God, send me a friend that will tell me my faults, if not, an enemy, he will be sure to. Old English Proverb
As hard as it is to hear, it is very helpful to know what faults others perceive in us. Sure, some may exaggerate but regardless there will be kernels of truth that can, ultimately, help us identify our weaknesses in order to improve them.
As I get older, I am more apt to listen to what others say to me and about me that is negative or critical. I don’t take what people say to heart immediately. I do spend time contemplating the negative comments or direct insults to sort out what may be based on some bit of truth from what may be 100% false and only said to undermine my confidence.
There are people who will say things that are not true just to hurt you. On the other hand, even these people have some reason for saying what they’ve said (versus some other insult). Abusive people will repeat back to you your own fears and insecurities which you have inadvertently revealed. The lesson here is to not be so verbal or obvious about your fears and insecurities. If you do tell someone something that bothers you (like “I hate my hair”) and find that very individual making negative comments about your hair later down the road, then you know that is an enemy for sure. Aside from people who are trying to hurt you on purpose, others may say things hurtful for other reasons. It’s all information and worth taking the time to hear and figure out what can help you grow and improve versus what is best discarded from your mind as quickly as it’s said.