… nurture it instead, for a bad reputation is the best think that can ever happen to you.
A good reputation causes envy. Nobody would begrudge you the success. They will attribute it to unjust luck or even unfair play. They will be eager to destroy your reputation wherever there is a chance to do so.
A bad reputation instead nobody will envy. It doesn’t matter whether some people feel pity or satisfaction. What matters is how you behave. If you desperately try to improve your reputation people think you are pathetic and they will do all they can to undermine your reputation. They find new ways to intimidate you. Once in that trap, life will become a never ending ordeal.
But if you show self confidence, if people learn that you cannot be moved by a bad reputation, they will admire you. They will never envy you as nobody so weak would like to have a bad reputation him or herself.
History knows so many figures who stood out for their bad reputation. Some of them even created it, as a brutal ruler (Caesar), cunning schemer (Catharina de Medici), or promiscuous man (Bil Clinton) or woman (Carla Bruni) to generate success in society.
Why human social behavior is so different from what is taught, even quite the opposite is a matter of my study of social psychology that we eventually try to find mathematical models for.