In any average day, you can find me reading non-fiction essays that focus primarily on erudite topics that integrate philosophy, social justice, feminism, politics, creativity, and mindfulness. Guess what? There is nothing “new” out there. Nevertheless, it’s nice to have the thoughts of others to deepen an understanding with which we already have a familiarity.
Recently, I came across a 1847 quote from existential philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wherein he explains how he copes with his detractors and critics:
Showing that they don’t care about me, or caring that I should know they don’t care about me, still denotes dependence . . . . They show me respect precisely by showing me that they don’t respect me.
Mr. Kierkegaard–seventeen decades ago–encapsulated for us both the concept of “haters gonna hate,” which I always took as a summation of one’s inability to change the hearts and minds of others, and how the recipient of that “hate” ought to parlay it into an endorsement of self-worth.
What a fantastic metamorphosis of victimhood into agency. Instead of wallowing over being seen poorly in the eyes of others, this great philosopher suggested that there is truly a thin line between hate and respect.
Spending any iota of energy to get up on one’s moral high-horse and spread “hate,” shows an investment in outcome, an interest in opinion, and a willingness to engage–even if said engagement smacks of bullying from the pulpit of self-righteousness.
So to the haters out there, your hate is a tacit admission of how much power and influence you deem the recipient of your hate to have the potential to wield. The fact that you take the time to critique shows the respect (fear?) you have of the power and influence NOT held by you.