I always say that getting free from stuttering is a path of acceptance.
If you're still trying to "stop stuttering" or to "fix" it, I hope I can you help shift your perspective. And if you're not new to the concept of acceptance, I want to help you broaden your perspective because my view on acceptance is very different to the traditional one. :)
So, let's uncover together why acceptance is a crucial part of your journey to freedom from stuttering.
I want to start by actually explaining myself a little bit and saying what I understand by acceptance.
The typical interpretation of "acceptance" is the affirmation that "I stutter, and that's OK." Which is awesome! That's a great step forward from feeling bad about stuttering. It usually removes some emotional burden, but it doesn't remove stuttering.
You're still trying to say it "regularly and fluently." This desperate desire to say it fluently and regularly while you can't - that's what makes stuttering painful, embarrassing, and traumatic to some extent no matter how much you accept it conceptually.
My form of acceptance is an open and proactive use of the training speech.
There could be different ways how we understand the training speech. I'm using the hand stuttering technique. I'm talking a lot about it my videos, and showing how it works.
So, when you're openly and proactively using the training speech, you're actually accepting both the fact that you stutter and your desire to say it on your terms. It's not conceptual acceptance. It's actual acceptance. You accept yourself the way you are, you give yourself permission to be different.
A very practical exercise of acceptance is disclosure.
Practicing something at home might be a great idea but the number one exercise you want to be practicing is revealing yourself to other people.
With my students, we have a certain message that we share, for example: "I'm in the speech program for stuttering, so my speaking might be a little different. Don't be surprised." The wording can be different, but the idea is that please, don't be surprised, it's not a big deal.
By this disclosure, you give yourself permission to use the training speech.
The training speech makes your speaking secure, powerful and expressive, and maybe you don't stutter at all. But ironically, you accept stuttering way more this way than just trying to say it "fluently and regularly." You embrace both your stuttering and your desire to say it on your terms. At that point, you're not afraid of stuttering. You're truly OK with it. You're not escaping stuttering, you're open about it. Your training speech equals stuttering. It represents stuttering. Even though you might not stutter.
By disclosure and by open use of the training speech, you're embracing your difference at the exact moment of speaking interaction. Not conceptually. You feel great at that moment. You feel pride for yourself at that moment. You're not ashamed of being different, and you have the courage to say it your way.
Usually, people who want to get rid of stuttering, to stop stuttering, to fix it, feel bad about disclosure and acceptance. "I don't want to accept that I'm a person who stutters! I don't want to stutter!" And yes, if you feel bad about it, there's no point in doing it! It becomes powerful and transformative when you feel great about it.
So, how do we feel great about it?
Disclosure and open use of the training speech does feel like an imperfect action. It might feel like a mistake. But this is exactly the skill that you want to master: to give yourself permission to make a mistake.
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." ― Michael Jordan
So, when you give yourself permission to make a mistake (when you use the training speech openly in our case), you create a new emotional state of freedom where you can perform and operate at a totally new level.
Could we do it while bearing all the fear to make a mistake and feeling tense because of that? No way. We want to enjoy the moment of speaking interaction, the moment of being in the spotlight. And the only way to do it is to give yourself permission to make a mistake.
So, the next time when you take an imperfect action (just anything, not only speaking) - congratulate yourself! Great job! Do it as an exercise. This way you learn to remove anxiety and tension, and start building a new relationship with stuttering, speaking interaction, and yourself.
Thank you so much for paying attention! What do you think about acceptance? Let me know what you think! I'd love to hear your feedback!
If you are a person who stutters,
and you're not quite satisfied with how you feel at the moment of speaking interaction
I invite you to my free training where I share my view on getting free from stuttering.
And for more interaction,
join the Free From Stutter Facebook group.
Please, don't stay isolated! It's crucial to feel you’re part of the community!