• Jocelyn Bystrom

Taking Care of You - Self Help Resources for Mental Health

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

Working through my homework assigned by my therapist, prior to my appointment Wednesday, I experienced so many AHA's I feel compelled to share. Today's topic:

How to Deal Assertively with Criticism -


I've been working through each module on my own, as I advocate for my own wellness. I'm worth the time, energy and investment. I desire healing and recovery. Module 7, in this free, recommended resources available at: The Government of Western Australia's, Center for Clinical Interventions. Module 7, and my homework this week, identifies the different types of criticism and why we may have trouble responding well to criticism. It looks at the underlying beliefs which may stop us from being able to deal with criticism and helps you come up with a more helpful thinking style. It then gives some tips for dealing with criticism and also for giving constructive criticism.



Jocelyn's - Take Aways



On Improving Assertiveness:


#1. How we accept criticism is largely based on our experiences with criticism as a child.


Having not received any criticism, from my mom, when I first received criticism; it was harsh, destructive criticism. My 10th grade, physics teacher reacted inappropriately, after I responded incorrectly on an oral pop quiz after an expected in-class reading, the 1st day of class. Turning to the class, while looking directly at me he said, "the stupid kids always sit in the back row on the first day of class." Having just answered, and sitting in the back row; I heard, "You are stupid!"


The implication became clear, that it was me as a whole person, who was stupid, rather than a stupid mistake in behaviour. This, after I'd guessed at the answer, having not read the required, ten pages in the expected time limit. Then, in the hope of not embarassing myself, I'd guessed. Incorrectly. As he soon pointed out to all my classmates. It was my behaviour, I had the power to change, which had been foolish. Had I been given constructive criticism, and had the resilience, strength and maturation to handle it. I may also have learend that criticism about our behaviour is not necessarily saying anything about us as a person. I wouldn't have needed to get defensive, angry, blaming, hurt or run away. I'd have maintained my dignity, felt respected and been able to accept the criticism without negative emotions.


And then again, almost thirty years later, when for the second time I recieved destructive criticism, I largely based on the same childish strategies, having not learned still, how to assertively respond. Strategies, which had served me well as a child to protect my vulnerability, no longer did. I thought I'd become more resilient with age, maturation and skilled with education; however still inexperience with criticism, left me unprepared only with taller walls. I was devestated to have my professionalism criticised and it would have lasting physical and mental health implications.


I became confused and defensive. I ignored my emotions, the pain I experienced and the hurt that lingered were internalized as my anger stewed over the criticism. I put on a a semi-permanent mask suggesting, All was well, while it was clearly not. I'd retaliated in anger and blame, my thoughts catastrophic as I became a hopeless mind-reader eventually shut ting down and withdrawing from colleagues, friends and activities, which previously brought me joy. I wouldn't let them see me cry. I wasn't weak. I'd show them I was strong, capable and managing. I ran away from loss and unresolved grief, and it didn't even occur to me to seek support. I was in a constant state of: fright, flight and freeze.


#2 Self Help Resources for Other Mental Health Problems

Click here - For Links to the topics below at the Government of Western Australia's Center for Clinical Interventions

  • Anxiety

  • Assertiveness

  • Appearance Concerns

  • Bi-Polar

  • Depression

  • Disordered Eating

  • Health Anxiety

  • Panic

  • Perfectionism

  • Procrastination

  • Self-Compassion

  • Self-Esteem

  • Sleep

  • Social Anxiety

  • Tolerating Distress

  • Worry and Rumination

#3 We are #StrongerTogether.

We can learn, heal and build resilience.


I am, you can too.

Check these supportive #mentalhealth strategies and this linked site today:


***The workbook is free, and waiting.


More Helpful Thinking: from the learning:

  • If there is something wrong with what I’ve done it doesn’t mean anything about me as a person. I need to separate the behaviour from me.

  • What can I learn from this criticism? Most criticism is probably based, at least in part, on some truths. Criticism may appear negative. But, through criticism we have the opportunity to learn and improve from their suggestions. Always ask yourself “What can I learn?”

  • I have the right to let someone know if their behaviour has hurt, irritated or upset me.

  • Giving direct feedback can be loving and helpful.

Final thoughts: Leave a #comment, tell me what you thought of the resource? Do you know other free helpful resources? Share #links to what you've found helpful.

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Thank you,

Jocelyn Bystrom




References

Center for Clinical Interventions. (2020, March 3). Self help resources for mental health problems. CCI - Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar & Eating Disorders - Perth. Retrieved June 28, 2021, from https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself

Center for Clinical Interventions. (2021). Assert yourself, Module 7. How to deal assertively with criticism. CCI - Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar & Eating Disorders - Perth. Retrieved June 28, 2021, from https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/~/media/CCI/Consumer-Modules/Assert-Yourself/Assert-Yourself---07----Dealing-With-Criticism-Assertively.pdf

Neurosciencenews.com. (2021). Criticism from parents affects how children's brains respond to emotional information [photograph]. https://neurosciencenews.com/parental-criticism-child-emotion-9307/. https://neurosciencenews.com/parental-criticism-child-emotion-9307/




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