To the Haters, Thank You!

I carried around so much anger and hate. But now I try to make it a daily practice to thank the haters for lessons learned.

Can you imagine a world where you thank your haters?

The School of Hard Knocks

It might sound odd to want to give thanks to the haters, the perceived enemies, the ones who know how to push all the right buttons. But what would happen if we could look them straight in the eye and say thank you for being so kind, for being a great teacher? It might just change your day!

How can I say such a wild thing? Well, because I’ve lived it and try to practice it daily. Growing up, I had many perceived enemies from bullies physically hitting me at school to bullies beating me up at home. I carried around so much anger and hate, which spewed out of me, burning even those who were kind. What sort of life is that?

Maybe I had a horrible childhood, but eventually, I got to a point in my adult life where I said enough is enough. Instead of looking around and assigning blame on the haters, I made a decision to see them as something totally unexpected.

Haters as Teachers

There’s always going to be haters. People are going to judge you for everything from the clothes you wear to the non-organic milk you picked up at the grocery store because you had a coupon. Who cares, truly?

But in each of these situations, we have an essential decision to make. Will we engage in reacting to the judgment or act from a place of compassion? Because in reality, the ones pushing our buttons are the ones who are genuinely suffering. What other reason is there for them to be acting in such a manner.

If we can believe this with our heart, we can begin to see these folks in a new way. How kind for them to give me this opportunity to practice compassion. This compassion is driven by the fact that we understand that they’re suffering. Through this suffering, this person is acting out.

To the Head of the Class

This holiday season, we have an incredible opportunity to start this practice. Who better to help us than our own family, the ones who trigger us the best. We can imagine the Thanksgiving table set out before us as the most fantastic college course ever. How wonderful!

What’s even more inspiring is that when we practice with our closet relationships, eventually, it overflows into our communities. Over time, we see even complete strangers as teachers, especially those holding up the line in our favorite coffee shop. Over time, our sense of inner peace will grow substantially.

Without the button-pushers, I wouldn’t be the compassionate and patient person I’m today. Abusers and bullies taught me how to be healthy and to defend myself. People who outwardly judge others showed me how much suffering there is in the world. So to all the haters out there, to all my haters, I want to wish you the best New Year ever.

What Do You Think?

Is this a practice you think you could do? Maybe you’re already using a similar technique? Either way, what are some tools you use during the holiday season to keep your mental health secure? Leave a comment below!

A version of this post was previously published on CharlesminGuez and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Photo credit: istockphoto