I’m extremely embarrassed to write this post. It’s never fun to publicly admit stupid things you’ve done in the past. I’m sharing this though, no matter how embarrassing, because I want to shed some light on why haters do what they do, and to give hope to anyone being harassed by these kinds of people.
Let’s rewind back to about 2 or 3 years ago. I was writing a completely different blog, desperately trying to be like other bloggers I had seen gain massive amounts of success. Since I was always trying to be like other people and not being true to myself, I was constantly unhappy. Jealousy, self-doubt, and comparison were part of my daily mindset, and it was getting worse every day. I’d try to act like everything was fine and going my way, but honestly I was all over the place and my life was a mess. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know what my actual interests were. All I knew was who I thought I was supposed to be, who I needed to be like, in order to be a successful, popular blogger. There is absolutely no way to become anyone but yourself. It’s impossible. So, as you can imagine, I never felt fulfilled or happy with my life.
With a lack of happiness, there was plenty of room for anger and jealousy to run rampant. I started getting upset whenever I saw another blogger succeed. I was working so hard (or so I thought), where was my success? Why weren’t things working out for me? (Side note: Past Mandy was extremely self-centered and annoying. Good grief.) I was finding it very difficult to be happy for anyone else because I was so unhappy with myself.
Around this time, I became aware of websites and chat rooms where people were anonymously gossiping about bloggers they didn’t like. At first, I would just skim through the threads pertaining to bloggers I was super envious of. It was extremely childish, but seeing other people point out the flaws in those I looked up to somehow made me feel a little better about myself – it made them seem less “perfect”, which made me feel like less of a loser. After awhile though, simply reading wasn’t enough. When I’d have a few days of nearly non-existent views and then see one of the popular bloggers share a great post that would immediately get a ton of comments, I’d end up in a sour mood and would run over to one of these sites and write something snarky about them. I look back on it now and can’t believe I was so juvenile and petty. These people had done nothing wrong to warrant my vicious words, I was just lashing out to try to cope with my own insecurities. Yeah sure, I might have felt a little better about myself after anonymously making fun of someone on the internet (look at me, what a champ), but it would always fade away and then I’d be right back where I was before, feeling miserable and looking for a way to cope.
I’m happy to say that my life has done a complete 180 over the last couple years. I’ve stopped trying to be someone I’m not. Instead, I’ve discovered who I am and what really makes me happy, and my faith has helped me grow to become a better person. So, why am I sharing all of this? I want everyone to see what haters are really like, and why they do what they do. I think a lot of bloggers have become afraid of receiving hate online, but really, it’s all just empty words. Hate from anonymous people online comes from things that they’re trying to deal with in their lives – it very rarely has anything to do with you. When they see you doing something that they wish they could do themselves, it’s easier for them to try to bring you down to their level instead of working hard to get up to yours.
If you’ve been dealing with anonymous hate, no matter if it’s just one mean comment on a blog post or if there’s an entire forum dedicated to judging your every move, I want you to know that you’ve done nothing wrong. You haven’t failed, and you don’t need to worry about trying to change to get them to stop. They’re dealing with their own demons and until they get to a place of real happiness in their lives, they’re going to keep lashing out at others to make themselves feel better. Trust me, I’ve been there. The hate is never really directed at you. Whenever you receive particularly hateful feedback (not to be confused with constructive criticism), take it with a grain of salt. It might be difficult at first, but learn to let things like mean comments and emails roll off your back. Don’t worry about what other people say or think, just keep doing what you’re doing. 🙂