Smart church sign. It adheres to a principle I have espoused for a long time:
Judge yourself by those who hate you.
In an ideal world, hate does not enter your life. Everyone thinks well of you, or at the very least, their thoughts are neutral about you or perhaps they don’t think about you at all.
If you live this kind of life, congratulations. I envy you.
Unfortunately, this has not always been the case for me. It’s not that I am despised by the world, it hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows, either.
When someone despises me, it’s most often for something I’ve said or written.
In college, for example, I attended a class that the professor barely attended himself. He was always late, always ending class early, and cancelling classes left and right. As someone who had fought his way through a sea of hardship and difficulty to finally make it to college, I was appalled by this behavior, so I brought it to the attention of the dean of students and then the president of the college.
When they failed to act, I took the meticulous notes that I’d been keeping on the professor’s attendance and wrote a front-page article in the school newspaper about this professors appalling attendance record.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the professor in question despised me and attempted to undermine my credibility in the department for the next year.
Happily to no effect.
Was I upset that he hated me?
Not at all. He was lazy, ineffective, and was stealing hard-earned tuition dollars from me and my classmates. If he hated me for using the power of the pen to effect a positive change, too bad.
Years later, a small group of truly despicable people attempted to end my career for reasons related to my opinions, expressed both in person and in writing, as well as their small-minded, envy-ladened perceptions of me as a human being and a teacher. It was one of the most difficult times of my life and Elysha’s life, too, but knowing something about who they were as well as the enormous number of intelligent, well-respected individuals who stood behind me made it a slightly less bitter pill to swallow.
Yes, it was clear that someone despised me, but I also knew how stupid, sad, and deliberately misleading these people had been in their characterization of me.
These were bad people. Rotten, good-for-nothing ingrates. It was a hell of a lot easier to bear the burden of their hatred knowing how awful they were as human beings.
Today it’s places like my blog, Twitter, and occasionally Facebook and even my novels that brings out the ire in people. I criticize Trump, and in response, some MAGA hat-wearing moron who can’t spell or write a complete sentence attacks me for my views.
At worst, I block the loser. At best, I just ignore the person completely.
Either way, having a MAGA hat-wearing loser hating me is just fine with me.
My thought process goes something like this:
“Someone hates me? Is the person stupid? A coward? Maybe a bigot or a sexist? Does the person constantly lie or brag about committing sexual assault? Is the person who hates me also defending someone who puts children in cages or treats my LGBTQ friends without equality and dignity?”
Then I guess I’m doing okay.