Call ‘em haters. Trolls. Anti-superfans.
Whatever you call them, their words can sting, especially for those of us tender-hearted souls (🙋🏼♀️ Hey! It me).
As the owner of multiple brands, I’ve had my fair share of haters, especially with our company Cedar Bound. For whatever reason, we have a higher number of folks who feel the need to express (quite vocally) how much they dislike…our design. Our concept. Our prices. The fact that we exist.
There’s a big but (and I can not lie).
Never in my years of business ownership, have I experienced so many people who abso-freaking-lutely LOVE what we’re doing. Who’ve followed our story from the beginning. Who are cheering for us, telling their friends, saving up for their own cabin kits, and sporting their Cedar Bound uniforms proudly, pom poms flailing.
And it’s made me realize the power of polarization. Of having a unique perspective, of doing something weird or wacky or innovative. It repels people, sure — but it also has the power to attract the people who truly GET IT. And in turn, they’ll support you ‘til the end of time.
Because guess what? You can’t be for everyone. Yes — you can be inclusive and warm and welcoming — but if your goal is to make everyone happy, you’ll end up making no one happy (including yourself).
Be willing to have haters, and you’ll begin creating more boldly. And in turn, your ride-or-die peeps will show up in full force.
With all that said: Unsolicited criticism still sucks.
Consider the source.
Droppin’ some Brene Brown your way — one of my favorite quotes of all time:
“If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in or open to your feedback. There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never be brave with their own lives, but will spend every ounce of energy they have hurling advice and judgement at those of us trying to dare greatly. Their only contributions are criticism, cynicism, and fear-mongering. If you’re criticizing from a place where you’re not also putting yourself on the line, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
Decide whose feedback you’re actually going to pay attention to, and forget the rest.
Note: it should be an itty bitty list of people whose insight you truly value. If they have feedback for you, it will be from a place of love & support, not spewing uneducated opinions.
Ask yourself: What am I making it mean?
If you feel attacked or extra sensitive to negativity, ask yourself: What am I making this mean? Am I making it mean that I’m a failure, or that my idea / business won’t work? Who gets to decide that? Are their words shedding light on self-doubt that I already feel inside? What can I do to focus inward + become more self-assured, so that future criticism doesn’t stick as much?
Not every comment requires a response. It’s not your job to convince or persuade people to like you / your business / your creations. As Elizabeth Gilbert says: Quit babysitting your creativity!
If you absolutely must respond, keep it light, keep it simple: “To each their own! I love what I’m doing, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters.”
Detox from social media.
Give yourself some distance from spaces that feel triggering, so you can return clear-headed & refreshed. If you absolutely must stay present on social, use scheduling tools, pass it off to a team member if you can, or hire a social media helper.
Write down 10 things you’re good at.
This is a simple but powerful journaling exercise.
I’ve mentioned this before, but emotional freedom technique (EFT) is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It’s also referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure. Check out The Tapping Solution to learn more. In my experience, it’s one of the most powerful ways to de-escalate negative thoughts brought on by external triggers.
Focus on your biggest supporters.
Create a folder of positive messages from people who LOVE what you’re doing, or those you’ve made an impact on. If you have reviews or testimonials, star your faves and add them to the folder, too. In my days as a full-time photographer, I kept a shiny gold box full of heartfelt thank you cards from clients. Every time I had a rough day, or was met with negativity, I’d pull out that box & read through a few cards. It always pulled me out of the depths.
These are just a few ways to navigate the wonderful world of haters & negativity. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and anything you’d add to this list. Find me over on IG and let’s connect!