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How to Handle Personal Criticism
 Reverend Bernadette Voorhees
  July 24, 2022

 All Rights Reserved


Close your eyes and lift your human mind up into your indwelling Christ Mind. We are all spiritual beings living a human life in the midst of a spiritual universe that is governed by spiritual law. In the past, you have been criticized and some of this criticism has painfully cut you to your core and left you with unhealed wounds. Every prayer time is an opportunity to allow God to heal you at depth of all these old wounds and to give you a chance to feel deeply, the love God has for you and to see or image yourself diving deeply into a golden sea of God’s love and life in the silence of prayer.

Now imagine yourself surrounded in God’s golden light. See and feel it touching and wrapping itself around every inch of your skin. See it working its way into your human body and igniting every cell with golden light and washing you clean of any criticism that has left a mark or hurt inside of you. In this moment, God is uniquely expressing as you. You are only alive because God is living in and through you. You are God’s perfect creation. God totally accepts you just the way you are for God does not judge or reject any aspect of itself. Rest for a few moments now in an awareness of this Truth allowing God’s love as a golden light surround you from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, inside and out in the silence of prayer.

You are immersed in a golden sea of God’s unconditional love. Your only purpose is to express God as love and Truth in thought, feeling and action. You are here to live your gift of life without fear by celebrating your uniqueness by seeing yourself and the world as God sees it and created it. Begin anew today and everyday by viewing yourself and the world in the most positive, uplifting, loving and unifying way. As God’s hands, heart, and mind, commit to feeling and expressing only love and contentment.

Commit to encouraging yourself and everyone around you to live their highest life. Commit to practicing the presence by drawing the strength and inspiration needed for this journey through human life. Know that you live and move eternally in a sea of God and well-being now and forever. Amen. 


When we think about prosperity, we usually think about beginning something new, but before we can begin something new, we must release any of the old that is blocking our forward movement. The act of letting go or releasing sets the foundation for our increased prosperity by allowing us to uncover old concepts that are acting as barriers in our life such as low self-image and restrictive concepts of self in relation to money, power, love, and success. A Zen Master illustrated this idea to his students by attempting to pour more tea into a cup of tea for a student when the cup was already full. As he poured in additional tea, the cup overflowed illustrating that letting go and/or becoming empty is an important part of the prosperity process.

Here is a story that illustrates this point. Once upon a time there was a man named Hans. Hans criticized everything and everyone his whole life. When he died, St. Peter told him that he could enter the Kingdom Heaven on one condition; he must not criticize anything he saw. Hans thought for a moment and then said, “How hard could that be? This is Heaven.” So, he agreed, and St. Peter let him in. Well, Hans was barely through the gate when he saw two angels carrying a large beam of wood in such a way that they were knocking it against every object they passed. His eyes opened wide, but he said nothing.  Next, he saw an angel drawing water with a bucket from a fountain and pouring it into a barrel full of holes.  The water was running everywhere but again Hans said nothing. But when he saw a cart stuck in the mud with one pair of horses yoked at the front and another pair yoked at the back and an Angel urging both pairs forward simultaneously, it was more than Hans could stand.  He began to complain loudly and spout criticism about how crazy everything was in Heaven. Immediately, he found himself standing outside Heaven’s gate. As he looked back through the closing gate, he saw that the two horses on each side of the cart were winged horses and as they flew in different directions the cart was lifted out of the mud. Hans knew then, (although for him it was a lesson learned too late,) what we must all learn. There is always more to every circumstance than we can see with our physical eyes and understand with our human minds in that moment.

True Prosperity is a way of looking at life as if everything happens for your benefit. For in Truth, it does. “There is only one Presence and one Power in the universe and in my life. God the Good Omnipotent.” Another way of saying this is “You meant it for evil. God meant it for Good.” Living this Truth takes practice but as you experience more and more life you learn through your own personal experience that it is true. As you gain experience by looking at your life and experiencing your life from a spiritual perspective you learn to accept ‘what is’ happening in the present moment. As this happens you become increasingly open, receptive, and willing to learn ‘how to work with it.’ In other words, you stop demanding that people or circumstances change to make you happy. You realize that the reason for any event happening in your life is for you to learn something you need to know to take your next step forward in growth toward a greater good, which is another way of saying, ‘a greater expression of your Christ Self.’

