November 11, 2011

Last Chapter: Self-Motivation & Beyond..

Self-therapy has a big dis-advantage: when you are down, there is no therapist around to motivate you. There is no one to challenge and remind you of the goals set by you, just a few days ago. You have to help yourself. It is like climbing your own shoulders to get out of the pit you have fallen in. Is it possible? Is it doable? For disciplined & creative people, YES. So how does a stammerer, who is already facing frequent set backs, bad moods and worry, motivates him / her self?
Power of environment
If you are growing up in a family, where everyone is mistakenly trying to help you through denial: You are fine. You dont need to join that group of stammerers. Your problem is very minimal...etc. - then, it will be nearly impossible to remain motivated on a long course of self-therapy. Sometime even colleagues and friends may put you off by a chance comment: what is this funny way of speaking you have picked up. Earlier you stammered occasionally and that was fine by us..
Now, you cant give up your family and friends - or change them overnight. But you can certainly have another family, which motivates you, makes you feel accepted, understands the struggles you are going through- and which may even help you by providing the right atmosphere for practice. This is the group of pws, meeting physically, or through phone or even a web-based group. Joining such a group and interacting regularly can psychologically help you much.
When you join such a group, keep a few things in mind: Many pws dont want to receive help- they WANT to help others! This is unrealistic and a little childish too. To help others, you have to have certain skills, knowledge and some experience.
On the other hand, even a novice can help by listening respectfully to other pws. This you should try to do as often as possible, rather than trying to teach every one the technique or trick that may have helped you. Ideally, a SHG is the best place for sharing about yourself honestly, so that you can come out of that burden of shame and isolation. Once you have participated in a group for some months or so, try the next step: setting up and leading a SHG.

Leading a SHG
Whether this SHG is physical, phone based or web-based, leading it would develop your initiative, communication, people-skills, planning, facilitation, problem solving and above all- you will be FORCED to learn more about stammering and self-therapy.
It is only, when they take up such a role, many pws discover that stammering is their last and least problem. What has actually been slowing them down in life are other personality traits like: procrastination, lethargy, avoidance of conflict at any cost, refusing to plan ahead, not sharing information with other team members, trying to micro-manage everything on their own, not trusting others etc. The SHG becomes gradually the play ground where they learn these and many more skills. Their focus shifts from Cure and Fluency to effective and efficient communication. Their vision broadens to a larger slice of humanity in stead of just worrying about themselves. From “loners”, they transform into excellent “team players” and “leaders”. This kind of transformation is rarely achieved by traditional therapy.
Inner Transformation
No change is complete until it touches your deepest core. Otherwise there is a danger of RELAPSE even after years. This inner transformation happens through just one act: Accepting yourself as you are. Acceptance of the PRESENT moment. If we recall, as a child, we hated being called a “stammerer”; we went to great lengths to PROVE that we are not one. Harder we tried to prove, worse the problem became. In fact, as a therapist said: stammering is what you do, in order not to stammer. An elaborate set of avoidance behavior and attitude took over our personality.
This non-acceptance, this kicking against an obvious fact took many forms over the years: we often questioned God: Why me? We refused to associate with other people with disabilities, we became obsessed with our own issues and problems and went deeper and deeper, in a dark hole of me and my stammering and my hurt and my this and my that...
Even when we went for therapy, we did not accept whole heartedly, our stammering and the obvious need for help. We would reason like this: I dont stammer- not like so and so; I just hesitate a little. If this therapist can just teach me how to say those difficult words, I will be okay. I dont need to follow these other things which are meant for stammerers..
Whenever the topic of our stammering comes up, in the office or elsewhere, we are very surprised. If it is even mentioned in the annual performance appraisal, we feel so insulted that we resign and switch job. If we analyze, all our hardships emerge not from stammering but from our refusal to acknowledge and accept it.
Over many years, and after much suffering, a point comes when we can no longer deny the obvious- we accept our stammering and associated issues, dump all the emotional baggage and are ready to move forward. This is the point, when any therapy, any event, any practice will help us tremendously. More maturity comes over us, as we raise our head- for the fist time, consider other people and genuinely ask: Why not me? ie. if others can suffer so much, what is the big deal if I stammer?
Things begin to fall in proper perspective. We get more concerned about others. We learn to show our love and concern for others through service, self-less acts of sharing and helping others.
At last you are truly able to say and feel that stammering was a boon in disguise: you would not be the person, you are today, if you did not stammer. You still sometime have those moments of difficulty while talking, but they no more matter. You have learned the art of deeper communication, where spoken words are only a hint, a medium, not the essence of communication. You have become not just a good communicator but a WHOLE person at last. You have been healed completely. You feel no need to go out and prove that. You are at peace with yourself and with the world.
Two big changes attending this inner flowering are: All kind of fears have almost totally subsided. You are no more frightened of FAILURE or of people's reactions. You try out all those things, which you wanted to do all these years, but never had the courage to go ahead. Second, related change is- for the first time in life, your inner creativity takes over your life: you explore new ingenuous ways of doing meaningful things in life. You may write a book, become life-coach to someone, work for a social cause, give up job and start a new venture, go on a world tour, join Vipassana and explore inner world with deep commitment etc. Yes, anything is possible, once you acknowledge, accept and transcend your stammer. This is the moment, for which Gods and your eternal Self, have been waiting for ages with baited breath..
You may still be asking me: So...tell me for once, is there a cure or not?
Okay listen to this story and decide for yourself:
Akbar drew a line on the ground and challenged his courtiers to shorten it- without touching it. Many came forward and tried but failed. Finally Birbal came, drew a bigger line next to it and said: There! Done!
Akbar agreed. Courtiers said- My Lord, but it is there! Akbar smiled at Birbal and asked him to convince the courtiers. Birbal cleared his throat respectfully and started: My Lord, if you look carefully for a few seconds, the smaller line will disappear- as if by magic- and you will notice only one line, the bigger one. Yes, I can see only one line- the one I made, the bigger one.
Courtiers, coughed louder, with more respect and said: My lord, he is a lier. How can YOUR line disappear? There are two lines and yours is certainly bigger.
Finally Birbal took Akbar to one corner and said: My lord, even you will agree with my observation. Eyes will see only that which is bigger. But your courtiers will need a GO to see that!
They both had a good laugh. The debate continues to this day.
(NB: GO - Government Order)


J P Sunda said...

Wow, beautiful! Dr Sachin, this chapter sums up everything really well, with a great deal of honesty and sincerity and gives a chance to look at bigger picture. Please keep writing - I am sure you have gone beyond the point where lack of comments will affect u ;-)

sachin said...

They actually strengthen my resolve.. :-))

Er. Umesh 9068322345 said...

One of the most good article I read on inner thoughts and self acceptance! Every line strikes in our deep inner and provide us right knowledge. Thanks sir for sharing it.

sachin said...

Thanks Umesh. Since I have been to "Mahabalipuram", I can write a Guidebook for "Mahabalipuram"..