These days, people often feel comfortable saying nearly anything from the other side of a screen. They seldom remember that a real person is on the receiving end of their comments and that individual might be lonely or in pain, even if they're rich and internet famous.
I've dealt with my fair share of condescending and hateful comments on this platform and others.
They're extremely frustrating, and can even feel humiliating at times, but I've learned, over the past few months, not to allow them to take up free rent in my head: These words are not a reflection on me; they are a reflection on the commenters.
The sad truth is that most haters on the internet are simply looking for a little bit of attention, and they are often extremely bored, unfulfilled, or insecure.
Even though I've become accustomed to unwelcome, condescending, and completely unhelpful comments—usually when I am in the process of amassing a following or I've penned a particularly controversial piece—others may be more sensitive.
Here's what's most important: You should never allow the "haters" to discourage you from writing. That's exactly what they're trying to do.
The boldest, bravest action you can take is simply leaving your pieces online, whether they like it or not.
1. DON'T READ THE COMMENTS
If you know the comments might be negative and mess with your day, it's okay not to read them.
2. DON'T RESPOND
This world is filled with energy, and we get more of what we focus on: If someone is being mean, they really don't deserve your attention, time, or energy. You might as well pursue your dreams or work towards your goals instead of writing equally offensive comments to your "haters"!
3. INCREASE SELF-CARE
Dealing with criticism on a piece you've spent hours putting together can be devastating or emotionally distressful.
In order to make sure that you are coping well, you'll likely want to meditate for a while, make sure you're eating well, and exercise.
If a particular comment has you in a huff, walking around the block or doing some kickboxing might help.
For many, therapy can be a good way to cope with anxiety, self-doubt, etcetera: The irony is that artists already struggle with so much fear and imposter syndrome, so we are often far more sensitive about our work than people realize, but we are forced to deal with a certain amount of criticism in order to reach the level of success we yearn for.
4. PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD
Sometimes, we can set ourselves up for criticism if our pieces aren't as good as they could be: It's always important to edit your work before submitting it to anyone anywhere and to ensure that it's the best it can be.
After that, peoples' responses are completely out of your control, for better or for worse.
5. PRIORITIZE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE WHO ACTUALLY MATTER
Perhaps you have a loving family or a few really good friends whom you've known forever. Those folks are more important than your enormous or humble internet following, because they actually know you, love you, and care about you.
There's no point in allowing droves of internet strangers to dictate your mood when you haven't even met most of these individuals in person.
That being said, a large following is an enormous gift, especially for a creative, and it's so important to practice gratitude and be kind to each and every person who follows your work because you likely wouldn't be able to achieve success without them.
6. BE CONSCIENTIOUS ABOUT YOUR OWN INTERNET BEHAVIOR
If you've been subjected to hateful comments, you'll likely want to be more aware of your own behavior on the World Wide Web: Even famous actors struggle after reading cruel words sometimes when no one's around, and you wouldn't want to ruin someone's day— We're all just humans, after all.
Keep making art, no matter what people say, put your best foot forward, and don't let those hateful comments bring you down!