I always wanted a hater.
That may sound weird to some of you but growing up, all I wanted to do was be valuable. I had no self worth and I thought value came from other people. I saw myself as an item in a retail store. I thought my parents, my peers and strangers would appraise my value based on the benefits that I could provide for them. I assumed that the more I honed my desirable traits and talents, I would acquire haters. People who understood my value but still didn’t care to see me prosper for various reasons including looks, projecting their own low self-esteem, and jealousy. I always wanted a hater because I thought having just one hater meant that you were doing something right. You were winning in life and I wanted to WIN!
I went through high school and college encountering people who didn’t like me but none of them I would consider a hater. Now, I admit, I wasn’t always the nicest person so some of these people had good reason not to like me. But even the people who didn’t like me still could admit (for the most part) that I worked hard. Where talent was low, I worked hard to be my best. I hated the idea of being in last place so I pushed myself in everything I did. This hardwork translated into leadership. Coaches, teachers, and mentors saw my hardwork as an example for my peers to follow. So even if I wasn’t the smartest or most naturally talented, I was still in the spotlight because of the extra effort I put into what I did. It’s something my parents taught me. They told me that if I knew I wasn’t going to give 100%, then I shouldn’t do it. So, I stuck to the things I was good at and the things I received the most praise for even if I didn’t like it. I was only confident in the things that made other people proud of me but I wasn’t proud of myself. I convinced myself that I was not good enough to gain things that made me happy.
Looking back, I can see how this mentality shaped who I became as an adult. Even when I was making the most money I’d ever made, I was dating my dream guy, & church famous, I still didn’t feel like I was successful. I was still unhappy & waiting to have a hater. I blamed my parents, my former friends, and ex boyfriends for my unhappiness. Every time one of them let me down, I convinced myself that it was because they didn’t value me. I told myself that if they were better/nicer people, then they would’ve treated me the way I deserve….the way I deserve. What do I deserve?
After carrying this false sense of confidence into my adult years, I asked myself this question and I found that I didn’t actually know the answer to it. I knew I wanted to be treated nicely by the people I allow in my life. But, what is nice to me? Nice is objective and not everyone considers the same words and actions nice. This is the reason some people still love and protect R. Kelly and others can ignore comments like ‘grab her by the pussy’ as long as its sandwiched between promises of a better life for all of us.
I deserve to be happy. I said to myself. I deserve to feel good about who I am and enjoy the people who are apart of my life. I got angry thinking about some of the friendships I had that were toxic. I got angry thinking about my ex-boyfriends. I asked myself why I made it okay for people to not appreciate me. Why was I complicit in allowing them to step on my feelings without remorse. Why was my self esteem so low when I was told everyday I was beautiful. Why didn’t I believe it? Why would I lose my virginity to a man who I didn’t even like? Why do I purposely put myself in harms way? Do I lack the self preservation switch that every human innately has or do I just hate myself so much that I subconsciously wanted them to destroy me?
I heard a very wise person say, “Everyone in your life is a reflection of how you see yourself. If they are low quality people, you have low quality sense of self.” This statement hit me like a ton a bricks. It was me. I was the common denominator in everything that made me unhappy. I didn’t need any outside person to be my hater…I was my own hater and I filled my inner circle with people who were jealous of me. I allowed people in my life who chipped away at who I wanted to be and made fun of who I actually was. I remember times when my ex would tell me he hated the sound of my singing voice. He told me that I ‘talk like a white girl’ and that it was unattractive that I didn’t want a career in the music industry. In several ways, big and small, he reinforced the lie that I was not good enough. I had a group of friends that on the surface was doing all the right things. We went to church together, supported each other emotional and financially. But at our core we enabled the individual bad habits of each person in our group. We taught each other how to get drunk without getting a hangover. We smoked, we partied, we had rivalries. Even though none of those things were who I wanted to be it’s who I was briefly.
I know I’m not alone. There are many of you out there that feel the same way. You don’t feel like you are deserving of the good things in your life. Maybe you did something bad once. Maybe you weren’t nice to your parents. Maybe you cheated on a significant other. Maybe you lied on your best friend. So now you think that the bad things in your life are what you deserve as reparations for your not so good deed. I call this, Helping Your Unhappiness.
Helping Your Unhappiness is a self punishment that we in the spiritual and secular world have to keep us back from going through life truly fearless. It keeps us bound to jobs we hate, people who are bad for us, & circumstances that are changeable. We are creatures of habit and once a habit like this is formed it can be hard to break. But, the good news about any habit is, it can be replaced and changed with work.
Anytime you allow someone to be apart of your life, it is your responsibility to teach them how to treat you. One of the biggest mistakes we make almost daily is assuming that people know how we prefer to be treated. We think because they are nice to us most of the time then they must be good for us. WRONG! One of the worst relationships I was ever in was with a young man who adored me but he helped perpetuate this lie I created in 8th grade. And in order to break out of that (after removing him from my life) I had to remind myself twice as often that I AM loved. I am a good singer. Talking properly does not mean I ‘talk white’. I am not a smoker, drinker, or burnout. I am valuable. I am worthy of respect and love. And anyone who thinks they can treat me otherwise can go!
Now, it doesn’t matter to me how long I’ve known you or what role you’ve played in my life. If you are not working to better yourself, grow a relationship with God, & support me in my pursuit of the will of God, we cannot be involved. I’ve come to realize that THAT is what peace is and that is what pure self-love looks like. Instead of participating in my own unhappiness, I am committed to participate in my growth as a person, a woman, & child of God.
These are my standards. You do not have to have the same ones BUT I encourage you to really ask yourself what it is you deserve and take an inventory of how you have hated on yourself. Make a game plan and change it around. It’s never too late to want better for yourself. You don’t want to be one of those people who post inspirational quotes about their ‘haters’ because I’m not sure if any of them can tell that no one actually hates on them. In fact, no one (even celebrities) has haters. There are just people who support you and people who don’t. Plain and simple. And as long as you buy into the hype that there are haters out there, you are fighting against an imaginary enemy that will distract you from what is truly important in life.
k, good talk