PARAMAHAMSA SRI NITHYANANDA on Why we cannot tolerate criticism A lady came to me complaining that she is hurt by even small criticisms coming from others. She said she was very sensitive. I asked her to stop using that word. I said, ‘You are not sensitive. A really sensitive person will be porous; she will allow the words to pass through her. Only arrogant people get hurt. If you are hurt, please understand that you are arrogant. You are strong like a stone, which is why words come and hit you.’ A sensitive person would have allowed the words pass through her; she will never suffer. Even if someone is deliberately rude, a sensitive person understands where such a person is coming from and is not defensive. Suffering is always from arrogance, never from sensitivity. A person who is sensitive will never suffer. A sensitive person will suffer on account of another person in distress, not for oneself. You suffer from words when you stop them, when you resist them, when you create your own meaning out of them. When we do not create our own meanings out of words, we do not suffer. We play with words. We always choose nice words to support our ego. We do not say, ‘I am hurt because I am arrogant.’ We always use polished words such as, ‘I am hurt because I am sensitive.’ Please don’t cheat yourself with words. Let your words be unfiltered by your ego. Let me tell you a small story: Once, a contractor wanted to donate a sports car to an official. The official refused, saying, “I am an honest person and I cannot think of accepting this gift.” The contractor asked him, “In that case how would it be if I sell you this car for Rs 10?’ The official replied immediately, ‘In that case, I will have two cars!’ When an untruth is wrapped in gift packing, you forget you have a problem. You accept it without a murmur. However, when truth is presented bare, you do protest. Presented bare, truth hurts; ego cannot tolerate truth easily. We are so concerned about politically and socially correct statements, it seems no longer acceptable for anyone to speak the truth. But it seems to be perfectly acceptable to lie in a politically correct manner. Ramakrishna says beautifully, ‘Let your words and mind be straightened.’ Whatever is, let it be offered straight without filtering. Learn to accept truth bare. At least you will know you have a problem that you can solve.