Stuttering is full of mystery. We don't seem to fully understand it. And that is intriguing.
Let's try to look behind the curtains and see what makes it so mysterious.
Let's uncover together the secret of stuttering.
The main idea I want to share with you in this blog post and video is that we, people who stutter, try to keep stuttering as a secret.
And this is the biggest problem we want to realize.
You see, keeping it a secret means that you're afraid of it, you're ashamed of it. You don't want anyone to know about it.
I invite you to go outside, and try to feel present, try to feel that you belong here in the streets among people. Imagine that you're absolutely free to ask anybody whatever comes to your mind.
Truthfully, when considering how to deal with stuttering, the first thing that comes to mind is acquiring and utilizing new strategies, techniques, and speaking exercises through consistent practice at home.
Practicing something at home might be a great idea but the biggest exercise - the number one exercise you want to be practicing is revealing yourself to other people.
And you might go asking, "How do I reveal myself to other people if I stutter? That's what I don't want to do?"
And yeah, it's time to talk about acceptance and accepting stuttering as part of you.
Usually, when we think about acceptance the first thing that comes to our mind is that "Stuttering is okay. I should go and stutter."
Well, this is a great concept. But let's be clear, it's just a concept. What really matters is what you really feel at the moment when you stutter.
When you actually get into that block, into that glitch, into that tension - what happens at that point?
Is your body accepting it? Is your brain accepting it? Are you in fact accepting it at that moment? Do you feel present at that moment
So what is acceptance? Or true acceptance, if you would.
In my view, it's being open about stuttering at that exact moment and not trying to say it regularly, fluently, and normally as everyone else. It's being open to being different. It's having the courage to say it your way.
When we visualize the training speech (aka tools, stuttering techniques, speech exercises) we typically think about it as a means to speak regularly, fluently, and normally. But what if the training speech was the way to actually open up your stuttering, open up your difference, and express yourself the way you are? Express your true self.
If we could zoom in into that moment, each time you stutter, at that exact moment when the tension is there - that's the moment where you're trying, desperately trying to keep it secret. No matter how much you talk about acceptance.
When people are searching on Google for "a speech therapist for stuttering near me" - why "near me?" It might be hard to admit, but this craving for privacy also reflects the desire to keep it a secret.
Hey, what about joining the Free From Stutter Facebook group for example, and posting about yourself? Posting a video.
"But what if I stutter?" you might say. Yes, there's a big chance. Let's do it! Be open about it!
Oftentimes, people are asking me, "Andrey, what is the best speaking exercise? The exercise you recommend? Breathing exercise, articulation exercise, do I do this or that?" And I always say the same thing - just record yourself and post it in the group. This is the number one exercise for you. And take notice of your feelings when I say that, when I recommend that - how does that feel? Does it feel like fear? Does it feel like shame? Does it feel like hiding? Does it feel like, "No, no way!"
I want you to explore your feelings when you imagine yourself posting a video or going live in our Facebook group. These feelings are a million times more important than all the speaking exercises and stuttering techniques that you might be thinking about.
The ultimate measure of your progress is not how many times you stuttered, but how you feel at the moment of speaking interaction.
It feels so great when you have nothing to hide! And freedom from stuttering is when you don't keep it a secret. When you're open about stuttering.
And ironically, you can be open about stuttering not when you stutter openly, but when you're using the training speech proactively and intentionally. When you speak on your terms. When you stutter on your terms, if you would.
It's really hard to accept that when we stutter we're trying to conceal stuttering. I totally can get that there could be a lot of rejection, and you could say, "No, I'm not trying to hide it! I don't want to keep it a secret! I'm open about it!"
Of course, it's not a conscious effort. But that's what's happening automatically. It's the same automated reaction - to keep it a secret - as pulling away your hand when you touch a hot pan. Your brain does it for you. And it happens lightning fast. Before you can process it. Because you can't think about it. The same thing happens for stuttering - your brain reacts before you can process it. And it wants to keep it a secret.
So, I invite you to think about how you can open up exactly at that moment when you have a block? At that's the moment when your brain is trying to keep it a secret. How can you open up at that exact moment?
I invite you to think about how you can be truly present in the sound. At that moment. In that situation, in that environment.
How can you open up and express - truly express yourself at that moment?
Thank you so much for paying attention! 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 video training - 4 Steps To Freedom 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!