TRANSCRIPT: Ep. 220 How to Deal with Haters, Trolls, and Critics


Miriam Schulman:
I used to be disappointed that there wasn’t a negative review because I knew that meant I wasn’t big enough. Let me just let that sink in. So I knew the fact that I only had positive reviews meant that I was too small, I was playing too small, that there needed to be some negative pushback to show that I was trying hard enough or reaching enough people. So anticipation is definitely the first thing, is that when you are anticipating negativity, it’s not going to bother you as much.

Speaker 2:
It’s The Inspiration Place Podcast with artist, Miriam Schulman. Welcome to The Inspiration Place Podcast, an art world insider podcast for artists, by an artist, where each week, we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.

Miriam Schulman:
Well, hey there. It’s Miriam Schulman here, your curator of inspiration. I am so delighted that you are joining me here today. I am recording this from my New York City studio and I’m doing something a little different. This was suggested by really good friend, Patty Lennon, who has a podcast called Space for Magic. And we were discussing our different ways of recording podcasts. I told her that it takes me almost all day to write a podcast and then record it. And she said that she just flips on the mic and starts talking on a topic. So that of course scares the bejeebers out of me. Whenever I just flip on a mic and start talking, I start to ramble.

But what I’m going to try today is a hybrid. So I’ve written down a bunch of notes of all the different things that I want to share with you, and then what … I’m not going to be reading from anything. I’ll just be going off of my notes, and I think you’ll get a lot of value though out of today. Today we’re talking about how to deal with haters, critics, and rules. I think haters are a new phenomenon. Right? Well, trolls have always … Which is the new thing from the internet, haters or trolls? You can let me know. Send me an email or let me know on Instagram. See what I mean? I’m already rambling.

Okay, so before we get into today’s content though, Patty and I also spent some time together and she did an oracle card reading for me. And we looked for guidance that way. And what we came up with, or what she helped me come up with is I really said I was trying to do way too much. So with that in mind, I’m actually scaling some things back and making some changes. And I’m going to share with you the changes that may be affecting you, is the mastermind. So instead of having the mastermind, I still will have a small inner circle of people, but it will be on a 90 day commitment basis. So in the past when I first started, it was five months. Then I changed it to a year. Then I changed it to six months. Now I’m changing it to 90 days. So you’ll get much more support, but in a more concentrated period of time. So once again, if you’re interested in having that level of support with me, either because you’re looking to sell more art, you’re looking to get into galleries, that’s something that I’ve helped some of my Incubator members achieve.

Or if you are looking to launch an online art class, I know that there are a lot of people who went through my partnership promotion, and whether you joined my partner in her program or not, there were a lot of people who said, “Yeah, but I really want help from you.” So if that sounds like you, you will get that kind of support from me inside the accelerator. The accelerator is going to be gated just the way the mastermind was. And right now, there’s going to be a little overlap on some people who join me as quote, unquote mastermind, and people who are accelerator members. Really the only difference is the length of time we’ll be working together. But it is gated, so meaning I will not let people into that program unless you already have a website and you already have an email list, even if it’s a teeny tiny email list.

You do need to already have those two assets in place because I know it is not the best use of our time together if you come in to work with me and you don’t already have that in place. So those are my two main requirements. And of course, you have to already have sold some art already. So if you’re interested in either of those two things, go to You can read about both of those two programs. Like I said, if you’re listening to this in October, self study’s going to be closed. And then your only option will be the Artist Incubator Accelerator until we open up the self study program again in March.

