Perhaps we need to be a bit stronger in our reactions to such things. Instead of passively accepting things like criticism, perhaps we could challenge the people who criticize us. I do it all the time. When someone criticizes me, I usually ask them "Just what do you mean?," or "Why do you say that?" Usually I get a pretty lame answer, and that gives me a chance to challenge them further. "Why is it important to you what kind of sweater I wear?" I might ask, or "What criteria are you using to judge the job I did?" Most people who criticize others are pretty shallow thinkers, and they probably haven't thought through their criticism on more than a very superficial level, so questions like that tend to expose the truth--that their criticism is misplaced and unjustified, designed more to get under your skin than to be constructive. And if that's their goal, why should we pay attention to them?
If we allow others to put us down, then guess what? We stay down. But if we empower ourselves to challenge their misguided criticisms and insults, then we can live our lives freely, without worrying about what others think of us. For when we're at peace with ourselves, of course, we know that what others think simply doesn't matter, and that we can live our lives from our hearts with no fear of being brought down by the uncaring words and actions of others.
Shrug off the restraints that you have allowed others to place upon you. You are limitless. There is nothing you cannot achieve. There is no sadness in life that cannot be reversed.