There are two kinds of criticism. 

1. There is internal criticism. You experience internal criticism when you hold negative self-images about yourself. Negative self-images can arise within you if you judge yourself as not measuring UP TO some internalized standard of perfection.

2. There is external criticism. External Criticism comes from people around you when you don’t meet their needs, expectations, or demands. External Criticism can be aimed at you when you succeed in a way that the people around you perceive as threatening to them. They criticize you because they think that you and your behavior will somehow keep them from obtaining their good. External Criticism can be aimed at you when you do not measure up to what someone or a group of someone’s judge and believe is an acceptable way to be and live. I invite you to answer this question: Is there a day or a year that you look back on as a turning point in your life? Why? What happened?

As I look back at my life, I can say a huge turning point for me happened back in 1977. I was miserable and in a continual struggle to make ends meet. I was going through a painful divorce and living as a single parent of two toddlers. I had a poverty consciousness because I focused my attention on what was lacking from my life. I also had a victim consciousness because I believed that I was ‘only human’ and that everyone and everything in life was out to get me. Then a friend invited me to attend Unity of the Roanoke Valley in Roanoke Virginia for their Valentine’s Day in 1977.  At Unity, I learned to meditate and do inner work. ‘Inner work’ is another way of saying that I began taking responsibility for my own thoughts and for creating my own experience. I was spreading my spiritual wings for the first time in my life and even though I was living alone with my two little children and dog, for the first time in my life, I truly felt free which resulted in an experience that happens to many people who begin to practice the Presence of God and take responsibility for their thoughts, actions, and reactions. As a result of my new way of thinking and being, I rose quickly in consciousness to a level of feeling euphoric success. This wonderful feeling took me by complete surprise. I felt good and happy for no apparent reason. But soon something else began to happen which also took me by surprise. Somehow by being happy and the authentic me, I somehow was also agreeing to being attacked. I remember one particularly really great day. I was happy and somehow my happiness was an invitation to others to attack me. I felt like the woman in the shower scene in the movie, “Psycho.” By the time I’d been at work for about an hour, I no longer felt happy and positive because I was receiving criticism from all my co-workers and everyone, I came in contact within person or by phone. It seemed to come at me from all sides and I didn’t know why. I didn’t understand it was part of the process and to build a permanent Prosperity Consciousness, I had to learn “How To Handle Person Criticism.”

We have all been criticized. I don’t think there’s a person in this room who can honestly say, “I have never been criticized.” Sometimes we let person criticism drain us of our motivation to fulfill the dreams God gives us. Sometimes we let person criticism sway us off our path. It is a natural human tendency to be tempted to buy into a negative self-image and a self-defeating attitude and to say, “They are right.  Who do I think I am?”  But we always have a choice. We can passively accept their opinion of us, or we can opt out of their opinion. Fred Allen who was once the Editor of Harper’s Magazine said, “If criticism had any real power to harm, the skunk would be extinct by now.” Dale Carnegie was an American writer, lecturer, and developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, and interpersonal skills. He famously said, “The moon would not go on shining if it paid any attention to the dogs that bark at it.  If you have people barking at you, realize that “This is the highest compliment you can receive in life.  No one ever kicks a dead dog.” 

What you would have accomplished if you had never bought into another persons’ limited opinion about who you are and what you can accomplish and if you have just ignored them and forged ahead with your dreams. Think about what you have accomplished because of the times you opted out of another’s criticism and forged ahead determined not to allow anyone to ‘rain on your parade.’ Do not allow criticism and human judgments which are a natural part of human society and race consciousness, to end anything great God has begun in you. Criticism has no power over you unless you hate your critic and in your own mind you accept some part or all their criticism of you as true because you have judged yourself and because you hate &/or reject aspects of yourself. 

When you hate your critic, you are giving some of your creative power of imagination to your critic.  This is vital life energy that you could be using to build your life that is squandered on unconstructive thoughts. You are not seeing God in yourself or in your critic. In essence you are telling yourself, “I am going to believe this about myself and churn over it inside my mind until it manifests in my life.”

