“Don’t mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it; if unfair, keep from irritation; if it is ignorant, smile; if it is justified, it is not criticism — learn from it.” ~Unknown

Any path to success is sure to be riddled with failures, setbacks, and rejection from others.

So too is the pursuit of any dream or goal — especially those that are very near and dear to your heart — sure to guarantee you encounters with vocal, hurtful criticism.

However, that criticism can provide a world of benefit to us: just as learning to love rejection can help us condition the workings of our minds to better encounter temporary setbacks and shortcomings (and ultimately help propel us to achieve our goals), even the most hurtful criticism can benefit the long-term viability of our pursuits.

Use these following 8 “mantras” or phrases to spark an inner, emotional transformation that will help you begin to accept the criticism you hear — even the most vocal and hurtful criticism. With time, your new-found balance and inner peace will provide you with an empowering sense of acceptance that frees from the need to defend yourself with critics; you thus find a great source of strength and feeling of liberation.

Mantra One

“Thankful for all the criticism that I can hear. Thank you. For you drive me so much harder.”

Harness vocal and hurtful criticism as a source of defiant motivation. Of course, being spiteful and vindictive is not the goal, for those only serve to embolden your ego and feelings of pride, anger and resentment. Rather, use the words of critics as a source of thankfulness. As much as their words may hurt and embarrass you, give thanks for them: there is sure to be some greater good to come of their anger. Defiantly harness their words as the means to drive you further, harder, faster, and more determined toward your dreams.

Mantra Two

“Does that vocal, intentionally hurtful criticism wound? Of course! But let it hurt. If only so I know my mission is having some effect.”

Vocal criticism tells us that others are paying attention. Without others paying attention, watching, reading or listening, we’re simply pursuing our goals for the sake of our own personal achievement. Life is about connections: it’s about interacting with and living both amongst and for others. When others criticize us unfairly, we should take solace from recognizing that our work and pursuits are influencing the lives of others. If your intentions are pure, if your work is just, if your direction is true, it will benefit even the critics who belittle and berate you.

Mantra Three

“Pure agreement and praise is so problematic. It falsely lures the ego. Criticism and hurt is the only measure of progress, of success.”

It’s natural to wish to be praised for what we do: positive reinforcement gives us a wonderful feeling of encouragement, self-worth and success. But when we begin to grow accustomed to outright praise, we grow incredibly insecure and detrimentally worried when vocal praise is lacking.

On the flip side, vocal criticism benefits us because it gives us the chance to respond: we may choose to respond verbally and aloud, or quietly, only to ourselves. If we respond aloud in defense of ourselves and our goals, we are only acknowledging our own insecurities. Let your response be within. This is where true liberation is derived.

Mantra Four

“What is life but a series of setbacks, failures? Don’t despair at the revelation! For all those unpleasantries give us the chance to succeed.”

Growing up in New England, I’ve gotten used to long and harsh winters. Even though I dislike them thoroughly, I’ve tried to condition myself to using the winter months to more greatly appreciate summer months of warmth and lush growth.

Similarly, all of the setbacks, failures, and criticisms we encounter on the path of our pursuits and dreams should be understood as temporary, fleeting times of unpleasantness that will pass and serve to make us truly appreciate every little success. Without criticism, praise would seem trivial — just as perpetual summer in tropical paradises eventually become taken for granted.

Mantra Five

“Lambaste me with your words, exact your spiteful torture. Spread your rumor and gossip. And let there be but a quiet few who may disagree.”

Now begin to evolve our simple acknowledgment of criticism to an invitation for more of it. Criticism, we begin to understand, is beneficial to us in so many ways. Take up the mantle of the martyr to your cause. If you are willing to sacrifice yourself to criticism and unfair judgments from others, then you have proven that the cause is truly worthy of your time and emotional investment. Embrace the suffering caused by critics’ harsh words, as they serve to embolden the strength of your inner spirit.

Mantra Six

“I fear the day I walk, speak, write without contention. For that is the day that I can be assured, everything I do is wrong.”

If the pursuit of your goals and dreams is without discontent, objection or criticism, you should criticize the value and worth of what you are pursuing. Although one wouldn’t invite outright hate or disdain for your goals and dreams, if there are none who disagree with you — if you are not challenging or striving to change the status quo — you might want to reconsider if the financial and personal investment in your goals will have any valued impact.

Mantra Seven

“I know when others speak ill that others walk in agreement. For the quiet supporter is the greatest–stronger than the boisterous critic.”

Let the humility and hurt that comes from their hurtfulness to make you appreciate those that support and stand by you that much more. Be grateful that there are those few who side with you: during times of need, their support, however limited, will feel truly limitless.

Mantra Eight

“To be humbled and grateful for others’ venom. What a bizarre feeling to be overcome by such peace!”

Unique power lies within even the harshest and most unjust of criticism. We can use it for our own gain and advance our dreams and pursuits all the further. Be gracious and humbled by their critiques. Question if their words are justified, but never fall to the depths of rampant insecurity and self-doubt.

You are all that you need to succeed.

With time, and by recalling these mantras, you gradually gain a refreshing and new sense of empowerment and inner peace: what was once pure venom that pained you, has become hardly criticism at all.