I watched a documentary called ‘School for Stammerers’ #stammerschool on TV last night and balled my eyes out throughout the whole thing. What caused me to have such an emotional reaction? I didn’t know anyone in the documentary and I don’t know anyone affected by a stammer?
When I reflected on it, it struck me that yes, the people in it were helped by learning how to use their diaphragm in a different way, but over 80% of what was causing their stammer was their thinking about it.
So throughout the programme they were coached on seeing that it was their thinking about their stammering that was causing the stammer to get worse not just the stammer itself.
Once they could see beyond their self-limiting beliefs they were able to say their name confidently (a real triumph), speak in front of a crowd of strangers and loved ones for the first time (way beyond what they could have imagined). Many of them had spent the majority of their lives doing anything and everything in their power to avoid speaking in public. For example using friends or family to speak for them or finding ways to hide themselves away so they didn’t need to speak at all (eg a 54 year old man became a long distance lorry driver). Some of them had built their whole lives on this! How much thinking and energy they spent to avoid dealing with the thinking about their stammer? How many strategies had they created to avoid situations where they had to speak? -And yet within 4 days they were able to go beyond their thinking and be who they truly were in the world.
To me there is a universal message in this for all of us. Yes these people had a stammer but how many thoughts, assumptions and beliefs do we all have knowingly and unknowingly, that hold us back? How much potential would there be in all of us if we were able to see that we innocently made this all up to protect ourselves and that it wasn’t true? Just like the people in the documentary saw that what they thought people/the public thought of them with their stammer wasn’t true, so their thinking about themselves wasn’t true.
That to me was the lesson of the documentary and why it moved me to tears. Because in those tears was the hope for you and me alike to go beyond our thinking and be who we are.