facilitate a tough exterior.

Ask me if I’m physically strong, and I’ll tell you no, point-blank…I’m not here to fool around. But ask me if I’m virtually strong and I’ll bet your ass I am. Come at me online with your best insult and I will literally not see it because nothing could possibly get better than being called Meg from Family Guy (if I’m reading this correctly):

(To be clear, that wasn’t a challenge.)

4. They keep you on your funny toes.

A good sense of humor has a very intimate relationship with low-self-esteem. Look at any successful comedian and you’ll notice that a penchant for self-loathing and self-flagellation is the fuel that burns his or her witty and sardonic fire. It makes sense, too; constant compliments and flattery are the foundations for a dimensionless, nuance-less person. In Dostoyevsky’s “Bobok,” he writes,

And as to madness, a great many people were put down as mad among us last year. And in such language! “With such original talent …. …and yet, after all it appears” … “however, one ought to have foreseen it long ago.” That is rather artful; so that from the point of view of pure art one may really commend it. Well, but after all, these so-called madmen have turned out cleverer than ever. So it seems the critics can call them mad, but they cannot produce anyone better.

5. They can be funny too.

But only if you can detach your personal feelings from their hate. Then they’re fucking hilarious. To illustrate:

6. And SOMETIMES (but rarely) they make a good point.

Usually it’s some sort of grammar error or typo. Typically the commenter is exceedingly proud of him or herself for detecting it and will comment in such a way that would lead an impartial outsider to believe you run an underground human trafficking service. But then again, who knows — that’s just my experience. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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