How To Not Heed the Haters

Have you ever felt deflated or even entirely derailed by negative comments from people, be they strangers online or your own inner circle? If so, today I’ve got a major linky treat for you: a link to a whole nest of articles by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings, highlighting various wise people’s advice on how to avoid allowing detractors to stop us from doing our work.

“A master of beautiful consolatory letters and a champion of kindness as a central animating motive of life, Einstein wrote to Curie with wholehearted solidarity and support, encouraging her not to give any credence to the hateful commentaries in the press. The letter, found in Walter Isaacson’s terrific biography Einstein: His Life and Universe (public library), is a testament to the generosity of spirit that accompanied Einstein’s unparalleled intellect — a masterwork of what he himself termed ‘spiritual genius.’ …

“Complement with Kierkegaard on why haters hate and Anne Lamott’s definitive manifesto for how to handle them, then revisit Mark Twain’s witty and wise letter of support to Helen Keller when she was wrongly accused of plagiarism and Frida Kahlo’s compassionate letter to Georgia O’Keeffe after the American painter was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown.”

— Maria Popova, from “Don’t Heed the Haters: Albert Einstein’s Wonderful Letter of Support to Marie Curie in the Midst of Scandal” (blog post at; visit the link to read the whole post, which includes links to her other posts highlighting advice from all the people mentioned above.)

I particularly resonate with the example, in one of the posts, of the writer whose “friend” offers the deflating comment, “Oh, so you’re writing again. Got an agent?” Almost that very same thing happened to me when I wrote my book DEEP GREEN. I told someone very near and dear to me, whose opinion meant the world to me, that I had written a book. Their first question: “Who’s publishing it?” (Not even preceded by “What’s the book about? Is it fiction? Nonfiction?”) I was absolutely flattened but managed to keep moving forward.

And I’ve had negative comments about my YouTube videos. On the subject of YouTube hater commenters in particular, Ms. Popova’s post that features Anne Lamott’s advice is something that fellow YouTubers and other public speakers might find particularly helpful. Visit the link above to get the whole nest of articles.

The advice on dealing with haters doesn’t just apply to professional writers, artists, creators; it’s just as applicable to anyone stepping outside their comfort zone in their everyday life. For some folks, it might be something as seemingly small as bringing a home-baked pie to a family gathering, when your family has only ever known you as someone who can’t cook.

Enjoy Ms. Popova’s treasure-trove of counsel from wise folks who have dealt with haters. And keep on showing up in the world, being yourself!