Confessions of a Recovering Hater

28 Mar


Hi, my name is Tara and I’m a recovering hater.

The most common definition of hater, according to Urban Dictionary, is someone who cannot be happy for another person and focuses on negativity (the subject of hate is oftentimes a successful person). It is not necessarily borne out of jealousy; rather it often comes from the wish to knock someone else down.

Keep in mind, I think “hater” is a tired word that people overuse. However, I can’t really think of another term that aptly describes the behavior pattern I have in mind (if you have another, leave it in a comment, and it would be much appreciated).

My Hating Story

The peak of my haterdom was in middle school and early high school although in later years, my hating has toned down substantially. However, recovery is a continuous process and the tendency for hating may never fully go away.

When I was younger – think eleven – I went through that terrible (at least, to me) stage called puberty. I was suddenly a lot more insecure about everything, from my hair, to my acne, to my braces, to my fashion sense, to my body shape, to my intelligence and everything in between, culminating in a less-than-stellar sense of self-worth.

I didn’t exactly know how to make myself feel better. But when I saw the funny, popular people in school but also on television and the internet, the most entertaining were the ones who had killer put-downs and acerbic wit. That’s who I wanted to be. I became a gossip. I became vicious. I hated.

When I saw someone who I could feel superior to – maybe due to their fashion sense, or my opinion on their intelligence, or their looks, or something else equally pointless – I didn’t miss the chance to come up with a “smart remark”. It didn’t matter if they were higher or lower than I was on the arbitrary social totem pole in grade school – those lower had to stay there, and those higher could stand to be brought down a few pegs. Eventually, it became something of a pastime.

I didn’t really consider the effect my words and attitude had on others; to me, it was all in (mean-spirited) fun. Until I heard through the grapevine about how much a particular girl in my class despised me – I had hurt her feelings and made her angry on several occasions. My “source” mentioned her anger-fueled desire to exact violent revenge on me. She never did, but that was enough of a wake-up call – my behavior was toxic and needed to stop. Immediately.

But it certainly wasn’t overnight – it took me several years before I was able to say I had broken the habit.

Are You a Hater?

It’s tough to label yourself with such a reviled term, but admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

Do you…

  • Pick on people who you perceive as “beneath” you? Or try to bring people “above” you to your level?
  • Try to delegitimize or minimize the achievements of others?
  • Assume the worst of people more successful than you are?
  • Generally focus on the negative, rather than the positive?
  • Spend more time analyzing the lives of others instead of your own?

Just for clarification, having feelings of dislike for legitimate reasons is completely different from hating. Being critical of something or someone is very different from being negative just for the sake of being negative.

How to Deal

Do the traits above apply to you? There are solutions. This is some tough love.

  • Realize it’s a Process – You can’t grow out of your negative ways overnight, especially when it’s an ingrained habit. Often times, the best way to combat unnecessarily mean-spirited thoughts is to catch them as they happen and stop them going any further.
  • Give People a Break – It’s easy to make snap judgments based on your split-second perceptions, but consider the fact that you might not know their situation before you ridicule them.
  • Mind Your Own Damn Business – Yes, it is that serious. Many times when these thoughts arise, there are more pertinent things that could be occupying your mind. If you’re insulting someone who you find “lower” than you, why is this allegedly insignificant person so important that you have to talk about them? If that person is “higher” than you are, why are you investing yourself in the life of someone who is (probably) not invested in yours?
  • Don’t entertain negativity and gossip – I’m not going to lie, some people’s critical jokes are extremely hilarious (see: Kid Fury) and everyone has their crabby days, but making a regular habit of it is simply a bad look. If you’ve surrounded yourself with a group of friends who commonly tear down others like a pack of vicious jackals, a close examination of your relationship is in order. Sometimes the solution is as simple as redirecting the conversation to topics more personally relevant to the group or maintaining positivity.
  • Avoid the phrase “keep it real” – Aside from the fact that it’s extremely dated and played-out, there’s a major difference between being honest and just using frankness as an excuse for rudeness. Besides, Keeping it Real can often go wrong.
  • Address your own shortcomings – This is a deeper, more permanent solution. There’s usually a reason for being super-negative,  based on issues you are having with yourself – often feelings of inferiority. People who are secure in themselves don’t feel the need to keep people in their place or to bring others down. Examining these issues are the key to solving the problem on the deepest level.

Any thoughts or additions? Let me know in the comments.

xoxo, Tara


Words to Live By – Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

7 Feb

source (if you know where this was originally found, let me know!)

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.



Slowed Down [Superbowl] Sunday – 2/6/11

6 Feb

Okay, if that isn’t the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, you’re lying.

Here’s my ode to the things that made me smile this week!

The Superbowl – In case you didn’t know, today is SUPERBOWL SUNDAY! (Ahhhh!) While it’s disappointing that my hometown team (the Baltimore Ravens) didn’t make it to the big game this year – so close! –  I can’t be completely upset, because my current city of residence is representing this year. GO STEELERS!! If the game doesn’t go well, I have the Puppy Bowl and the game commercials to make me feel better. Now, if the University of Pittsburgh can somehow resist its natural urge to have a hugely destructive riot, this night will be just peachy.

Computer Issues – My computer has been through it! Through it! I had gotten a suspicious warning that my hard-drive was facing imminent failure. While my hard-drive was too corrupt to make an image of my computer (it couldn’t even run ChkDsk!) I was able to back up my files in the nick of time – the very next day, my computer was too damaged to even boot up. My friend was nice enough to lend me hers for the time being while my hard drive got replaced. Soon after that, my ethernet cable decided to die on me, leaving me internet-less for a little while. But it looks like I’m back! Knock on wood for me.

