Giving and receiving criticism is a lost reality today. Most people simply try to avoid anything negative, and thus remain shallow and surface all their lives. There is just no way to go deep without drilling beneath the surface.
Alfred Poirier has written a fantastic article called The Cross and Criticism. This is as close to a "must-read" article as possible.
Poirier helps us realize why we get defensive when criticised. We defend that which we deem of great value (our name and reputation). We justify our self and parade our good deeds for all to see. We sacrifice those closest to us for the sake of our own glory.
What we need is to believe what God says about us at the Cross. In Christ's Cross, I agree with God's judgment of me. God has judged me more intensely than anyone else ever could. Those who criticize us don't even know a fraction of the depth of our sin.
Also, in Christ's Cross, I agree with God's justification of me. The Cross declares God's verdict of acceptance of me through faith in Christ. I have nothing in myself to boast about, so I will gladly boast in the Cross of Jesus Christ.
God intends criticism to serve us in our growth in godliness. Therefore, we should respond humbly and graciously.
Spend some time with this article.