Bullies, naysayers, and haters have always been around. However, these days harassment has taken a new and worrying turn.
Despite many anti-bullying initiatives and stricter laws, haters and bullies are still present in our lives. What’s more, in the age of the internet, cyberbullies became a huge problem. In fact, 34% of people feel that they have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lifetime.
Cyberbullying can be worse than face to face bullying because it can occur around the clock. Even in the apparent safety of your own home, bullies can reach you. It can also feel more permanent because there’s often a record of such behavior somewhere online.
Perhaps, instead of focusing only on eradicating bullying and hate speech, we should also make an effort to learn how to care less about what haters say. But how do you stop yourself from being so upset when people write unjust things about you online? Here are five ways to develop a thick skin and deal with those haters and bullies:
1. Remember that You Can’t Be Liked By Everyone
You have people you get along with better than others, right? Some people might even get on your nerves from time to time. So it follows suit that some people will like you and others won’t.
That’s not a bad thing. It is natural. Surely it’s better to be different and interesting – and maybe irritate some people along the way – than be just vanilla enough to appeal to everyone.
Let go of the ambition to be liked by everyone. It’s unrealistic and unhelpful. And it doesn’t help you to be the real, relatable you.
2. Feel Sorry for your Bullies
Easier said than done. But try to remember that bullying says more about the person doing the hating than it does about you.
How bad is their life that they feel the need to comment on yours? How low is their self-esteem if they’re trying to bring someone else down only to feel better themselves?
Pitying them is so much better than worrying why they’ve taken a dislike to you, as it’s probably not anything to do with you at all. It’s a reflection of who they are and how they’re feeling at this moment in time.
3. Breathe and Keep Calm
Bullies thrive on provoking an emotional reaction. They want to know that they’ve got to you in some way.
When you encounter bullying, take a few deep breaths and try to keep calm. Certainly, don’t respond when your emotions are all over the place.
When it comes to cyberbullies, it’s sometimes better not to respond at all. That way they don’t get the attention they seem to crave.
But if you do choose to respond, do so as rationally, coolly and unemotionally as possible. If you want to confuse your bullies, you could even try being kind.
Behave as if you already have a thick skin and you will develop one as a result.
4. Spend More Time With the People Who Love You
The more you experience bullies and haters, the harder it is to ignore them. Your self-esteem takes a plummet and you feel ever more caught up in what other people are saying about you.
The simplest solution then is to try to avoid the haters and bullies wherever you can. That doesn’t mean cutting yourself off from the world, but it might mean turning off notifications on your phone so you’re not instantly alerted to a negative comment on your Instagram. Or taking a break from Twitter for the weekend. Or blocking those people who seem to take a special joy in bringing you down.
Instead of getting drawn into the drama, give your self-esteem a boost by spending time with friends and family who love you. There’s nothing better for your sense of self.
5. Remind Yourself of Who You Are
Bullies can only get under your skin when you start to believe the things they say about you.
So whenever you encounter bullying, have a few go-to phrases that will help you to remember who you are and what you stand for. Or pick out a few times where people said positive things about you.
These positive mantras or memories can help to reaffirm who you are and why you do what you do. And they can help to make whatever the haters say feel completely irrelevant.
When you develop a thick skin, haters and bullies lose their power over you and your life. Try to boost your self-esteem, keep calm and pity your cyberbullies. Their comments will soon feel like water off a duck’s back.