“If a criticism hurts you, that means that you’re defending against it. Your body will let you know very clearly when you’re feeling hurt or defensive. If you don’t pay attention, the feeling rises and becomes anger and attack, in the form of defense or justification. It’s not right or wrong; it just isn’t intelligent. War is not intelligent. It doesn’t work.
If you’re really interested in your own peace of mind, you’ll become more and more aware of that sense of wanting to defend yourself against criticism. Criticism is an immense gift for those who are interested in self-realization. For those who aren’t, welcome to hell, welcome to being at war with your partner, your neighbors, your children, your boss.
When you open your arms to criticism you are your own direct path to freedom, because you can’t change us or what we think about you. After you’ve done inquiry for a while, you can listen to any criticism without defense or justification, openly, delightedly. It’s the end of trying to control what can’t ever be controlled: other people’s perception.
The mind rests, and life becomes kinder, and then totally kind, even in the midst of apparent turmoil. When you’re aware of being a student, everyone in the world becomes your teacher. In the absence of defensiveness, gratitude is all that’s left.
~Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy