Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Blogs. Websites. Snapchat. Messengers…blah blah blah… Social media. Online Bullying. And haters. Everyday, we put ourselves out there in the hands of someone, anyone, who can say whatever they want. Whether we are changing the color of our hair, or celebrating a goal we’ve accomplished, someone always has something to say to bring you down. It doesn’t matter if it’s a junior national title, an elite national title, a new PR…it’s lonely at the top, and the higher you strive to go, the more the haters feel inclined to speak their minds. They will pick you apart for every little thing that you do. They pretend they know the kind of person you are, they pretend they know your whole story, and the pretend they have some sort of control over you, to influence how you feel about yourself.
So, how do you deal with them? Let me use a personal experience.
I received this message from someone named, “Jenny Dibble” from an IP address within the United States:
“Your “Pusui.it” page reeks of some of the most obnoxious narcissism. It’s like a never ending stream of talking about how great you are without an ounce to back it up. Sure in the USA you can stomp a relatively weak field of competitors, but when you go to compete internationally your too slow to qualify for the sprint tournaments and only medal in B-level events because somebody else gets relegated. Typically when people do fundraising efforts they offer far less narcissistic self-centered kick-backs. All you offer is more things that feature you. A collection of mostly worthless photographs, meaningless speaking engagements and generally absolutely nothing of value to anyone else.
You’re delusional. Get over it. Doesn’t getting crushed by real racers send the message to you? If you actually had something to offer maybe more people would try to help you.”
I started reading this, and naturally I got extremely upset. Then I began to read it closer. Like I stated before, this person thinks they know me, they think they know my story, they think they know what I’m worth, and they think they know what I have to offer. The first reaction I had was to immediately respond to them and defend my “Pusui.it” (“Pursu.it”- spelt the correct way) campaign. But then I realized, this person didn’t even have the guts to enter their correct email address. Also, I don’t owe them any sort of explanation. I don’t need to defend myself against someone I don’t know, who resorts to online “bullying”, if you want to call it that. I don’t need to defend doing what I need to do, to help pursue a dream to represent them, myself, and my sport. I don’t need to defend a program that was set up before I started using it, or the rules of a sport I participate in. I don’t need to defend a result, an injury… No! I don’t know why I’m bothering about this at all.
Haters speak out of jealousy, anger, and spite. I don’t know anything about “Jenny Dibble“, and I’m not about to start digging in on someone I don’t know, criticizing their efforts, their dreams, and I have no motivation to change their opinion. I will say, “You’re delusional. Get over it,” for thinking that I will read your comment and think poorly of myself and what I’ve been able to accomplish. I might shoot for the moon, have high expectations, and want to share my dream with everyone, but that’s also what’s going to make me and all other athletes that do the same great some day. I’m not concerned with the number of people who help me, what I’m concerned with is the quality of people helping me, and doing everything I need to do, to make this a reality. And I have those people, and I am doing those things. By improving every single day, and being the best I can be, that is what this is about. To break barriers that have been left untouched for so long, to create a clearer path for generations to come, and to create momentum and hope for those young athletes…that is what this is about. And, speaking to you, “Jenny Dibble“, I only hope that some day, when your dream or idea needs the support of those around you to make it happen, those that love and care for you show you the same as I have felt from those surrounding me, those that see value in what I/you have to offer, because they have taken the time to know me/you.
For every one hater, I’m sure there’s 10, 20, maybe 100+ more. And that’s great for them, because it means I’m doing something right. Haters, please continue on your path of negative thinking, because I’ve been there, and I know it doesn’t get you very far. As posted on Australian, Macey Stewart’s instagram:
..because I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, racing hard, and improving everyday. I’ll keep being surrounded by positive individuals, people who know me, my story, and what I stand for. I’ll keep mentoring the young athletes, running the Lemonade Exchange for athletes who need it, and racing for a limited spot to compete for the country “Jenny Dibble” ‘s lovely computer resides in.
For everyone else…when haters jump in and speak their “words of wisdom” to you, brush it off. Remember those around you that you turn to for advice, who have never steered you wrong, and the ones that you are with every single day. Move past their negativity, their rude remarks, and do what you believe in your heart is the right thing to do. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but in time, you’ll find it easier to put it in a pile as motivation to prove them wrong.
As athletes, we learn to support one another, because we know the struggles associated with attaining these goals others find to be “delusional“…remember this, especially when you see others asking for help, posting about their successes, and more importantly, their failures. Remember that nothing you do, offer, or stand for is “meaningless” or “worthless”, especially in the eyes of those you love. Few people in this world actually get to know the real you, and until the rest of the world sees that person, nothing anyone says will reflect the person you really are, or determine what you are capable of.
And for those of you who have been accused of having “obnoxious narcissism”, you’ll find plenty of articles like this one, “Narcissism ‘boosts’ athletes’ performance, study finds“, to let you know, that might not be the worst thing in the world. I’m not so sure about the obnoxious part, but there’s plenty of definitions for that too. 🙂
So, thank you, “Jenny Dibble”, for giving me a great example to share, and for fueling me until the next message comes around. You don’t know me or what I’ve encountered, but I promise these comments aren’t affecting me or anyone you send them to, in the way you are hoping. Maybe in the future you’ll see my, “worthless photographs” in the headline news…what are you going to say then?
In these kick-ass words:
“I had a boyfriend who told me I’d never succeed, never be nominated for a Grammy, never have a hit song, and that he hoped I’d fail. I said to him, ‘Someday, when we’re not together, you won’t be able to order a cup of coffee at the fucking deli without hearing or seeing me.”
― Lady Gaga
So keep potate-ing, everyone! Haters gonna hate!
And for anyone who wants to donate in exchange for “worthless photographs, meaningless speaking engagements and generally absolutely nothing of value“, you can follow this link to my Pursu.it page that “reeks of some of the most obnoxious narcissism”, where I hope to continue the journey I have been on, to help better establish a sprint program in the United States, by qualifying for Rio 2016, and helping to turn history around:
(Yes, I just linked Taylor Swift).