I blame Puff Daddy. No, not P. Diddy or even Diddy but Puffy, the shiny suit wearing, Diddy-bop dancing, wannabe Bad Boy rapper. The year was 1997 and Puff Daddy’s debut album No Way Out had just released it’s first single “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down.”

Mase, who flows on most of the track, raps in his slow Harlem drawl one of the most famous lines in hip hop culture, “Or he got his Ph.D/Player Hater’s Degree,” complete with that signature high pitched laugh. And the rest was history!

You can’t tell the truth about your friend’s ugly sweater or your sister’s cheating boyfriend without being labeled ‘a hater.’ Since when did criticism become hate?

I love criticism. I especially love it when it’s constructive, but even when it’s not I don’t expect everyone to agree with my point of view and I definitely don’t assume they’ll agree with my taste in food, clothes, men, and cars. I could go on. But just because they disagree doesn’t mean they’re hating. As mature women, we can’t jump to the “hater” conclusion just because of a difference of opinion. If that’s the case, everyone and their mother’s brother would be a hater.

And sure, sometimes I buy a shirt that makes me look preggers when I’m not, or my nails are so chipped I should be slapped. So I appreciate when my friends let me know. It’s because they care. If they didn’t, they’d let me run the streets looking a bloated mess.

Criticism although it stings, can also make you better in the long run. When you think of criticism as feedback, think how much easier it is to swallow. Every major company has a Research and Development department, dedicated to collecting and analyzing feedback to innovate and make their current products better for the consumer. Feedback, to most major companies, is a necessary part of improvement. And feedback from friends, family and colleagues should make you a better person too, if you’re able to receive it. Even if the feedback is negative or a critique of your fabulous self, before lashing back with your own dig, think of how you can turn it into a positive.

You could either hear, “You’re so lazy. You never do the dishes,” or use it as an opportunity to do some spring cleaning. You could hear from your boss, “This letter has too many typos,” or use it as an opportunity to thoroughly double-check your work and put yourself in line for a promotion. You could hear, “You’re fat,” or use it as opportunity to get fit for the summer. You choose.

Finally, being hated on helps you develop a thick skin. This is America where free speech is not only in our blood, it’s in our constitution. Woman up! Because at the end of the day, it’s just one persons opinion.

So instead of hating the haters, send them a thank you card. It’s the least you can do.

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