If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored. (NLT)
None of us likes being criticised. There is the sort of criticism that demolishes us, that springs from the heart and mouth of an embittered and insecure person. Such critics often feel so bad about themselves that they want to bring others down to their own miserable, self-loathing level.
Yet there is another sort of criticism that comes from those who love us and want the best for us. They can see dangers in the path we are pursuing. They can see the potential we have and want to warn us against falling short of that potential. They can see what we cannot or will not see.
Just as there is a right and wrong way to criticise, there is a right and wrong way to receive criticism. We can react with hostility, dismissing anything that challenges our cherished self-esteem. We can deflect it by casting doubt on the motives of the critic. Or perhaps we can swing the other way and become crushed by it, causing us to believe we are worthless.
It is best to avoid those extremes. Even our most unloving critics may have true and helpful things to say to us. We need to beware of not being so insecure that any negative criticism causes our world to crumble. But it is also possible that the critic has got the wrong handle on things. They are mistaken, irrespective of their motives.
So, it is best to clarify the essence of the criticism directed at us. We weigh it up, take on board what is helpful and let the rest go. Our critics are not always right, but then again, they are not always wrong.