Why am I doing this? I am launching my book. So as of October 1st, I am going full into book launch mode. I worked way too hard on this book to let anything else get in the way, and so I may have to forego a little income in the short-term to invest in the long-term success of my book. And of course, if you want to get the book, we do have that pre order page ready. I have a bunch of bonuses. I’m not going to get into that today. But if you want to hop over there and take a peek, go to

Okay, now on with today’s show. All right, so we are talking about how to deal with haters, trolls, and critics. And the first thing I wrote down is to anticipate it. So let me tell you a little story that will help you with this. So I had to mail a package and I was going to mail it first thing in the morning, but I procrastinated a little bit and I found myself at the post office at lunch time, which of course is the busiest time because everyone else is trying to go on their lunch time too. And the postal workers, a lot of them are taking lunch, so there’s less windows open. Now why am I telling you this? The people who were inside the post office were very, very, very cranky. One woman started yelling. She wasn’t exactly yelling, but she was very, very loud. It’s always like this when I come here. I wanted to turn around and say to her, “Then why are you so surprised?”

If you go to the post office at lunch time, of course it’s going to be like this. And then somebody else started yelling, “Open another window, and blah, blah, blah. We have things we have to do.” Meanwhile, we were not there that long really. I mean, the line was forming behind me. Also, the people behind me were getting cranky that I wasn’t smushing in too much to the person in front of me, like they thought that might help them get through the line faster if I was right on top of the person in front of me, so I was maintaining my social distance, and not because I’m afraid of getting COVID, by the way. But I just got really annoyed when they started telling me to move up, so it’s kind of like somebody tailgating you in traffic. I was like, “I’m not moving up.”

So my first thing I put on here is anticipate. Anticipate that people are going to be negative. We’re going to get into the reasons why, but you do have to anticipate it. That was something that I had shared with my therapist, actually. I said to her, “Well, you know I get negative comments on my Facebook ads, but we just delete them so I don’t really have to deal with those. And I’m a little bit nervous about the negative comments I’m going to get on Amazon for my book.” And she’s like, “Well, why are you being so negative? Why do you think you’re going to get any negative comments?” I was like, “Please, it sounds just like a therapist.” Here’s the thing. Everybody gets negative comments, everybody. Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, the Dalai Lama, they all have negative reviews and negative comments on places, so nobody is immune.

I’m not immune, you’re not immune, so you just have to expect some criticism that’s going to come your way. It’s just part of the deal. And one of the things I used to say is, well, I was only getting positive reviews on my podcast, and in some ways, that almost disappointed me because I knew the reason why I didn’t have a negative review yet, which by the way, now I do. The person doesn’t like that I kibbitz too much about my book, which too bad for them. They should just stop listening to the podcast if they don’t want me kibbitzing about my book because there’s going to be a lot more talk about the book. Anyway, I used to be disappointed that there wasn’t a negative review because I knew that meant I wasn’t big enough. Let me just let that sink in.

So I knew the fact that I only had positive reviews meant that I was too small, I was playing too small, that there needed to be some negative pushback to show that I was trying hard enough or reaching enough people. So anticipation is definitely the first thing, is that when you are anticipating negativity, it’s not going to bother you as much, just like I wasn’t as bothered as much in the post office as the people behind me. I don’t know why that woman who says every time it’s crowded was upset. I was like, “Well, every time, it’s crowded. So why are you so surprised?” But it’s very similar to if you go through a haunted house, and the first time you go through it, somebody jumps out at you. And the second time you go through it, then you bring a friend because you’re like, “Oh, my God. That was so scary. Come with me. Let’s do this.” Second time, nothing scares you anymore because the surprise is ruined.

So if you anticipate it, it’s definitely going to blunt it. so when I got the negative review on my podcast, I was like, “Well, of course I got a negative review. I’ve been waiting for this.” So I didn’t get upset about it. I was just like, “Of course.” So that is number one. So let’s talk about why people get negative because once you understand why people do that, why people hate, why they troll, why they criticize, you can step into a little bit more compassion for them. But before we do that, I do want to circle back to something that I did share about how to handle when you do receive it. I already said it, but I went by it so fast, I don’t know if you noticed. So I did say when we get hateful remarks on a Facebook ad, we do delete them. And we do that to protect our community.

Now I’m not saying that I delete every time somebody disagrees with me. That’s some completely different. I actually like when people disagree. I’m talking about hate remarks, some people talking about maybe my appearance, or criticizing my message in a way that is not helpful to the people that I want to help, so those are the things that I will delete. When people are attacking my community and my message, I delete those. I don’t just delete because somebody disagrees with me. I think discourse is very important and I’m okay with hearing an alternative point of view. So you do need to delete the hate messages because you’re protecting your community that way.

