"Would it be easier for everyone if society just didn't see stammering as something bad?"
"The cure for stuttering is acceptance. Acceptance from the wider society that people who stutter, are just people who stutter. This is how they speak; this is how they are…."
"It's time for society to accept me for who I really am, a person who stammers"
In this article, I discuss acceptance of stuttering in the wider society.
When I read such comments on how unwelcoming, how discriminative and unfair society is, it saddens me. Because as I a former PWS, I spot the core causes that keep stuttering going from miles away. They stare me right in the face.
There are several issues here: not understanding what stuttering is, not knowing thyself, lack of self-acceptance and respect, comparisons to better fluent speakers, feelings of inferiority. Attempts to hold society responsible for how one feels about themselves. I see exasperation and childish immaturity.
Read about what is stuttering HERE
Hey, people! Things don't work like that in life. You cannot just come in, stomp afoot, and get what you want! Not now, not ever!
Okay, you stutter. Should non-stutterers now carry you in their arms? Sorry to break this to you, but it will not happen. You will not get any acceptance. Why? You do not deserve it because you fail to accept yourself. You despise yourself. Feel uncomfortable in your skin. Insecure because you stammer. YOU SEE STAMMERING AS A BAD THING. NOT THEM.
All you have learned to do well is demand and take offense. This manipulative immature behavior. Adults do not act like that. Adults take charge of their lives and feelings.
SOCIETY ISN'T OBLIGATED TO ACCEPT YOU
No amount of societal acceptance makes a person happier and their life more satisfying unless they learn to value and accept themselves first.
There is no obligation on the wider society to accept anybody. Political correctness is all there is. Acceptance, on the other hand, is a personal choice of each individual in a given society. Everybody is entitled to their won views and opinions. If they don't physically harm or bully you, it is their right not to accept or love you. Maybe they do not see stuttering as a serious problem. People [society] have their own life to care about. You and your stutter are the least of their concern. They don't sit around expecting to bump into a representative of some "stuttering minority". They just live on. Many are unaware of what stuttering is.
LIFE IS A MIRROR.
Society is a mirror. It reflects your mental attitudes you hold in your mind. There is nothing but a reflection. And, if you live in inner disagreement with who you are, with the way you speak, people treat you accordingly. To charge the reflection, change the image. Your feelings and attitudes to yourself first.
Learn to accept, value, and love yourself. Not when your speech improves, when you pull a girl of your dreams, not when you find a better job, have more money but NOW! UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE.
Demands of acceptance from society will only lead to further misunderstanding and steer conflict. Making your encounters inadequate reactions, ignorance, rudeness, and intolerance more frequent. People subliminally pick up how you feel and transmit it back to you. No offense, but it starts with you!
SOCIETY IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF
Stop being a victim! The quality of your life should not depend on the opinions of other people. Who cares what they think? It's your life and your opinion and attitudes towards yourself matter.
Stop seeking validation of "normality" in the eyes of total strangers. It is almost as if you ask, "Am I respectful? Will you love me? Am I normal?". This is a direct way of being disappointed as the world is indifferent. People are too preoccupied with their hang-ups. Too selfish to care.
They might glance at you for a few fleeting seconds. And then you cease to exist as they dive right back into the world of their own. Whilst you stand there dissecting the situation, waiting for total strangers to grant you permission to feel happy and enjoy life. "Am I good enough? Will you accept me? Please". You are like a beggar. How degrading. Stop holding society responsible for how you feel about yourself. Do you want acceptance? ACCEPT YOURSELF. EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE. BE AT PEACE.
BE YOUR BEST FRIEND
Stutters are good at self-depreciation. Masterful self-lashers! With low self-esteem and zero self-confidence. They are constantly in doubt as they compare themselves with fluent speakers.
Stutterers judge their worth by how well they speak. They need a confidence shoot, the social validation they seek in wider society. You appoint total strangers, call-center operators, hotel clerks, colleagues, and passer-byes, as your "validators".
When people nicely (as PWS's expect), PWS's feel the rush of confidence, the euphoria. They are riding high. But it does not last. When somebody out of ignorance, does not react as PWS expect i.e. hangs up the phone, interrupts, finishes a sentence, etc., PWS's confidence crashes down and evaporates. Self-lashing and feelings of usefulness ensue.
"I am worthless. That guy whispered; he must have been talking about me. I am a second-class citizen." They giggled. Must have been laughing about me. What a laughingstock I am".
A stutterer either becomes bitterly disappointed and shuts the door on the World completely or falls a victim of circumstances. Turns into a doormat for use and abuse. Both positions expose you as a victim.
A junkie who gets high on good opinions of others and suffers when denied. You have no control over your life or your feeling and emotions. Society is in charge of how you feel and live life.
You have worth. Intrinsic worth nobody can take away. The kind of worth that does not depend on appearances, gender, complexion, social status, amounts of money on accounts, absence, or presence of speech disfluencies. YOU HAVE WORTH! It cannot be taken away or diminish. ONLY YOU CAN with debilitating mental attitudes and ignorance towards yourself. DON'T BLAME SOCIETY. BECOME YOUR BEST FRIEND!
"Many people are more concerned with their external conditions and neglect the inner attitude of mind. Mental attitude is more important than external conditions"
Dalai Lama. Little Book of Wisdom
TELL YOUR STORY. EDUCATE SOCIETY.
Let be honest. Ignorance exists. Many do not know what stuttering is. Educate people. Become an ambassador. Tell about the challenge you face but without demanding acceptance and love. Help people see stuttering as a valid problem. Most people are naturally empathic and understanding. They will appreciate your sharing knowledge. Praise you for bravery and determination to overcome stuttering.
THE MAGIC MOMENT WHEN SOCIETAL OPINION NO LONGER MATTERS
When you begin to see your strong sides and learn to appreciate yourself, the opinion of others will no longer bother you. Your life becomes so fulfilling and enjoyable, you forget to notice the reactions of others. Total disinterest is what you fell as life takes over. If you viewed society as judgemental and discriminative, you may notice that, is not. People, in the majority, are understanding and compassionate.
Some evil people take pleasure in hurting others on purpose, of course, but I believe these types are few and far between.
I talk from personal empirical experience. It took to fully realize and internalize all the notions above. When I demanded love and appreciation, I received nothing. Life beat me hard. People, even those I was close to, turned backs on me. I did not respect me, and all because I did not respect, dislike myself.
My relationship with society transformed beyond belief only when I stopped begging for acceptance, seeking pity, and seeking validation. People started to seek my company and advice, praise me. All I did was stopped demanding acceptance and approval.
I no longer needed it because I knew who I was and appreciated myself.
LAW OF ATTRACTION IN ACTION.
You want people to be okay with stuttering? – be okay with your stuttering!
You want people to accept you for who you are ? – accept and embrace who you are!
Want love? – love yourself!
Acceptance?– accept yourself!
Respect? – respect yourself!
These are conditions you MUST meet if you want to be accepted and appreciated. If you fail to do that, nothing will change. You will only encounter more ignorance, discrimination, and misunderstanding.
Reading this article is not enough. Internalize what you learned. Live by it.
Do not hold society responsible for how you feel about yourself. Change, evolve and wider society will follow suit. Unless you change, nothing changes.
Acceptance and appreciation will come in abundance. Get ready to be astounded!
Olga Bednarski - the independent stuttering expert
mystutter [at] gmail.com