Q & R: Handling Criticism (with enneagram background)

Here’s the Q:

My best friend- a student of the enneagram and my long-time teacher of it, returned from … a retreat where she met you and told me, “You need to meet Brian McLaren, he’s the male you.”
She then went on to tell me about you and her statement, “He’s at peace with himself and handles the people that disagree with him with such grace and love. He’s the most redeemed 4 I’ve ever met.”
Her comment brought encouragement and curiosity. I went on to ‘meet’ you in your written work and I wanted what she said about you- ‘peace with himself, handling others with grace and love’ – I was a teaching leader [in an Evangelical Bible study] at the time and a part time writer- now I’m a full time writer and a part time Bible teacher/speaker- both require me to put myself out there and that is an open door to feedback.
A lot of the time I’m not at peace with myself or my work- the 1 side of me is a constant critic. If my inner voice isn’t keeping me up at night then my sensitivity to the criticism of others is keeping my mind spinning during the day if I get a bad review or email from a reader. Sometimes it can be paralyzing to my work, I want to pull everything in, cave dwell, throw up my hands and say I quit and it takes me a lot of soul work to find courage over the fear and the perseverance to move on. I’m getting better at it as I ‘practice’ with each new negative opportunity that arises, but it still hurts.
… I’m a long way from a redeemed 4, in heaven I might be a little closer to the ‘male you’ and I work daily to fight the shame 4s get entangled with along with living in balance and not in emotions and just doing the work without thinking in circles and realigning/compromising myself/people pleasing in stress like a 2 after criticism.
All that being said I wanted to link the history with the reason I came to you with the question-
How do you handle-and by that I mean work through it or process- criticism or attacks- most often from Christians against your teaching/work?
How have you grown to be sensitive in spirit to others but not over sensitive to their criticism?
How can I learn to say and really mean “I see it differently than you” and gird up my faith in my purpose and calling when it comes under attack knowing who I am/whose I am/why I’m called and not fall into the traps of people pleasing or cave dwelling but stand where I am called?
I know you are an incredibly busy man with kingdom demands and commands to carry out so thank you for having your email address available for people to connect with you. May God continue to bless the work of your hands as you serve Him & His people.

Here’s the R:
For people unfamiliar with the enneagram, it’s an instrument (like and unlike the Myers Briggs and similar instruments) to help people understand themselves and others by understanding their similarities, differences, and internal dynamics.
As a “4,” my tendency is to agree with my critics and join them in their critique. The results of that process are not good. The language that has helped me is “learning to be a friend to myself.” I know how I want to treat others … and so I strive to treat myself with the same grace and kindness.
Some people (probably 6’s, 7’s, and 8?) would be more prone to reject needed criticism and maybe launch a counter-attack … but some of us have the opposite problem, and we’re prone, as you say, to crawl into a cave.
So your struggle is mine, and as a fellow struggler, I can offer three suggestions.
1. It really helps to have some friends to whom you can go with criticism and say, “I want you to read (or listen to) this and help me process it.” It’s especially helpful if they “get” how criticism works on some of us … I remember doing this once and the friend said, “Brian, believe me. This isn’t about you. This is about the critic’s insecurity, fear, and stress, and his need to find someone to blame and scapegoat. Don’t let your ego get sucked into his personal drama.” That helped me a lot.
2. Always it makes sense to learn from criticism. Could I have said this in a way that would have gotten the message through but caused less offense? Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no.
3. And there is a prayer that has helped me as no other. I’ll copy it below (after the jump):

Prayer Regarding Critics and Enemies by Serbian Orthodox Bishop
By Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, Serbian bishop who spoke out against Naziism, was arrested, and taken to Dachau.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them. Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have. Friends have bound me to earth; enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.
Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world.
Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath Your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless and do not curse them.
They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world. They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself. They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments. They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself.
They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance. Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish. Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a [fly].
Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background.
Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand.
Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep.
Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.
Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of your garment.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me:
So that my fleeing will have no return; So that all my hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs; So that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul; So that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins: arrogance and anger;
So that I might amass all my treasure in heaven; Ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.
Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself. One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends.
It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies. Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and my enemies. A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands.
For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life. Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.