There is no industry where you hear talk about haters as often as in entertainment. Although there are true haters out there, too often, the word hater is used to justify our own failures, Is your music not gettin' play because of haters, or is your music sub-par? People fall back on hate when they lack the self-awareness to critique and improve.
Truth is, people confuse jealousy and envy with hate. People who are envious of us, don't hate us, they want what we have, or want to be where we are. But, if you don't address those that are envious of you, the jealousy can ferment into hate.
Haters don't start as haters. Hate has different phases. Opponents grow to enemies, enemies grow to those who have contempt for you, who grow to be the true haters. They impose their self-loathing on others. There is no reason in a true hater. As humans, we make the mistake of thinking we can fix people, that with enough love, even true haters will stop hatin'. They won't. True haters are sick people. Adolf Hitler was a true hater. There was no changing Hitler, he was beyond fixing.
How do you define a hater? List qualities of a friend. Look at that list. Haters won't possess the qualities you seek out in people. Sometimes we have friends that are constantly tearing us apart -- no constructive criticism, just negativity. Make that list, see if these so-called friends have any of the qualities you'd want a friend to have. Sometimes we confuse people who are around us, as friends. Friends don't hate, they honestly critique. Check yourself, don't surround yourself with haters.
Sometimes you hear people say, "You either hate me or you love me." Hate is not the opposite of love. Love and hate are more closely connected than we think, there just different sides of the same coin. When someone hates you they still deeply care about you. When you are doing good work, someone will love it, not everyone, but someone will. You gotta worry when no one cares enough to pay attention to you. When people don't love or hate you -- when people don't care enough to feel any way about you and what you are doing -- that's when you worry. Hate is not the opposite of love, indifference is.
Everyone remembers Kanye's 2009 MTV stint with Taylor Swift, as she's holding her award, he goes up on stage in protest for Beyonce. Everyone called Kanye a hater for that rant. But was he? Who is Ye? Kanye West is a regular guy who's successful in the industry, who hasn't shot anyone or sold drugs, but he is a black man. Public perception says a black rapper should have been locked up, sold drugs, be a gang banger, or at least, have shot someone before he got big. Kanye didn't do anything like that, yet he has moved through the industry in different ways and has been able to excel at the top of the game. Kanye makes people uncomfortable. People would rather be right and hate, than wrong and grow. Kanye doesn't fit public perception of a black rap artist, and for that reason he is "hated". Now, as for the MTV awards with Taylor Swift, Kanye wasn't hatin' he was being real in his critique. He had real reasons to say what he said -- but there is such a thing as timing, and when he interrupted the girl on stage, well it was simply bad timing.
The best way to tell a hater is: look at how they treat others and look at their actions. Don't think you are special. If they tear down and disrespect people they consider friends, and then smile in their faces when they come around, don't deceive yourself as though they won't be the same with you. I think the hardest thing for us as humans to do is accept people for exactly who they are. As Maya Angelou said, "When someone shows you their true colors, believe them." Hatred ultimately destroys the hater. Don't get tricked into thinking that you have to carry the burden of hate. The psychology of a hater is to impose their self-hate on others. It's not as much about you as it is about them. Don't take hate personally, because at the end of the day -- it just isn't. Don't look at hate as a reflection of yourself and your work, but don't use it as a crutch either. Take time to reflect and critique yourself and surround yourself with others who are honest enough to do the same. Now go get you some haters!