I was talking to a friend last night about his years in AA and how it all worked for him. He is one who was willing to go to any length to stay sober. He told me that when we come into a recovery program, we are like a diamond in the rough. There are lots of rough edges. After we go to enough meetings and rub up against enough people, those edges become smooth. And eventually if we stay at it enough, a beautifully cut stone is formed. I thought that this was a nice analogy.
I still have the rough edges. Some things have smoothed out for me. But there are others that remain. My response to criticism is one of the triggers that sets off bad stuff in my head. I know how to recognize it when it occurs but all too often it will sneak up on me when I'm least expecting it.
I've read a lot about reactions to vitriol from another person. Even though I don't act out or give sharp words back, I do something that is totally unproductive: I let the anger from the other person make me feel diminshed. Sometimes by letting the anger get into my system when it's projected by another, I can become indignant rather than just shrugging and letting it go.
My sponsor likes to say that "Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one." It's funny because when I first heard that I thought "Well, I guess that I need to remember that when the next asshole offers an opinion". What I really need to do is to see that I just may be rubbing against a person who has the rough edges still and that by doing so, maybe some of mine and that of the other person will be smoothed a bit.