By Shewanda Riley

“I thought she was my friend but what she wrote about me on Facebook proves that she was never my friend.”  I listened intently as my student explained how baffled she was that a friend who was once close to her was now writing vicious things about her online. She said they didn’t have a fight but noticed when she started attending college, her friend suddenly became critical and negative towards her. 

My heart went out to her because I knew how painful that kind of quick relationship shift can be. In fact, I’d recently been through remarkably similar experiences. Just like she was trying to figure out what went wrong with her friend, I also had spent time trying to figure out what happened with mine. I didn’t have an answer for her on why it happened, but I did offer her what I hoped was an encouraging word on how to handle it. And the word was simply: Soar!

I shared with her that rather than focus on the hurts from the past, she needed to focus on her future. Like the eagle that soars using the adverse winds to take it higher, she could soar higher, if she kept the right attitude. Having the right attitude would help her soar above the hurtful words. Rather than fight words with words, I encouraged her to do like the eagle and use the opposition to go higher. 

Hater. That was the best way to describe her former friend. Simply put, haters are jealous people who make your life and the lives of those you love miserable. Unable to celebrate the success of others, angry and envious haters want to bring others down a notch and expose their flaws. R & B recording artist Jill Scott even touched on it in her song “Hate on Me “when she sang, “You cannot hate on me ’cause my mind is free, feel my destiny, so shall it be.”

It’s like eagles and chickens. Once grown, eagles gracefully soar alone at high altitudes. On the other hand, non-flying chickens do their best to survive the rooster dominated pecking order of who is the most important. Eagles can see forward and to the side at the same time which helps them find food. Chickens spend a good deal of their time looking down at the ground looking for their food. Just like eagles and chickens don’t naturally spend time together, haters and those they hate don’t either. Amos 3:3 says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”   It’s insane to expect someone who is jealous of you to support you!

Rearrange the letters in “hater” and you get…heart! You can choose to be a hater. Or you can rearrange your life, soar, and show that you have heart. When people suddenly shift out of your life, it’s a perfect opportunity for God to put the people in your life who can support not only where you are but where your destiny will take you. 

Shewanda Riley, PhD is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.”   Email her at or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.