An outcry is made by people with whom such a person is acquainted, and even by those with whom she is not acquainted and who she never in her life supposed would think about her at all. “How holy she’s getting!” they exclaim, or “She’s only going to these extremes to deceive the world and to make other people look sinful, when really they are better Christians than she is without any of these goings-on!” (Notice, by the way, that she is not really indulging in any “goings-on” at all: she is only trying to live up to her profession.) Then people whom she had thought her friends abandon her and it is they who say the worst things of all and express the deepest regret that (as they put it) she is “going to perdition” and “obviously being deluded”, that “this is the devil’s work”, that “she’s going the way of So-and-so and So-and-so, who ruined their own lives and dragged good people down with them”, and that “she takes in all her confessors”. And they actually go to her confessors and tell them so, illustrating what they say by stories of some who ruined their lives in this way: and they scoff at the poor creature and talk about her like this times without number. (Teresa of Avila: Sixth Mansions: Chapter One)
You’ve decided to change the trajectory of your life. It may be a spiritual change, additional education, or making different choices. Your changes inspire the critics. Something about the human condition rebels against the progress of other people. Sometimes opposition comes from people close to us and sometimes from people who previously had no interest in us.
In an effort to yank you back to mediocrity, the enemies of personal growth gossip about you, criticize you, judge you, scoff at you, and distort the truth. Sometimes they convince your friends of your “deficiencies”. Unfortunately, this is not something you simply ride out for a few months — it seems to go on forever.
To progress to the deepest parts of the Interior Castle, we must, like Jesus, face opposition. We must persevere and not get sidetracked because we fear criticism. If we stay on course their criticism will only make us stronger.
For more on this topic see: A Different Perspective on Booing.
Note: Some will see themselves “attacked” when their own behavior is the problem. They treat people poorly. They participate in gossip. They refuse to confront inappropriate behavior. They get involved in other people’s business. They’re not maligned for their personal growth. They’re participating in the chaos.