Haters on the Highway

Traffic slows to a crawl on the Monash Freeway...
Traffic slows to a crawl on the Monash Freeway in Melbourne, Australia through peak hour traffic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Readers,March has inadvertently been a month of internet specials, my columns have included websites and various nuggets of wisdom I have gained from my regular net surfing. I will finish up this month with an anecdote that I found to be poignant and applicable. In the book Quitter by Jon Acuff, he addresses the topic of haters. Hate is a strong word. I was taught to use it only in the most extreme cases, like when talking about spiders and taxes. But in today’s vernacular, it’s more of a casual term addressing those who like to throw stones and focus on the negative aspects of a situation. We’ve all come across haters at some point in our lives. Whether it’s in the workplace, the home place, or our virtual places, negativity runs amuck. Jon Acuff is an author, motivational speaker, and has ninety-one thousand followers on Twitter. His enormous fan base constantly streams incredibly positive feedback about his book, speeches, and thoughts to his desktop. In a recent keynote address, he admitted that regardless of the ninety-one thousand fans, one negative comment, one critical statement, or one hater can derail his positive train of thought. Isn’t that the truth? No matter how many good things we hear throughout the day, it’s the criticism that keeps us company as we drift off to sleep at night. As most successful men, Jon has an incredibly wise wife. She asked him one day, “Why are you chasing haters on the highway?” He looked puzzled and asked her what she meant. “Well, Jon. Let’s say you are driving down the freeway and someone gets upset with the way you changed lanes. They zip past you, honk their horn, and give you the universal one-finger hater salute. It’s irritating, you might vent a little, but then you continue on your way. You don’t chase them down, follow them until they stop, and then knock on their window saying, “It seems you might not like me and the way I drive. That really bothers me. I was hoping we could have a little heart to heart and resolve the issue between us.” That would be insane and might get you shot.” This was an ah-ha moment for Jon and for me too. Why do we let people who are not in our inner circle of influence have such an impact. There will always be haters on the highway of life, but to spend too much energy or time trying to reconcile what might be petty and unreasonable demands will only distract us from our greater purpose. Be respectful, consider others feelings, tread gently through life, smile, nod, and let the haters fly on by. Making sure the next time a fellow driver’s lane change upsets you that you take careful measures to not be labeled a hater on the highway of life.

Aimee Jones is a small town newspaper columnist and aspiring novelist writing about surviving and thriving on the great plains of Oklahoma. You can receive The Plain Wife by email. Simply click the FOLLOW button at the bottom of the page. Thanks and happy reading!

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