I talk a lot about haters, and even give a lot of advice to people dealing with haters in their lives. Everything that I have written and said I truly stand by. Those things have helped me through a lot of negativity, bullies and haters in my lifetime, but I think there is a vulnerability that I haven’t reached yet in sharing about how I actually feel when haters comment on my social media. I’ve experience my fair share and truly understand how bad it feel, so I thought I’d share.
If you’ve been following me for a while and read any of the comments, I am sure you have seen it. You can pretty much pick any post and if I haven’t already deleted or blocked the hate, then it’s there, so here goes…this is going to be the most honest thing I have ever written about the reality of how it feels when people are hateful towards me, maybe you can relate.
First off, I think that referring to people as haters can sometimes try to mask the actual pain that comes with the truly hateful words real humans choose to say to other real humans who have real feelings and real lives. Giving people the title of a “hater” almost just sounds too fun. If someone is, “just a hater” maybe it’s somehow easier to not take what they say seriously. Maybe it is, that is until you are on the other end of the hate for who you are, what you look like, or what you are doing. Hateful things hurt, not matter what you call it.
If I am being really honest there have been many times when I delete my social media and never want to post another video, picture, message, or do anything again in the public eye because of some of the haters out there and the negative comments I have received. I realize those are the dramatic moments when feelings are escalated, when I’ve just read one too many, but I want to share this because that is what hate can do to you. It can make you want to just give up.
Also, there are times I feel like it would be easier to just pose in a bikini and smile with the perfect sunlight with some caption about wanting a donut, then to actually post something that matters to me and that I believe could truly make a difference in the world. At least posting something that didn’t really represent who I really am might help shield my heart from the sting of the words that target me after I post something that actually matters to me.
The truth is, though, no matter what you do or however you choose to live your life you will experience hate at some point. I have gotten blasted about my appearance – some people think I am too skinny, others hate my hair blonde, I have had a whole page dedicated to zooming in on a pimple. I have been blasted for my shorts being too short and then made fun of for being modest. I have been criticized for talking too fast, too country, for losing my accent. I have literally had hateful comments for helping orphans in other counties by building schools and safe houses and going to visit them from people who think because I do that I’m not helping people in my own country… I mean hate is everywhere with anything and it can make you not want to go anywhere or do anything.
I was young when my social media became really big. I was 17 when I hit 1 million followers. It was pretty much overnight and then hundreds of thousands more over the years put me now at over 5 million through my platforms. I’m grateful for that and believe there is a purpose in all of that, but before the crazy thing is before I knew who I was, or who I wanted to be it felt like everyone else was commenting on who they thought I was or thought I should be. I remember feeling so overwhelmed.
It is an interesting thing to navigate through when it seems like everyone knows who I am but me.
I did not know what God was doing by calling me. Why would he call a girl who was scared she didn’t even know who she was, felt like a hypochondriac, was struggling through some relationship problems, and would find myself crying in the bathroom from a bully at school? Reading even what I am now writing I see it was the perfect timing to call a 17 year old girl who would have to completely and utterly depend on the God of the Universe Himself to carry her through the journey I was just beginning to say yes to. As time went on I began to find confidence in who He was, and what He was calling me to and I started to think much less about who I was and more about who He is. I started to realize that my life wasn’t about getting the praise of man, but was about bringing glory to the one who made me.
That right there, that moment when I started to think about myself less and Him more was the turning point for me, and that is probably my greatest piece of advice I could give you to walk out the calling on your life and survive the hatefulness of the world. More of him, less of you.
The next thing that changed everything for me, when I am struggling with the haters is to remember that the God I serve actually really loves the haters. Those people who blast me online, he loves them, and he is asking me to love them too. There is no greater example of someone loving their enemies than Jesus. That is humbling to the core. It is not only humbling, but it is extremely challenging. First that would mean that I can not let the hateful words that people say about me make grow hate in my heart for them, and secondly and sometimes this is even more challenging, I can’t let the hate they throw at me make me hate myself. How am I to love others if I don’t realize the love God has for me and I can’t love myself?
These are the revelations I have to return to every day to be able to continue to post, preach, do videos, write, record podcasts and otherwise fulfill my purpose.
I could just quit it all and go live my life with my husband, my family and close friends out of the public eye, but I want to live a life of purpose and I believe that a true purpose is never selfish and is very rarely easy. I pray that the things I post are never just to boost my ego, or get a lot of likes, because I know that will not truly satisfy my own real desire and the desire that we all as humans have, to live a life of meaning and love.
You have heard me say it before and I will say it again – you will not experience the true depth of love just by being liked or just by liking others who like you back. You will experience the depth of love when you feel known and are loved anyway, and when you love others not because of what they do for you, but because God loved them first. If you do not allow your true self to be known to the people around you no matter how many likes, comments, or compliments that you get on social media – you will not feel satisfied in your truest desire to love and be loved, and you will crumble in the face of hate. But if the way you live your life online and off is out of a place of already knowing you are loved by the God who created you before a single like or comment, you will be able to stand up under whatever hate you might experience and remain true to your original self God made you to be and the calling He has placed on your life.
It is a lot easier to take a hateful comment about yourself, when you are living for something bigger than yourself.
- Does the hate still bother me? Yes, it does bother me.
- Does the hate still hurt? Sometimes.
- Do I ever cry, because of the hateful things people say? Yes, sometimes I do but mainly it’s not so much out of hurt but out of frustration.
- Will I stop doing what I am doing because of the hate? Never. Simply because what I am doing is not about me.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
One final disclaimer: My team at LO and I do delete and block people from my pages that say hateful comments and here’s why: I truly desire for my social media to be a place people come to be encouraged and enlightened. The hateful comments seem to just breed more negativity and arguments back and I try to keep my page from being about that. The bible talks about guarding our heart because it is the wellspring of our life. This is a way to guard our hearts and the hearts of those following me from mean-spiritedness, so that’s why we do it and will continue to. We all need to realize the power we have to guard our hearts in our own lives. When someone is being hateful to us in person, we can and should walk away. I call it “getting out of the car,” that might be a story for another day, ha! But we also have the power on our social media to control who speaks into our lives and the block and delete button is one way to do that.