Focusing on the negatives can sometimes be my speciality.
As someone who stutters, this can be a constant uphill battle.
It can be easy to focus on the negative aspects of stuttering. Feelings of frustration, anger, and anxiety easily cloud my thoughts.
But through many years of therapy, there are many positive things about stuttering that have helped me preserve through the tougher climbs.
One day during the early days of therapy at Circle Creek, Courtni asked me to list at least a few positive things about stuttering. I looked at her and laughed. Then I said, "Is there anything?" She encouraged me to really think about it for a few minutes, and then we got to talking.
The first thing that I could think of was that it led me to what I want to do with my life. After experiencing how much speech therapists can help others like myself, I realized that I could do that too.
Having a stutter has made me more empathetic towards others that stutter, and more sympathetic to other people in general. Even if someone else isn't stuttering, but they are struggling with something else, I can sympathize with them because I know what it's like to struggle with something that affects your daily life.
Stuttering makes everyone slow down, and not just the person who is stuttering. Since everyone is always so busy multi-tasking, listening solely to the stutterer can be thought of as a gift that they are giving you. Those who stutter can make everyone around them just take a minute to sit and listen, without worrying about accomplishing anything else.
Stuttering has forced me to not care about what others think. I'm definitely not perfect at this, but I am getting much better. If I don't care that I am stuttering, then other people will not either. I learned that others will react to my stutter how I do ... usually anyway.
Stuttering has made be brave. Imagine having to wear your biggest insecurity on your forehead every day so that everyone can see it. Doesn't sound fun does it? That is what it can feel like for people who stutter. Stuttering can make the smallest situations seem like you are climbing up Mt. Everest.
But instead of letting my stutter control my actions, I have to make the conscious decision everyday to do the things I want to do, despite my stutter.
Stuttering has made me more authentic. Like I said before, stuttering is like wearing your biggest insecurity on your forehead for the world to see. Over the course of these last couple of years, I have to say right away that I stutter, or that I am struggling with my speech while meeting someone new. I've noticed that trying to hide my speech can make it worse. So by advertising my stutter, the moment of disfluency will pass relatively quickly.
I have noticed that I have made new friends with people who are honest about their struggles. It is very refreshing to be surrounded by friends who are real, and don't feel the need to hide about what they are dealing with.
Stuttering has made me lower my expectations of myself. If you know me, you know that is can be hard. I like to do a millions things at once, and I expect myself to do them all perfectly. At one point in my life, I used to think that stuttering at all meant that I had failed.
But I have realized that even if I do stutter, I still accomplished something because I didn't let my stutter control my decisions.
To be honest, I never really thought that I would make a list this long, or at all. But through the help of my speech therapist, and many loved ones, I have made it to where I am today. Hopefully this list will continue to grow larger as time goes on. :)
If you're interested in stuttering or fluency therapy at Circle Creek Therapy, please give us a call at 253.237.3405. Our speech therapists would be happy to help.