Shake It Off
In life, no matter what you do, there will always be people out there hidden in the shadow of your light, just lurking, looking to grab on to some fictional fact to bring you down. You can be the most kind-hearted, good-natured person in this world, and still, people will find ways to criticize you. Unfortunately, I’ve learned this time and time again from ignorant remarks made by insecure peers who know literally nothing about me.
When someone unwarrantedly bashes you, your character, and your cause, your first instinct may be to angrily seek revenge. Although your action (or reaction, rather) may seem justified, it also means sinking down to the level of the hater. I have learned that the best way to deal with these urchins is to not step on them, to merely label them as invisible. They want you to react, and by staying silent, you are simultaneously sucking all the power out of them. And they already have punishment enough….the truth is, these people we deem “haters” are not merely one-dimensional blots of contempt, but are also deeply lost, conflicted, and misguided. They try to catalyze unnecessary issues in the lives of others because their own lives are so messy, and they want the world to feel their confusion. Most of the time, the insults are not a reflection of the object’s own character or intentions, but of the subject’s lack of security or content with his/her current circumstances.
Recently, I learned that this boy in my grade—whom I have literally never spoken one word to in my life—has been going around making fun of my blog and efforts to advocate for anorexia, what he unbelievably regards as a “fake illness.” On my birthday, instead of politely wishing me well, he told my friend, “Should I ask Simran how old she is? Wait, I already know her answer! She’s just going to say that Numbers Don’t Define Us.” He then went on to talk about how my blog was basically a plea for attention, and that anorexia did not exist. Upon hearing about this, I was enraged. I even prepared a whole speech in my head that would go something like this:
“How can someone living in the 21st century be so ignorant as to believe anorexia is a fake illness? It’s hard to fathom how someone can just discount scientifically-proven fact. This is not a matter of opinion, nor is it an issue for debate. Anorexia is real and scary and terrifying. No room for argument. What makes you think you’re qualified to go around labeling illnesses as fake? Why do such uneducated, oblivious people think they possess the knowledge to determine what is and what isn’t? I have seen my friends die from this battle, I’ve nearly died myself, and you have the nerve to say anorexia doesn’t exist? It’s sad how you’re so insecure about yourself that you spend your time trying to bring others down for actually trying to better this world, which is more than I can say for you. I suggest you get a life and leave me alone.”
But, I ended up leaving this angry speech in my head. I’ve realized that insulting haters back won’t change anything or make me taste that refreshing flavor of justice I seek. In fact, the best way to deprive something of power is simply to just ignore and silence it. So, it’s time to shake off the haters and to distance yourself from all the negativity in your life, for in the end, the person whose approval matters most is your own.