Okay. So let’s move on to compassion. So compassion, why do people hate? Why do people troll? Why do they criticize? Well, one of the reasons is because they need to reinforce their own reality. So if you say something that they don’t agree with, they might feel attacked because it’s like their reality is under attack. And we’ve seen this a lot, especially the last … How many years has it been now? Six years with the bipartisan politics and people have their little bubbles, and when those bubbles intersect, people’s own sense of reality becomes under attack. And that happens on both sides. When you only see one point of view, you don’t always understand where somebody else is coming from, and somebody else might feel attacked by your sense of reality. And it’s not that there are alternative realities, but we’re all products of our conditioning, of our upbringing, of our influence around us, of the TV, what we watch, et cetera.

So I always have compassion when people are coming from a place that even if they are being hateful, that they just have different experiences than I do, and so they don’t have the same understanding of where I’m coming from, and maybe they misunderstood me. And I’m okay with people being wrong about me. But a big reason that you’ll get haters and trolls is when you’re threatening their sense of security. So this is basically that you’ve built a very big building with your business, so you’ve built a big platform, or you’ve been audacious enough to put yourself out there. And so this is why the more you grow, the more you will attract this particular type of hater, is that they will see you as a threat to them, not necessarily because they feel in competition with them. But seeing your big building makes them feel less than.

So there’s two responses that happen. They can either build a bigger building to make themselves feel more important, but a lot of times what they’ll try to do is tear your building down. And that is the gut reaction, is that they’re going to tear you down to make themselves feel better. Now this is very primitive. This comes from a lot of … Whether you’ve had this experience or not, I don’t know if necessarily it’s learned behavior because I’m not completely sure I know what the psychology is, or if this is something that’s more of a gut instinct. But if you can think back to either a time that this happened to you, or you saw this happen to a classmate, where they raised their hand, so they made their selves vulnerable raising their hand, so you raised your hand, and you had the wrong answer.

I know this has happened to me, actually. Actually, this is in chapter one of my book. I talk about I raised my hand. The teacher said, “What is this?” She held up a piece of felt. And I said, “Oh, it’s an eighth.” And she said, “No, it’s a fraction.” And everybody laughed at me. Now what some people do in that situation is that they learn a coping mechanism that is not a good coping mechanism, is that they learn, oh, when I raise my hand, people laugh at me. And that’s when they become the class clown, or they’ll make jokes because they don’t want to risk putting their hand up again. I didn’t actually go that route that I recall, but I definitely remember times in my life where I’ve been very protective of myself. And so that would be that kind of learned response or learned behavior.

So why do they hate? Why do they troll? You’ve built a very big building. That makes them feel less than. And their response is to tear it down. So how do you deal with that? First of all, again, have compassion for where they’re coming from. Delete the comment if you can, to protect your community. But the next thing you need to do is build yourself up. One thing that I would not recommend you do is to argue with them about your self worth, if they’re tearing down your building, if they are going that way. So you need to inoculate yourself. So you’re not going to try to change anybody. You’re not going to try to change anyone’s point of view. I’ve had a long time rule for myself, which was never argue with anyone on the internet, ever. Don’t argue with strangers on the internet. And I try to stick with that. Occasionally, I slip. But you’re never going to change anybody’s mind. And even when they’re attacking you, you’re not going to be able to change their behavior. It just doesn’t work.

So you can’t change the humans, but you can explain to yourself why they are acting this way. You can inoculate yourself. So we’re going to talk a little bit more about that in a moment, how to inoculate yourself. But let’s talk about more reasons why people hate, troll, and criticize. So this is less about hating and trolling, although it may come across that way. So this is the judgemental mother version. I know I’m definitely guilty of it. I know my mother’s probably guilty of it, and her mother was definitely guilty of it. And that is when we’re trying to be helpful by criticizing our children. Now this is not just a mother, child thing. I know there’s many times on the internet where I see somebody doing wrong and I’m like, “Huh? Do I say something? Do I not say something?”

