Criticism and the ego
In my experience, most people have a fair degree of emotional resistance to criticism. As a person who I’d think is relatively smart, and so enjoys having smart friends, I would think that the bias of my social group hinders this perspective toward being around those who are even more open to input then the average human. This is because from what I’ve observed, those who are more logical tend to be brighter on the emotional level as well (this is correlation not causation, I realize exceptions exist). And if you’re looking to better your life, as most bright people are, then there is not much better you can do for personal development then to mentally expose yourself thoroughly and honestly to those who you care about (and potentially to all, though there’s better counterarguments for this one) in attempt for them to expose the the blind spots and rationalizations you’ve created for the unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that you exhibit. This is an emotionally difficult thing to do, as most people lie on a consistent basis, and a vast majority at least communicate things deceptively to avoid confrontation and to create a better image for themselves in their peers eye. The thing is, you may think you’re good at lying, but if its something you’re prone to do on occasion then it becomes more of a tempting tool to reuse when it serves as convenient in any way. If you’re dealing with people who aren’t completely oblivious, they will start to see holes in your stories, as you forget the exact details of your past lies, the information you struggle to remember to repeat becomes inconsistent and the veil of being a person who’s not full of shit is lifted. Also on the ethical level, if you’re not being truthful you are in almost all cases hurting yourself, your peers and society. If you want to have a debate on the ethics of lying hit me up, but you’re probably self rationalizing the action because its convenient to yourself by thinking “this person can’t the handle reality anyway” or you’re just lying to yourself that you are even a deceitful person, choosing to suppress and ignore the memories of interpersonal deception of your past.
As children, we found ourselves in school most of the day with other children who were slowly developing more and more into adulthood. We found ourselves in a social hierarchy that we were hardly aware existed at the time, and almost all of us had the capacity to be assholes of people. Bullying, physical or mentally is un-debatably more prevalent in schools through adolescence for a reason. These children start developing ego’s and realize there is an advantage to having others think highly of you and to also have them look down on others. The idea that you are “better” is enforced into the psyche when you dwell on the concept that “x” other kid is lacking in whatever ways, implying that you and your friends are not. The incentive for this pettiness toward others is not even all that bad, if put in relation to the idea that some kids would bully simply for the entertainment value, sociopathically getting a kick out of the negative emotional reaction of the victim. In this emotional warzone, we all became used to dealing with this borderline sociopathic behavior as a kind of norm. You would receive criticism for who you hung out with, how you dressed, how you talked, how you looked, etc. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t be subject to criticism by your peers for these behaviors if they are damaging and if they can be course corrected toward creating a better lifestyle, but in my memory in school almost all of these occurrences of criticism that I witnessed were essentially lowkey bullying. The intention is what matters. If you are criticizing someone just to recreationally get a kick out of shitting on them then you are most likely being an asshole, and its pretty easy to cover up this asshole maneuver under the disguise of it just being a harmless joke. If you are criticizing someone because you see a reoccurring negative trend in their lifestyle that you think is going to lead them down a worse path, then you are actually being quite a thoughtful person. The issue is as kids we were much nastier to one an another then we are now as adults (not to undercut the amount of assholes still floating around in adulthood), but people developed and still cling to these emotional defense mechanisms of rejecting criticism in order to maintain stability for their shaky sense of identity and self worth, that serves as much less useful today then it was back in the battlegrounds of elementary and high school. Figuring out the intention of the one delivering the criticism is key, yet I observe lots of those who are close to me unable to differentiate from when they’re being attacked and when someone is trying to help. I’ve done lots of meditation, journaling, reading and some therapy in my life on these exact issues and I’m still not cured of the detriments of the ego and the comfort seeking self defense mechanisms that my mind has decided to create for itself. If I haven’t been cured of being susceptible to these damaging occurrences then I’d think that almost no one is, and if you’re reading this thinking “nope not me” then I’d encourage you to think again, with more depth and honesty.
And to those who like to think ignorance is bliss, I’d say you’re setting yourself up for one hell of a dysfunctional life for and adding a negative contribution to society. Lets try to all be more mature so we don’t end up killing each other.