What You Think of Me is None of My Business
Kids are disproportionately concerned with acceptance by their peers. Increasingly these days we are seeing that a negative word or slight might well result in anything from tears to violence to attempted suicide. We are all familiar with the oft-repeated axiom "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." But at the first sting of a hurtful word, that logic goes out the window.
Many times we estimate our worth based on how we are perceived and rated by colleagues and supervisors. Sure, each job has behavioral expectations and organizations have cultural norms. But one must be careful to separate the behavior from the individual; the criticism from the individual's value.
My grandfather, Old Mac, was fond of saying "What others think of you and say about you, is their business; don't make it yours." I have always valued his common-sense wisdom and for a long time I believed he coined that phrase. Recently, however, I have heard several variations on that theme. Knowing I heard it first from grandpa causes that logic to still resonate very powerfully with me.
Criticism by a superior can be more difficult to just brush off. Whenever possible get the person to couch such criticism in terms of behavior or at least to give concrete examples of past performance which prompted the critique. Novice managers may mention subjective words like "attitude" and "tendency" and use terms such as "appears to." Over generalizations like "always" and "never" are also indicators of the need for clarification.
So, as much as possible ignore the idle chat of colleagues. Demand re-phrasing of the comments of those who matter (e.g. a supervisor) into measurable behaviors with examples. Make a plan to address legitimate lapses. But do not take vague, general criticisms sitting down. More importantly, do not internalize them.
Once you have done that, then realize that your worth does not derive from someone's perception of you. Just because someone characterizes you in a negative light, doesn't mean you have to dignify it with an answer; and certainly not a similar response. Another Old Mac-ism "It's not what folks call you; it's what you answer to that matters."
As challenging as it might be, you can develop the habit of thinking-and acting- as if what someone thinks of you (or says about you) is none of your business. It is really their stuff; not yours.