If it hasn’t yet, this Jiujitsu journey will bring haters. They can come from within the BJJ community; your competition success, rank, or your gi. And haters will appear outside the dojo as well, as it takes time away from others, sometimes distancing you from old friends without BJJ in common as it grows in importance in your life and not their’s. You’re too old for this sport, etc.

We’ve all been on the receiving end of “haters”. The act of sending negative energy, silently or openly, in the direction of someone doing something that they themselves are not, whether good or bad. It’s crazy, because haters, like most groups, LOVE other haters, as long as they’re hating in the same direction.

I used to get super bummed when on the receiving end of this, even to try to find something to hate on them for, falling right into their (sometimes unknowing) trap of escalation…Even just the use of the word hate, to describe haters, almost tempts you to join in!

As the pack animals we are, standing out, doing something different from the group, usually had harmful consequences; either to the group as a whole, or to the individual standing out. How would a zebra with no stripes fare sharing a prairie with lions? Or the rest of the herd if the stripe-less zebra DOES escape and attention is drawn to the nearest next best?

Regardless, any standing out, any change to even one member of the group can cause a reshuffling of the alpha order, scary for even those moving upward along it, and especially for those moving downward. The outlier is left vulnerable to predatorial attack, or worse, left alone to drift for being TOO outside the group’s ways, succumbing to the elements.

Most of us want to be similar to each other in most things, it’s natural, safe, and yields synergistic results for the group.

At a basal level, are haters just looking out for your safety, and the group’s safety, by making sure we are all similar enough to avoid danger? Or are haters just selfish assholes jealous of whatever someone else did first/better, wishing they had that one “opportunity” or lucky break that you had? Is it our job to deflect the hate, or absorb it, or ignore it?

Maybe looking at haters in the animal pack sense will allow us to forgive these turds as simply a maladjusted attempt to look out for the groups survival, your survival and their own.  Maybe a better word for haters would be sentinals or preservationists, giving them the benefit of good intention. Maybe seeing them as unknowingly fighting for their survival and/or your’s, is a good way to deal with their negativity….or at least not match their hate….or should i say their protective efforts?

Maybe we need haters to ensure we all don’t become TOO different from one another, to keep the group balanced, while maintaining the innovators to keep it diversified.

Maybe if we turn down our interpreted volume of the loud familiar squeeks of the haters into a gentle reminder that we are doing something different, strengthening our group through our courage to innovate, we wouldn’t be hurt by what appears to be their projected negativity.

Maybe haters keep the group balanced, and afford us the balanced opportunity to be different, safely.

So, to the haters: thank you sincerely for looking out for our group 🙂

And to you: find a healthy, balanced, and strong group to grow with.