We all know them. We’ve all crossed paths with them at one time or another. We all have said that infamous saying on more than one occasion — Haters gonna hate.

In fact, I said it just the other day when I spent a mere ten minutes talking to someone I consider a friend before they decided it was okay to say some really condescending mean comments about a person I love.

I laughed it off in the moment because if I didn’t I knew I would’ve gone off on him for what he said and ultimately be just like him. Hating. Ripping him a new one just because I can. So, instead I smiled and left but found myself thinking about it the rest of the day… and the day after.

All the things I wanted to say but didn’t because after years of therapy, recovery and, well, basic maturity and growth, I’ve learned that attacking people with words, humiliating them, tearing them or their loved ones apart just doesn’t feel good. It’s a waste of energy and time. It’s ugly and unattractive and only brings me down.

But it got me thinking about all the “haters” out there. The ones that feel better about themselves by tearing someone else down. The ones who think they’re better, smarter, funnier, stronger and on and on. The ones who walk around with so much arrogance and sarcasm that when they enter a room you can feel the air turn toxic without them even having to say a word.

The ones, in my opinion, who suffer from incredible low self-esteem, insecurity and pain.

And it’s that that helps me to find compassion and love for them.

Something in them is broken.

Hating on people to make yourself feel superior is exhausting. I know, because when I was growing up in my alcoholic home my only weapon was my tongue. I used it to humiliate, shame, and control everyone around me when I was in pain. And I was good at it. So good that I pushed the people closest to me away.

Maybe that was my goal.

Inside I was nothing but a scared, insecure, awkward kid who thought the world knew I was a big loser. I thought if I roared the loudest I would look like the strongest lion in the jungle.

I now know it’s the quiet roars that are the most powerful.

When I think of the people I respect and admire most I realize they are the ones who love. Who are kind. Graceful. Humble. Walk softly but carry a very, very big stick.

I’d like to believe the world is filled with more of them. I’d like to continue to work on my own flaws and short comings so I can be more like them. I’d like it if a new saying started becoming popular…

Lovers gonna love.

Wouldn’t that be something. But until then… next time you cross paths with a hater, as corny as it sounds, try giving them an imaginary hug. See them as a broken child. But whatever you do, don’t let their words have power.

The true power is in your silence.