The most basic Spiritual Law of Creation is: “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.” Don’t hold thoughts about yourself or others that you don’t want to see manifested in and as your life. When Abraham Lincoln became President, it was a very depressing time for him and his wife Mary because of all the criticism he received. He said, “If I tried to read, much less answer, all the criticisms made of me and all the attacks leveled against me, this office would have to be closed for all other business. I do the very best I know how, the very best I can. And I mean to keep on doing this, down to the very end.  If the end brings me out all wrong, ten angels swearing I had been right would make no difference. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me now will not amount to anything.” 

The most powerful thing you can do is to praise, encourage and to hold the highest and truest thoughts possible about yourself and others. There are times when we are guided to criticize another by sharing information with them that perhaps they don’t want to hear.  The test is: 

If it pains me to do so, but sharing it is for the good of the other person then I will.  If criticizing them makes me feel good and better and more righteous than another person, I know I’m on the wrong path.  When you are criticized there is a 6-step process that you can use to handle it so that you can either grow from it or let it go.

1. Ask your human mind and self: “Should I accept or reject this person criticism? Ask yourself this question because while criticism may feel bad in the moment, not all criticism is bad. Norman Vincent Peale said, “The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” If we are going to be saved by criticism, then we must decide what to reject and what to hold on to and adopt into our behavior or beliefs.

2. Instead of getting mad and fuming over it for days and allowing negativity to root in your consciousness, write it down on a piece of paper and allow it to rest there. I do this and place the paper in my Bible on my meditation table until both it and I calm down and until I can look at it without crying, being angry or feeling any emotion at all.  God is in charge and God is taking care of it.

3. Ask your human mind, “Is there any truth in this? You (the personal, Ego You) don’t answer the question.  You just have to ask it. This is learning to accept ‘what is.’ To learn to work with ‘what is’ the current physical reality in your life’ (the result of previous thoughts held in mind that have produced after their kind in the outer, physical world ‘what is’ and solve a problem. You must rise in consciousness to a higher level of mind than the level of mind that created the problem.

4. Ask God or indwelling Christ mind: “Is there any truth to this? Would this improve my life and the lives of others if I implemented this?”

5. Rest in the silence and as you do, in the gentlest, and most loving way, you will feel a wave of energy come through you that says “Yes” or “No”. An uplifting gentle feeling of “Yes” is an indication that you should adjust your living in this way to move forward to your greater good. 

6. If your Christ Mind tells you, it is true, ask your indwelling Christ for the guidance and strength to make a change and move forward toward your happiness and the fulfillment of your dreams. If not, then you will be guided to consider the bias of the speaker or writer.  You wouldn’t believe some of the letters, emails, phone messages, etc. that I have gotten since I became a Minister or that have been written and sent to Unity Village or Silent Unity about me. Letters that cut to the quick. When I handle Person Criticism this way, I get a soft answer from Spirit, and I can give a soft answer to a critic. I answer in the way God would answer and that is with love. A soft answer doesn’t pour out negativity. A soft answer pours out love and love bring prosperity to the situation, because love is prosperity.

John 3:2 says, “Beloved I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your Soul prospers.”  Every situation is filled with potential to expand your prosperity consciousness by releasing the goodness of God.  To understand the light within and to discover that you and I are responsible to live every moment of life in love. 


1. Are all your verbal and mental words positive?  Do they bless or curse your life?

2. Are you concentrating on solutions or problems in your life?

3. Have you forgiven everyone? Have you forgiven all negative conditions?  Have you forgiven yourself?

4. Do you tithe money to your spiritual source?  Prosperity must have a spiritual basis.  Do you really believe, without a doubt, that God is your only source?

5. Do you act as if you do?  Faith is a necessity.

6. Have you made a list of goals?

7. Are you acting as if you really believe that you can reach them? 

8. How often do you pray? 

9. Are you visualizing, when you pray, success or failure?

10. Are you letting negative emotions push away your good?

11. Do you really want prosperity and believe you deserve it?

12. Do you let God do God’s part or do you think that you must do it all? 

You love God by being willing to do what God directs you to do in your life. 

You are willing to act on what God’s guidance says. 

You are willing to step forward on faith and rebuild your life right where you are with God’s help. 

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