She’s gorgeous, intelligent and knows herself better than I will ever know myself. She completely owns up to and accepts who she is. And in her case that’s a lot more difficult than it would be for most of us. She has a part that, if not accepted but fought, if not acknowledged but ignored, could make her life miserable.
Sometimes she gets a few sentences out in one go, but then she gets stuck and has to try 3-4 times to say a word.
To me, the most tell tale sign about her inner peace is her smile. When she gets stuck and tries to say something the second, third or fourth time and it still doesn’t come – which, you’d expect, would be a good reason for her to be embarrassed and frustrated – she smiles.
And its not an “Uhm, I’m so embarrassed I’d better cover it up” kind of smile. It’s genuine. You can tell.
She basically laughs at her disability – if you want to call it that, but she doesn’t feel disabled at all. And by doing that she dispenses the air of unease and tension that usually sets in when a stutterer struggles hard with a word.
The way she’s accepted herself and she deals with the more difficult part of her being, teaches us a crucial lesson: how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
You’ve heard it many times. You should move outside your comfort zone, worthwhile things happen outside your comfort zone etc. But she essentially lives outside her comfort zone and has managed to grow comfortable with that.
Imagine you could do that! How would that change your life?
So how does she do it?
The trick is very simple, but takes lots of practice and discipline. She has developed an awareness of her speech. She is conscious of it at all times and when she gets stuck, she knows it. If she didn’t know, she would panic and be embarrassed. But she is aware and snaps herself and the listener out of it with a genuine smile.
You can do this too.
Notice the things that make you uncomfortable. Do more of those things and watch yourself carefully. Watch how you react, watch how people around you react. Be conscious of the moment when it turns from okay to uncomfortable. Remind yourself that you know that this is the point that it gets uncomfortable. That knowing will change the perspective and it will stop being uncomfortable. A smile or some other unexpected action will also help the people around you not to be embarrassed on your behalf.
Being comfortable with being uncomfortable enables you not just to step outside your comfort zone, but to not have a comfort zone at all. And that can turn your life around.