I consider myself to be a fairly confident person. I wasn’t always like this, but since becoming involved with the National Stuttering Association and talking more about my stuttering I have become increasingly confident. I take pride in my confidence and I enjoy empowering others and improving others views on themselves about their own stuttering. In my opinion, confidence in oneself is key to decreasing your negative feelings and attitudes about stuttering.
Although I feel that I am a fairly confident person, recently I have found my confidence decreasing a bit. I have just started a new job as a Speech-Language Pathologist working in home care. This is stepping way outside of my comfort zone and I think this is part of the reason why my confidence has decreased a bit. WIth a decrease in confidence comes an increase in stuttering for me and I am finding myself increasingly disfluent, especially in my new work environement. I am finding myself losing eye contact, using secondary characteristics, and using a lot of interjections.. This is not me, why am I doing this right now?
I know I will bounce back. Im not sure how I will attempt to bounce back, but I know I will. Things will get better, but why do things fall backward sometimes? Even the most confident people who stutter have a tendency to fall backwards from time to time. As you can all see, I am human too. I guess that is just the roller coaster ride that people who stutter deal with, even the confident ones. Tell me about about your roller coaster ride? When you fall backwards, how do you rebound from those experiences to move forward again?
Thank you to Mason and Ashlee for your recent voicemail feedback that you sent me. Please contact me again if you would like me to respond to it publicly in a podcast. Feel free to email me or facebook message me. If not, I would love to get in contact with you to discusss!
A good friend of mine, Pam Mertz, founder of Stutter Rockstar, shared the same experiences on her blog. Check out her blog post on making room for stuttering.
Funny! My blog post for today was very similar.
Hey Pam, after I posted I realized this! Maybe there is something in the air. I just spoke with Danny last night about how my confidence level has dropped over the past couple of weeks and we had a great conversation about ways to deal. Hope all is well with you!
As a PWA and SLP I therapize myself. Forcing myself to make eye contact. Kicking myself when I avoid. Forcing myself to use strategies…
Thank you Bob, maybe forcing myself will be beneficial. Maybe it will gradually become easier and natural over time.
[…] his thoughts without me even asking. We both shared almost similar stories today on our blogs. See his here! Share if you like this! Tags: acceptance of stuttering, feelings about stuttering, listener […]
My ears are burning!
I use the same tactic as Bob the Builder. When I begin to notice that I’m losing eye contact more often, for example I would make it a goal to try to stop losing contact that day (one technique I use is to notice the eye colour of the person you’re speaking to).
But one thing I’ve learned over the years is even the most confident person can lose confidence in any situation. I have a friend who is tall, blond hair/blue eyes and muscular. When this guy walks into a room, everyone notices and gives him their full attention. I always admired how he dripped with confidence. I was surprised one day when he told me that he had been feeling pretty unconfident (is that a word?) lately.
So lesson learned. Don’t be hard on yourself, give yourself the time to feel sad but keep positive AND tell a friend. Confidence comes back and is something we can only develop through sadness and suffering (“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”).
Danny, I like your comment. I think it is important to remember that we are not the only onces who lose confidence. Even fluent people become self conscious from time to time. We are not alone!
I’ve been there too, initial increased stress levels due to starting a new job having a negative impact on fluency, which can lead to further anxiety in speaking only.
“It’s vital to look at people when we are speaking to them at all times. That’s because what we are saying is very important, whereas the person to whom we are speaking… they are not important, what they think, their opinions and what they say is not important. The other person, the ‘OP’ is not important.”
No, I’m not an arrogant full of my own importance type individual, far from it, but I’ve shared with you an example of an inner thought I’ve used when speaking to people, particularly people I don’t know, that’s helped me to build up my own confidence when I’ve needed it most. There are many examples of single-minded confidence phrases, but it helps to keep telling ourself that we are confident everyday. Sometimes I just do a bit of acting. Many people who appear confident to us, are just very good actors!
I had the habit of not looking at people when speaking to them and was told to look at people in the eye. I felt uncomfortable with this thought,… so I cheated! Instead, I choose the spot between the OP’s eyes, above the nose. Yes, I choose that spot to look at the unimportant OP ha! ha!
Brian, thank you for your suggestions. I am trying to push through and I am making an effort to maintain eye contact. These tactics are very helpful. For the past couple of days I have maintained eye contact by identifying the persons eye color That seems to be working.
I want to get to the point where I am not struggling to maintain eye contact because right now it seems like it is a struggle. I will get there. I just need to persevere.
I have a hard time with eye contact still depending on the person I am speaking with. I think the hardest thing about mainting eye contact is that, because of my fear of stuttering, I am so afraid of maintaining eye contact that it is almost painful for me to do so. I feel so uncomfortable, I have to look away. Sometimes, I find it helpful to give myself little “pep talks” whenever I am in an uncomfortable situation. Maybe we all do this, or I’m just weird, I don’t know LOL. Sometimes, I will just tell myself “you are okay, you will get through this, you can do it, remember to breath”. I kind of talk myself through it, since no one else will. I find this helpful, and it usually works. It is also a way of being objective while in the uncomfortable moment. Reminding yourself that you are okay may be helpful; it is for me.