Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I The Sunday Guardian I October 20, 2013 I Page 12
Why do people react so strongly to criticism? The reason is that criticism is taken as an insult. If they were to take criticism as a mere difference of opinion, their reaction would be less violent.
The strongest feeling in a man is the desire for respect. Under no circumstances would a man like to be insulted. When he encounters a critical attitude in others, he feels as though his honour and self-respect were under attack. This is why he is enraged by criticism and reacts strongly to his critics.
Criticism is, indeed, the bitterest pill for a man to swallow. And there is no difference in the reaction of the common man and the elite when it comes to this.
There are only two types of men who can keep their balance when under critical fire. The first is the one who fears God, and who has such a profound understanding of His glory that his own existence has no value in comparison. By accepting the greatness of God, he accepts his inferior position. Such a mental frame prevents him from reacting strongly to criticism. If the criticism is meant to belittle him, it does not matter to him, as he has already accepted his humble position.
The other type of man who does not react to criticism is the one with a scientific temperament. Science being the study of external reality, the scientist believes that reality is what manifests itself outwardly and not what exists in his own mind. The scientific temperament negates self-importance in a man and makes him a realist. It helps the scientist take a detached view of what is said by way of criticism. His attention becomes focused on the truth of the matter and not on hurtful comments.
A strong reaction to criticism only proves that a man is devoid of piety and has no true academic leanings. If such a man is criticised, he presumably deserves it.