Great teachers often encouraged us to discover our own paths, keep to it, and avoid criticizing the path of others.
“For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.”
-Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do
“Daily training in the Art of Peace allows your inner divinity to shine brighter and brighter. Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others. Do not be calculating or act unnaturally. Keep your mind focused on the Art of Peace, and do not criticize other teachers or traditions. The Art of Peace never restrains or shackles anything. It embraces all and purifies everything.”
-Morhei Ueshiba, Aikido
How should we respond to criticism? Often we respond with resentment, but there is no need. Understanding that criticism tells more about the speaker than the recipient will help replace resentment with empathy, because if you listen closely, your critics will reveal something about themselves to you. There is no formula, but perhaps you will find faithlessness in your critics, or insecurity, pain, longing, and regret. Perhaps your critics are showing you their desires, who they long to be, their goals or dreams. Of course, a loving and respectful character will allow you to see positive messages from your critics as well.