Decide to live fully with stuttering
Choose living fully
Before I tried Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) I had more-or-less survived 17 therapies. Some of them did more harm than good. Yet I persisted and for me, the outcome was good. However, I can understand if someone does not want to commit to another round of therapy. Even if you start on a therapy that, like REBT, promises good outcome, usually it takes time to recover. Thus, if you have either decided to start a therapy or forgo, at least for the time being speech therapy, there will be a period when you will still stutter. No big deal! You can still decide to live fully with stuttering.
How is it possible to enjoy life when you stutter?
The six things are helpful in experiencing life with a stutter are:
a) having an attitude of gratitude:
b) unconditionally accepting yourself, others, and the universe;
c) coming to terms with stuttering;
d) accepting that you have a choice;
e) don’t give too much of a damn what others think of you and
e) finding a creative absorbing interest outside of yourself.
Attitude of gratitude
Alex Ikonn and U. J. Ramdas in The Five-Minute Journal describe “the simplest, most effective thing you can do every day to be happier”. In their journaling book they show how spending only 5 minutes a day on a journal can turn your life around. In the morning you write down:
a) three things that you can be grateful for,
b) three things that would make you [feel] great today; and
c) a daily affirmation about yourself (such as, I am confident and comfortable in my own skin and I search for truth daily).
In the evening write down three amazing things that happened to you today. Then add how you could have made the day even better.
This journaling will help you to envelop your day in a positive spirit and indeed, with practice, help you accomplish more and feel better about yourself.
Unconditionally accepting yourself, others, and the universe
It all starts with acceptance of reality. Here are some truths you should accept:
a) sun rises in the East;
b) life is challenging for everyone;
c) humans by nature are forever limited, fallible and non-perfectible;
d) you cannot make demands on universe, others, and even yourself and expect that these demands will be fulfilled, but
e) you can strongly desire certain goals and, if you work hard enough and persistently enough, probably achieve some of them or attain something very closely approximating your original goal.
Specifically accept the reality of your stuttering. Acknowledge that, at least for the time being, you stutter. You can’t demand your stuttering to change, but you can strongly desire that change is possible and work towards changing it. You can almost instantly realize that stuttering is not awful because:
1) it does not cause you unbearable pain, and
2) you can still enjoy many, many other things.
Most importantly you can decide not to beat yourself up (deprecate yourself) for stuttering. You can think hard and realize that all people have equal worth in the eyes of the universe (we all are born, live, and die). Stuttering can’t make you less worthwhile.
Furthermore, there is no law in the universe that you should not stutter. Of course, stuttering does cause discomfort-but you can stand it: you have stood it so far. With effort, you can minimize stuttering severity and frequency. And there is no need to be totally fluent. You can communicate, you can perform most any job as long as your stuttering is relaxed and forward moving.
Coming to terms with stuttering
Stuttering probably has genetic component and a learned component. With effort and time the learned part: the forcing, struggling, hard contact blocks, and elongations can be minimized. With effort and time feelings of inferiority, shame, anxiety, guilt, time urgency, low tolerance of frustration and discomfort, anger at self or others, the feelings of helplessness/hopelessness, and the avoidances can be radically cut back. The accessory (secondary) behaviors can be practically eliminated. This can all be done with the tools provided in REBT.
In order to come to terms with stuttering first of all do notdemonize stuttering:
a) don’t tell yourself that stuttering is awful,
b) don’t complain that you can’t stand it (you have stood it so far haven’t you?)
c) don’t deprecate or down yourself because of stuttering,
d) convince yourself that stuttering does not make you a child of a lesser god.
Neither should you trivialize it: accept that stuttering does have its inconveniences. Humanize stuttering: learn to live with it in daily life until you decide to do something about it and you recover from it..
Accept That You Have a Choice
You have a choice whether to work on your speech to minimize struggle and unhealthy negative emotions or do nothing. It is your decision whether to learn about various therapies and whether to experiment with them. You have the right to keep doing what you are doing. You have a right to do so. YOU can live a good life, whether you stutter or not.
Don’t give too much of a damn what others think of you
I truly believe that people who stutter are more sensitive than those who do not. But there are many other people who are overconcerned about pleasing others. It really makes no sense to set yourself up for being hurt by demanding that you must prove yourself and be universally accepted. Conditional self-esteem is not the way to go. As an adult you can learn to toughen yourself against teasing and bullying. You are more resilient than you think.
Finding a Creative Absorbing Interest Outside of Yourself
One can only contemplate one’s navel only so long. Life is fulfilled by an activity such as raising a garden or a family, writing a book or composing a song or symphony, participating in a social movement, or becoming a creative chef. The choice is yours. The benefit will not only be for you, but possibly also at least one other person who will get some joy out of your avocation or vocation. Good luck!