Everyone with a stammer will call it one of those embarrassing problems of life. It causes anxiety in a variety of situations. When you feel embarrassed, accompanying that comes the feeling that you need to apologise. You do not and nor should you be saying sorry!
Why apologise for being you?
The way you speak is the way you speak. It’s unique to you and it is ingrained in how your brain works. It’s scientific fact. How the brain of someone with a stammer differs from someone with fluent speech is just a white-matter issue. Nothing you can do about that, other than influence it with different strategies to shape how you speak.
You will never change your speech, until you change your attitude.
Your attitude to your stammer affects how you feel about it. If you can’t accept the fact you have a stammer, you’ll struggle to accept who you are as a person. That affects your friends, and those are the people who make up your support network. Not just for support to help speak better, but support that comes in the form of a shoulder to lean on when life hands you dreadful cards that just aren’t fair.
Life’s unfair but we’re not all sorry
Some of the most famous people sprinkled throughout history have had a speech impediment and still influenced the world in tremendous ways. You need to be accepting of yourself for others to accept you and speak to people without feeling the need to say sorry every time you hit a block.
Does everyone say sorry for saying – eh?
No, and everyone you consider to be a fluent speaker will always slide back to safe words like eh, which is only a filler word to help them think about what they’re going to say next.
They say – er, you say sorry.
Why would you do that? Stop being apologetic for being you. In today’s society, more people are aware and accepting of those who are different. They need to be.
Let’s face it, quite a few years back now, gay people were being treated with counseling to help them become straight because it wasn’t accepted that being gay was a unique characteristic of someone.
Now, with the gay rights movements, it’s perfectly accepting for people to come out without shame or fear of ridicule. Sure, in some parts of the country that may still happen but it’s not as frequent as it used to be.
You too can come out and begin speaking with the stammer you know is going to surface at some point. When it does, so what if there’s a weird look on someone’s face? They’re probably just taken by surprise but don’t assume they are judging you. Most (no the majority) of the time, when you stammer, the only person judging the instance is you. You’re your worst judge of character.
How to stop it?
Challenge yourself. Put yourself into situations that are more uncomfortable. Make it a point to phone a friend through the week. Make it a point to go for a coffee once a week and you order the drinks. Make it a point to get out and about to meet new people and stop hibernating in your bedroom, stuck in front of a laptop typing messages through Facebook.
Switch from typing PMs, or texting to using video calling. If you use an Apple product, you’ll have access to Face Time. On all other devices, the Messenger app that integrates with Facebook Messenger has a video calling feature. Use it.
Use what you were given as your tool to be heard. Your mouth and tongue are there for you to communicate so stop trying to put the genie back in the bottle by using avoidance tactics.
There are more people than you likely know with a stammer. Just not everyone considers it a disability. You don’t choose to have a stammer, but you can choose your attitude to living with it.
Stop apologising for being you!