Haters = Motivators?

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I’m always pretty open with you, dear readers, but this week I have a huge admission to make: I got sucked into a The Real Housewives of Atlanta first-season marathon a couple weeks ago and didn’t inflict physical pain on myself! Now I know many folks who are both public (and private—I see you!) stans for this show, but I have to say I am ashamed that I left the channel on Bravo and watched the first episode of the new season. Anyway, while watching, something I heard (okay, a lot of things I heard, but play along) made me scratch my head.

What could make me move my fingers across the keyboard, even as I fantasize about a dinner that I don’t feel like cooking? “Let your haters be your motivators,” says nearly every chick on the show at some point. Apparently, it’s the “housewife” mantra of choice. At first blush, it sounds good: You know, it’s pithy, it kinda rhymes, it brings together the street and the classroom quite nicely—all that. But when I really listen to what these women are saying, I’m forced to wonder if it’s really a good idea to let the folks who hate (or simply hate on) you spur you to action. That sounds like some bad juju.

I can’t help but ask: Is that what Bush was doing when he started this shitshow of a war that we’re still waging? Using the actions of presumed terrorists (“Why do they hate us?”) to justify bombing civilians? Was North Korea’s Kim Jong-il getting at his haters when he put on his stunna shades and platforms and okayed locking up 200,000 political prisoners in prison camps? (Wow, they are just like us!) Really, the only time I can think of when it was a good idea to be motivated by your haters was during the Civil Rights Movement, and that’s only because hate was actually the issue at hand.

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Not to sound all afterschool special-y, but my daddy always taught me that I should do things because I want to, not because others don’t want me to or in retaliation to their views; that internal incentive trumps external stimulus every time; that if you measure yourself against the actions of others, you will always come up short of your potential. So bomb countries ’cause you want to, not ’cause they hate you! Or something like that…

Do you use your haters as your motivators, or do you compete against yourself? Wanna confess your love—or hate—for NeNe (who I don’t think is as hood as everyone makes her out to be) and the crew? Tell me!

—Kenrya

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