And I want to come from that helpful place. Well, maybe I should say something because that will help them. And if you don’t say it right, it’s going to come across as being very critical, and especially if the person is sensitive. So just know, sometimes people are saying things and they think they’re being helpful, even though they’re judgment was not, and their criticism and their advice was not … What’s the word? Unsolicited. They’re giving unsolicited advice. They are probably just trying to be helpful. So again, even if it hurts, just come from that place of compassion. So let’s reiterate these ideas. They’re trying to reinforce their reality. You threaten their sense of security. You make them feel less than. Or they’re trying to be helpful.

One thing that I want you to do when you come across people who are being judgmental, hating, or critical, is to differentiate their behavior, what they’re doing, with who they are. So no matter what the reason is of what they’re coming from, is just recognize that the behavior may be coming across as hateful, but that is not necessarily who they are. They are just exhibiting these behaviors.

So now let’s talk a little bit more about what to do with it. Okay, so we already said, “Anticipate it.” We said, “Step into compassion for the other people.” That will definitely soften your reaction immediately. But something you need to do as well is you need to build yourself up. I like to think of this also as tuning into the radio. So when you turn on the radio, you get to choose which station you listen to. You can turn on the news and listen to all the bad news. You can tune into music. You can tune into, if you’re lucky enough to have satellite radio in your car, like Sirius, you can tune into the comedy station. So basically, you get to tune into a frequency of what messages you’re taking in.

So when you build yourself up and you’re feeling confident, and you’re not trying to change their mind, you’re just feeling good and confident, then you can sing your own happy song. You can tune into that higher frequency. You won’t necessarily either or be bothered so much by what the negative Nellies have to say. And it’s also about knowing your truth of who you are. So like I said, I was not bothered by the person who was annoyed by my kibbitzing about the book. But there’s a very good chance that it irritates her because she wants to write a book, and it probably threatens her sense of security. She feels less than. Maybe that’s not the reason at all. I don’t know. Maybe she thinks she’s being helpful, that she likes the podcast better when I don’t talk about the book.

Either way, it’s nothing to do about me. I can keep talking about the book. She can hate on the podcast. If she likes it, she’ll tune in more. If she doesn’t like it, peace out. She can listen to something else. So the unsubscribe option is always available. The other thing that I want you do think about is to lessen your own media exposure, so television in particular, but also YouTube to a certain extent, especially if you tune into a lot of newsy type YouTube, Facebook definitely, and some other social media as well, even Instagram, actually. So the media exposure can make you more negative. I don’t watch the news anymore, but I do get triggered sometimes on Instagram by some of the accounts I follow that will be posting beliefs that I’m aligned with, but it still gets me upset. So the more you can limit your media exposure, both traditional media, print media, and social media, the more positive you will be.

Okay, so I think that pretty much wraps up everything I wanted to say about how to deal with haters and trolls and critics. So if we’re going to do a big wrap up, step one, anticipate. Step two, protect your community. Step three, step into compassion. Step four, find compassion for the other person. Step five, build yourself up. Step six, sing your own happy song. Step seven, do not try to change their minds. And I guess this is step eight, take the time to know your own truth and know that people can be wrong about you.

All right, my friend, well, that’s it for today. If you wanted to work with me on a deeper level, I am accepting applications for the Artist Incubator Accelerator. That’s how you can get lots of one on one attention with me, and plus, enjoy the entire Artist Incubator curriculum. That is by application only. Go to And if you want to pre order my book, which by the way is less than $20 because it is on paper book, you’ll get a whole bunch of pre order goodies. Make sure you go check that out at All right, my friend, we will have all the links to everything here that we talked about today in the show notes. You can go find that at And that’s it until next time. Until then, stay inspired.

Speaker 2:
Thank you for listening to The Inspiration Place Podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at, at Instagram @SchulmanArt, and of course, on


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