Mean Girls and Me

By Kim Strobel

April 8, 2018

Overcoming the Haters and Discovering Real Happiness

I’m getting on my soapbox today about women and trash talk. Why do SOME people, often females, feel threatened by others’ successes? I just really don’t get this, and I think it’s time for us to evolve.

I’ve always sought to surround myself with people who are better than I am. Some of the colleagues I’m closest to are ones that I feel are better than I am at our craft; I always wanted to teach next door to the very best teacher in the school. I enjoy running with people who are faster than I am because they will make me a better runner. I love being around women who are knocking it out of the park when it comes to being an entrepreneur because it only makes me step up my game.

I do not feel threatened by their successes or deflated because they are better than I am. I feel energized and ready to grow myself.

Look … I’m not saying that we all don’t slip from time to time, and I’ve certainly been known to spew a few negative comments. But I’m talking about the mean girls, the gremlins, the dementors, whatever name you have for them. These are the people who try to suck the life right out of you and will tap dance on every failure or flaw you have. Sometimes, I just call them haters. They are the ones who hope like hell you fall, take every chance they can to criticize you, and are truly hoping to expose all your weaknesses—all so they can stand taller and feel better about themselves. Your success at anything eats them alive.

They do things like:

  • Screenshot your most recent Facebook post—one you shared to commemorate a success—and send it to their mob squad hater group.
  • Stop in a co-worker’s office only to complain about something new you’re trying to do.
  • Actively seek out colleagues in the hopes of putting you down to them.
  • Make the comment, “Oh, are you drinking the Strobel Ed Kool-Aid now?”

Do these things scream miserable, jealous person? I think so!

Unfortunately, I’ve dealt with a lot of haters in my life. Some of my experiences have been minor—mere annoyances stemming from petty behavior. But others have been more serious. One of those experiences happened in my professional life.

A few years ago, the school where I was teaching experienced a pretty serious scandal. It involved the new principal and some questionable behavior on her part. I happened to be one of the witnesses to the aftermath of that behavior.

Because of the nature of the wrongdoing, the other witnesses and I were put under a gag order. And because our school is located in a small town, the gossip mill was in full swing!

Suddenly, I had become a target. Many of the principal’s friends and supporters took to social media to bash me for my involvement as a witness. These haters came ALIVE! They used this as an opportunity to try to demolish me with personal attacks about everything from my anxiety disorder to my divorce. And because of the gag order, I could do little to defend myself.

It was a truly painful time. But then a funny thing happened. I realized that all this negativity, all this venom, all this HATE was happening for a reason. The experience was providing a lesson in disguise—about just how strong I really am.

These haters didn’t break me down. Instead they taught me:

  • to stand up for what’s right even if it’s hard.
  • to know my worth regardless of what others are saying
  • to never dim my light to make others feel better
  • to refuse to play small
  • to accept that negative, horrible things actually sometimes work on your behalf
  • to realize that difficult situations can propel a person to take big, bold steps that lead to super-bright paths

Had I not dealt with these negative experiences, I’m not sure I’d have so many positive things happening in my life right now. I might not have Strobel Education, or be creating Live Events and a Happiness Retreat. All of these obstacles propelled me toward better things. We all go through life being tested, but it’s how you react to challenges that really matters.

Yes, the haters have, in a way, helped me get to where I am. Even so, I have a request: can we simply root for one another? Can we stand in the light together? And can we please uplift one another and be happy for each other’s successes?

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