You hear through the grapevine that Deborah has been telling people that you aren’t smart enough to have written your latest article. Your heart races. What if people actually believe it? What if people stop reading your stuff?

I learned long ago that life is like high school and there will always be mean girls (and boys) with something hostile to say. There is a habit I practice to make the mean girls meaningless. When I learned this, it transformed my life.

What other people think about you is none of your business.

When I researched who said this first, the quote was attributed to all kinds of people like: Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Martha Graham, and Stephen Covey.

What does it mean? It means that you cannot control what other people think of you and so you should not spend your time worrying about it. If someone doesn’t like you, so what. There are plenty of people that do.

If you spend your time worrying about what other people think of you, it is crippling. It makes your self-esteem and your self-confidence so low that you are afraid to take any action. You’re not setting goals; you’re not learning or trying new things. So your life is not growing and expanding. This worry about what everyone thinks of you gets bigger with social media. People can be so nasty online. And no likes on your latest post feel just as bad as an attack. But ultimately since you cannot control people’s thoughts, the best thing to do is be the best version of yourself. Work on yourself and your dreams. Remember that no one is perfect. When you make a mistake that hurts someone’s feelings, apologize in the moment and move on.

What you can control is how you treat people. If you are nice, helpful, and positive, people will respond in kind. Making people feel good is a good operating principle for life.

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou

Online Trolls

So what do you do when people are attacking you online with things that are unfair, untrue, and nasty?

The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. I shake it off, I shake it off.

Taylor Swift

Again, what she’s saying is you cannot control what other people are thinking, saying, or doing. Shaking it off, isn’t always easy. But keep your focus on the horizon and do not let internet trolls derail you. In the matter of online harassment, I suggest unfriend, unfollow, delete nasty comments, and turn it off. Maybe in extreme cases come off of that social media platform, either for a break or permanently. Online and in person discourse has gotten so incredibly nasty over the past few years that I am rarely on social media and it has helped my anxiety, focus, & sleep.


It’s a horrible feeling to be attacked online, and it’s even worse, I think, to know that people who know you are saying negative things about you behind your back. Gossip is especially upsetting if someone is going after your reputation with the aim of hurting you. You have to remember one very important thing. When people are bad mouthing others, they’re the ones that look terrible, not their target. Instead of hurting who they want, their constant gossip and negativity hurts themselves. Believe me; no one likes or trusts gossips.

While it may seem odd, the best thing to counter character assassination is usually silence. Because by trying to defend and explain, you will end up saying negative things about your detractor. Then you seem just as dirty and unlikable. Staying above the fray is the power position. The people that know you, like, love, and respect you, will continue to. And those that do fall for the story, will eventually find out it’s not true or even become a target themselves. The best way to protect your reputation is to focus on your own journey of success and creativity. When you shine, you’re going to wipe out whatever negative talk has been going around.

So remember whenever you start to worry, whenever you get upset about some negative comment, what other people think of you is none of your business. Once I started practicing this point of view, it really changed my life positively. I became more confident, more creative and happier. I wish the same for you.

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