How many times have you read an online article written by an individual who shared an uncommon solution to a generic problem, explained a personal journey about how they conquered a challenge, or set out a future goal and the plan of action they would take to achieve it – only to scroll down to the comments to read some of the most hateful, misguided comments ever typed out by an angry Internet mob?
This is extremely common on any post published on a wider outlet that covers an aspect of personal finance. Now, I can understand that money and finance are touchy topics. Our society says it’s rude to talk about our money with others, and dishing details is downright taboo. But often, the personal finance articles written for major websites are meant to be inspiring, motivational, explanatory, educational – any number of good, positive things like this. Ultimately, almost all content on finance serves the same basic purpose: it tries to help other people.
People who like to leave comments, however, seem to think differently. It doesn’t seem to matter if the article is a story being related to us by the writer about something that happened to them or if it’s written specifically as a how-to guide for getting something done. If a personal finance blogger offers an unconventional way of doing things, this provokes an attack. If a personal finance blogger tries to help others find a silver lining in a tough situation, this provokes an attack. If a personal finance blogger suggests making a change that might be difficult at first, this often provokes a personal attack on the writer.
Why does this always seem to happen? The authors of these stories often speak from personal experience and are only sharing what they went through or discovered, and yet the hate around these articles that start out with a problem and end on a positive note or with a success is incredible.
The fact is some people simply want to be angry. They want to be upset with the world and they want to take it out on the world, too. It’s far easier this way. To look outward for the problem is much easier than the alternative: looking inward.
Negative People Don’t Want to Acknowledge They Have the Power to Make a Change
People who attack others who are hard-working and successful can’t see that they too have the potential to make incredible changes for the better in their own lives. From their perspective, they are the victim that needs to place blame or needs to strike back. Unfortunately, people who are hateful or rude to others who are attempting to show how they found success with a new budgeting technique, or a side hustle, or a way to save more money truly can’t see that it’s possible for themselves to have success, too.
It’s hard to see that you have the power to make a change when you’re in the trenches of a tough situation or have experienced a few hard knocks. It’s hard to understand what all you’re capable of when you’ve quit trying (or never tried, period). It’s hard to believe the people that are more successful weren’t somehow handed what they have on a silver platter; it’s much more satisfying to assume they were an overnight success and didn’t have to work in the same way everyone has to.
And it’s easy to assume people who have made a big change must have had help in some way. It’s easy to think, “oh, they were only able to do it because they had stuff – time, money, freedom – that I didn’t have because my life is harder,” even if this is completely false. It’s easier to sit and be mad, hateful, and negative about someone and their success than to get up, make a plan, take action, and create one’s own success.
Haters Gonna Hate
You’ll run into negative people offline, too. If you’re trying to find success with a financial goal or you’ve recently achieved a goal and are already successful, there is always going to be someone who is more than happy to hate on that achievement or your drive to work hard and make things happen.
This is because you’re going against the tide and doing your own thing – and honestly, that can make the folks who haven’t figured out they can do the same a little jealous. It’s not that you’re flaunting anything. Your happiness can be enough to set negative people off and encourage a wave of mean-spirited comments. Again, it’s easier to get mad about what someone else has accomplished than get crazy-motivated to do the same and find success on one’s own.
People might also hate on your plans, goals, and actions because you’re choosing a different path. That can be intimidating, even downright threatening, to people who are comfy with the traditional way of doing things. If you want to tackle early retirement, or a big savings goal, or get yourself out of debt once and for all, or strike out on your own as a solopreneur with an online business, you’re going to see a few haters along the way. You’re challenging their conventionally-held beliefs that say all these things are impossible, so it’s little wonder they don’t know how to be anything but negative when they see you not only attempting these things, but really doing them, and succeeding to boot.
How to Handle Negativity
Understanding why people lash out and hate on success helps you understand how to deal with it when it happens. Knowing the internal feelings of someone else that might be causing their negativity makes it easier to avoid getting down or negative yourself.
It’s never fun, no matter what, when someone is negative about something that makes you happy, proud, or excited. But along with death and taxes, it’s a given in our society. Here are some more ideas on how to handle the haters:
- Don’t engage. This is the simplest, most straightforward, and easy way to subtly say “no thanks,” to negative people. They can be all pouty, mopey, angry, etc etc all they want, but you are having no part of it. Offer a smile, shrug, and move on to better things.
- Remember that personal attacks aren’t always so personal. Again, negative people can lash out, be critical, or downright mean because it’s simply the path of least resistance for those emotions. It’s much easier to be mad at the world than to look inward, find the problems there, then take appropriate action to reach a solution.
- Be in charge of your own positivity. The easiest way to let negative people get to you is by putting too much value into their opinions and not enough into your own. You don’t need outside validation for everything you create, every goal you make, or every success you enjoy. If you need feedback, it’s best to get it from someone you know is honest – and happy with themselves, as well. This way, you can get any constructive criticism you may need, but without the bite of hatefulness that will come from someone only too eager to point out the weaknesses of others.
And if you find you’re the negative person? It’s okay. Honestly. But it’s time to understand that you are powerful, capable, and strong. Here’s how to focus on the positive and leave your negativity, hate, and anger behind:
- Take action. You are in charge here. You can make the change you want to see in your own life. Yes, it may be hard – it may be really hard – and you might fail before you succeed. But keep at it! If Plan A didn’t work, think of a new approach and try Plan B. Believe in yourself and start putting one foot in front of the other.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Positivity is contagious! Catch a little for yourself by seeking out positive, driven, motivated, and inspired individuals. Be happy for them when they find success – and enjoy how good it feels when others are happy for you when you are successful.
- Be grateful. It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s wrong or bad in life. But you’re missing out on all the good that’s happening around you – it’s like you’ve got blinders on and you can only see the negatives. So take a moment every day to be grateful for what you do have, where you have been successful, and for what’s going right.
Have you found success – only to find haters, too? Where have negative people cropped up in your life, and how have your handled them? If you find that you’re the negative person, how are you working to change your mindset for the better?