Good evening everyone,
A few weeks ago I was perusing the local aisles of the library and while I was focusing on books in the careers and workplace section, I came across a book that just darted out at me. Have you ever had one of those moments? I'm sure you have....you're just casually looking, and all of a sudden, the thunderbolt out of a clear blue sky hits you: "Read me! Take me home!" you visualize the book talking to you. That's exactly what I did. And it was all because of the title.
The title of the book was "The No Asshole Zone." Now there's a great conversation starter if there ever was one. The book talks about how co-workers who are genuine certified assholes can ruin the environment for others-how their negative energy zaps people, what you can do to avoid them (or interact with them if you must), and why they are the way they are. The more I began to read, I realized that before I found the National Stuttering Association, I was...a stuttering asshole in how I treated myself and others.
So what exactly makes a "stuttering asshole?" For starters, it's how you treat yourself. The psyche is such a very powerful, yet sensitive instrument of the human mind. We can alter it from one extreme to another: We can make ourselves self-confident and aware that our life can be lived with vigor, passion, and enthusiasm for stuttering. On the other hand, if you let the pendulum swing the other direction, you become a bearer of your feelings on others-and you impose those feelings of guilt, shame, humiliation...because if you have to endure being a person who stutters, so should the rest of the world so they can experience what it's like.
For so many years, I was so angry and wrapped up in those emotions that I couldn't even look at a world outside myself. I found myself consumed with the need to make others feel so bad that it was all I knew. A "stuttering asshole" is one who isn't in touch with their feelings. They're one who instead of reaching up to inspire others and help them with their journey of self-acceptance, likes to put down others because it makes them feel good.
Someone once put as their personal quote on AOL "Don't pay attention to those in your past, because there is a reason they didn't make it into your future." Well, I can guarantee that if you be a "stuttering asshole," no one will want you in their future. I know where my future lies-I want teammates who will stand up for me, the way I stand up for them. Don't be a stuttering asshole.
My name is Steven Kaufman and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.