Getting Cultured – This weekend there were two different cultural festivals which were awesome – one put on the various Asian Student Associations on my campus, and one celebrating Vietnamese and Chinese New Year. I had a great time learning about different cultures and enjoying what makes every college student weep with joy – free food.

RuPaul’s Drag Race – I was going to put this under “Getting Cultured” – but RPDR is so fabulous that it deserves a bullet point all on its own. I absolutely adored season 1, season 2 was great but not as great, but season 3 is fantastic! The personalities on this season are amazing, and I already have some favorites – from Raja (America’s Next Top Model’s Sutan, if you’re into that) to Delta Work, to Manila Luzon to my GIRL, Phoenix. This is shaping up to be one hell of a season, and I will be faithfully watching it every Tuesday morning on So, if you’re an American viewer who doesn’t get Logo on their television, you have no excuse. Watch this. You won’t regret it.

Miscellaneous – Working on art projects that feature unicorns; Shameless on showtime; THE PUPPY BOWL!; getting my butt kicked in kickboxing; planning an amazing Valentine’s Day weekend with the boyfriend and the best friend (!); lunch dates with friends you haven’t seen in weeks; the fact that a movie called Cowboys and Aliens exists; coconut tea; planning a scary-exciting international trip; knowing that the Pittsburgh Panthers have picked up a player from my small hometown; Nutella; winning a raffle (I never win anything!); getting featured on a wonderful blog (more details later!)

Anything really make you happy this week? Speak your mind in the comments.





I’m back in business!

4 Feb


While my computer seems to be undergoing a series of unfortunate events (just as it gets back to working condition, my ethernet cable breaks…so I’m gonna have to replace that too), I’m back! Hooray!

Regular posting should be back on Sunday. See you then!

xoxo, Tara

My HDD’s Dead and Gone, Dead and Gone…

20 Jan

Hey Everyone.

I’m sorry I have been absent lately – I’m dealing with a matter that is outside of my control, namely, the premature death of my hard-drive.

Thankfully, I was able to back up all of my data, so nothing should be lost, however, my computer access will be limited as my computer is no longer capable of actually…functioning. For that reason, posting may be sporadic (or delayed) until my computer problems are solved.

Thanks for bearing with me guys!



Slowed Down Sunday – 1.16.11

16 Jan

Hello, everyone! It’s time for my weekly ode to what made me smile this week – the things I’m thankful for and love. Here we go:

♥ Being back at school – That sounds weird, because being back at school means coming back to classes and homework (and boy, do I have a lot of those). But while I love coming home – and I do think going to school four hours away from my hometown does help me appreciate my visits back to Maryland – I do miss Pittsburgh, with the hustle and bustle, sports fanaticism and copious amounts of sidewalks and public transit (at least compared to the neighborhood I grew up in). And of course, a lot of my friends are here!

♥ Late classes – Okay, this seems kind of silly to include here, but it is important to me: my classes start at 1pm this semester, every day! This isn’t as exciting as it could have been, because I’ve adjusted to my sleep-all-day habits of winter break by waking up late, but I plan to start getting back to waking up bright and early and getting a bunch accomplished before I officially “start” the day. Fingers crossed! Plus, I don’t have any Friday classes this semester! That’s a first for me, and I’m grateful, although it is pretty disorienting. I feel like Friday is Saturday now.

♥ Learning new things – I finally took the time to learn how to do basic knitting – I’m making a scarf, but the success of that endeavor is to be determined. I’m learning a ton of new techniques in my Foundation Design class (frustrating, but rewarding at the same time…) and I’ve made plans to learn how to play chess. Many of these things are on my so-called “bucket list” for things I’d like to have a passable amount of skill in. Other things on the list include (but are not limited to): scuba diving, driving a car with a manual transmission, becoming conversational in Arabic, skydiving, doing the splits, cartwheeling (it’s something I’ve never mastered!), basic sewing.

Misc: My new hair; running to an art store, forgetting my debit card, running to my dorm and back and making it with five (!) minutes to spare; marathoning Merlin, having an amazing professor for Introduction to Western Architecture; the oatmeal at McDonald’s (it’s seriously delicious); Birthday Cake Batter scented lotion from Dylan’s Candy Bar (even better? finding it at Ross!); super-cozy socks; the writings of PG Wodehouse; lunch dates; planning Valentine’s Day adventures with the boyfriend

Weekend Link Roundup – 1.14.11

14 Jan

Hey all! Here’s some weekend reading for you!

◊ This guy created a man-made rainbow machine! What a great invention!

◊ Danielle LaPorte shares 20 personal practices that got her to a place of prosperity…as well as those that cost her a lot of money to learn. Worth the read.

◊ I don’t do graphic design as much anymore, so my laptop isn’t overflowing with fonts, but this is a great resource – a site that displays a word of your choice in all the fonts on your computer! Nifty, huh?

◊ I want to swim in this pool.

◊ Ever since it was featured on Fly, I’ve checked out Style Like U, an “inspirational online experience that showcases people who possess exceptional personal style”.

◊ I absolutely adore impressive typography, so of course I was all over this feature on Dzine.

◊A list of common misconceptions on Wikipedia, via Gala Darling. I had no idea ostriches didn’t actually bury their heads in the sand, or that Vikings probably didn’t have horns on their helmets. My life has been a lie!

◊ The holidays are over (or, depending on your viewpoint, coming up…a long time from now) but these decorations are gorgeous!

◊ A review of the Master Class television show on Oprah’s new network, this episode featuring Jay-Z. Interesting.

◊ How to be Yourself, on The Art of Non-Conformity. Short, simple and sweet.

◊ I love hats, I love firecrackers…a firecracker hat? Yes, please!

Song of the Week – Bad Boy by Fuckkk Offf (safe for work, except for the title on the video)