We all know the feeling; our friends, colleagues, and even family members sometimes can’t be supportive of our work and our dreams, for one reason or another. While it’s true some actors are fortunate enough to be lavished with the praise and support of their peers and colleagues, others feel they are discounted or even undermined in any number of ways along the course of their journey. At times, it might even feel like there are nothing but haters in the industry of film, TV, theater, and entertainment. 

Many people don’t really understand the trials and travails of the acting life. They might throw shade on your latest project because it’s not a hundred million dollar movie or even a low-budget indie. They can be very quick to criticize your efforts to deliver a great performance or transcend the boundaries of artistic expression. Getting an acting gig in this industry is hard, particularly nowadays, and your work might be relegated to acting classes or workshopping, or even Zoom course training. But if that’s where you’re at, then that’s where you’re at. There is no shame in paying your dues and taking the steps to become a successful actor. As long as you’re doing the work and are adamant about your goals, don’t disparage your own efforts. 

And let’s face it; people can be jealous from time to time—or as Taylor Swift so eloquently put it, “Haters gonna hate.” When this happens, the whole idea is to take that negativity and let it serve to motivate you to levels unknown. The comedic genius Kat Williams believes haters are a positive thing in life. It shows you’re doing something that is getting people’s attention. And if you’re in this business, you know that’s true. According to Mr. Williams, “If you have fourteen haters, you need to work on getting sixteen by the end of summer!”

Also keep in mind, scientists say that jealousy is a fundamental aspect of human social life. So, don’t give it too much agency in your career as it is just the natural course of things. 

So, what do you do when the green-eyed monster rears its ugly head and directs its gaze at you as an actor?

First off, if you feel like someone is criticizing your work unfairly, or not being honest about a project you were involved in, or they are low-key dissing a role you slayed, the first thing to do is recognize it. Recognize that this person is probably not coming from a good place and is most likely dealing with his or her own issues. And then try not to give that person or his/her criticism too much authority in your life or your work. 

Now, you don’t want to be like one of those singers on American Idol who really can’t carry a tune but think they’re going to be the next Kelly Clarkson. But that brings us to our second point.

Become mindful of the difference between legitimate, friendly, constructive criticism and undermining, covetous, and misinformed judgement. Only you can know if a friend, classmate, or associate is being respectful and fair in their assessments or if they’re being rueful of your talent and achievements. We’re all given an inherent instinct, which guides these matters quite nicely if we don’t overthink it.

Thirdly, just know you are part of a rich history of people who have struggled and suffered for their art—people who fought through when there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to battle, and those who triumphed by merely doing good work and making the best of every opportunity afforded.

And lastly, try writing yourself a letter praising your work or even critiquing it, making sure to do it an honest and supportive way. Acknowledge the truth of your performance while taking your personal journey into consideration and give your talents their just due. 

These steps are important and useful, but in the end, the thing that will really silence your critics is your work. If you’re doing quality work and taking your craft seriously, the haters tend to recede. You’ll probably deal with it again on another level; i.e., the press, social media, etc., but you’ll be better prepared for them as you’ve honed your rising-above-the-haters game.