Our first topic in the “Myths that make us miserable” series is “Haters”. There’s so much that is misunderstood here that it’s hard to say concisely what the myth is. Hater is a word that spread like wildfire in the 90s. In hater-nomics, we’ll look at the spheres of influence and how to focus your efforts on the people that will give you the highest return on investment.
Across the globe, an epidemic of “haters” sprung up. Virtually everyone you know has claimed to be a victim of haters at some point. Simply a new name for an age-old issue, humanity has always been plagued by them. Some claim to be inspired by them, while others are paralyzed with fear at the thought of giving haters ammunition. So, who are these haters? And what is their problem?
What is Fruitfulness?
Let’s go back to Genesis 1:28:
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Quite often we assume that being fruitful means the “fruit of our loins” but the Bible states directly afterward, “and multiply.” The Bible isn’t repeating itself; God didn’t give Moses a word count requirement for scripture. Fruit was used to illustrate that we must produce according to our gifting, just as a fruit tree does. The gift of an apple tree is its fruit, apples. The same goes for oranges, pears or any other fruit. The “multiply” thereafter refers to having children.
So let’s stay with the illustration of us being fruit trees. Locked within us is our God-given gifts. He then planted us in an environment for us to grow until we can serve our gift.
The Spheres of Influence
Here’s where the frustration comes in, every single time you try to do something with your life, you’ll find people standing in your way. They are either freaking out, gossiping or sabotaging your plans.
The problem is that we focus on the wrong sphere, we try to positively influence the wrong group. This drives us crazy and we eventually give up or burn out. We then say things such as I will never do anything for this ungrateful bunch ever again.
Once we do this, we stop producing after our gifts. We’re no longer fruitful and it makes us miserable.
Within all of us is this deep desire to be appreciated by others, to be admired. God designed us to operate this way and the only way to be appreciated is by producing according to our gifting.
There’s nothing more satisfying than being fruitful and we end up doing a disservice to ourselves when we give up.
The people in our lives are spread out over three spheres of influence. The 3 spheres are family and friends, haters and audience. We’ll examine each sphere while using the fruit tree illustration. Once we understand these three spheres, it’s easier to manage these issues and avoid unnecessary conflict.
Family and friends
Becoming fruitful is a process. Growth takes time. Trees don’t spring up overnight and bear fruit. Your family and friends have watched you grow, they’ve watered and nurtured you. Even though you may have grown into this amazing, fruit-bearing tree. Your family changed your diapers so forgive them for not being in awe of your greatness. That’s the problem with being in such close proximity, they still remember the little shoot you used to be. When they’re that close, they see the scars on your bark where someone cut you deeply. They remember the times you were hurt. They’re close enough to know this tree can be a bit sappy at times. They see you, flaws, fruit and all. They see the human being.
Let’s be honest, do we tell our loved ones what we think of them? Can you imagine if your sibling started showering you with praise? You’d be like, “Are you feeling okay?” The truth of the matter, it’s just weird guys…Families don’t do that so stop wishing they would. Their proximity makes it difficult to influence them, it will generally turn into an argument with something you did in the past being brought up.
Beyond your family and friends are the haters. So, what’s up with this group? Haters see your growth as a threat. It’s an internal issue with them. In their mind, your growth undermines their worth. They are close enough to see the scars and imperfections, but they haven’t been around long enough to understand what happened. Frankly, neither do they care. They are close enough to see your imperfections, close enough to partake in your fruit, aka gifts, but that would mean they have to look up to you and they despise that.
Here’s the problem, there’s nothing that you can do about this. They will never accept your help; they don’t want it. You can’t help everyone in life and trying further erodes their self-worth because it’s coming from you. They will resent you for trying.
The Bible referred to haters as dogs or swine. Let me show you, Matthew 7:6:
Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
I’m pretty sure scripture is self-explanatory. If you offer your best to haters, it will end badly. That being said, I personally do not believe in limiting myself to prop up someone else’s ego. We’re all responsible for our own growth, just ignore them.
Just beyond the horizon is your audience. Your audience is just far enough from the tree which makes it easier to appreciate its beauty. When you serve your gift to them, these people admire you because it’s harder to see your flaws. It’s easier for them to see and appreciate your fruit. These people are your audience, they are the people that will benefit most from your fruit. The key point, they are attracted to your fruit, not the tree that bears it so keep your ego in check.
Remember familiarity breeds contempt, it’s easier for them to accept your advice and your fruit because they are not close enough.
Your job is to determine who your audience is and serve them.
The problem is that your audience, your followers…Whatever you want to call them. They appreciate you and enjoy your fruit to the point that they end up having unrealistic expectations of the person you are. It’s easy to get carried away with your audience because you feel appreciated. They may put you on a pedestal but the day you mess up, is the day you will be tossed aside.
In order to continue to be fruitful, you must protect your character, so you don’t lose their trust. Here’s the thing, if you fall from grace, your followers will abandon you, but your family and friends will be there for you. They knew you were a mere mortal all along and love you nonetheless.
Once you can pinpoint your audience, you spend less time stressing over the attitude of the other two spheres. Misery comes from trying to serve your gift to the wrong groups. Serving your audience is a surefire way of achieving the recognition and appreciation that you desire, and life feels a lot more fulfilling.
The real enemy
We spend so much time being frustrated with a perceived lack of support from our loved ones or snarky comments from haters that we fail to realize who the real enemy is. Our nemesis is not the hater, it’s us. We are our greatest obstacle. In my case, one part of me wants to be healthy. He goes on trail runs and keeps active. Then the other half of me tries to inhale a box of Krispy Kreme afterward. One part of us wants to be obedient and the other half is tempted by sin. The day you focus on the real enemy is the day your life will change. Don’t be distracted by haters, they are not as big a threat as you believe.
Remember, you must serve your audience with your gifts and your gifts will make room for you. Ignore the haters & be understanding toward your family and friends. Lastly, never forget who your real enemy is.
What has been your experience with haters? Let me know your thoughts.
My goal is to emulate Jesus and follow his example but if all else fails, I’ll be like David. A writer, a man after God’s own heart and someone not to be trifled with.
I believe in discussing life in a candid (unfiltered), no holds barred manner that stimulates personal growth.
I spend my spare time creating content that is informative, entertaining and that will help others in their personal development.
The Hustle is a project that focuses on career and purpose.
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In matters of faith, I contribute to this ministry.