Celebrating Resilience: Get on Your Own Side – Scott Palisak

About the Author:

Scott Palisak is a person who can stutter. He is also an Associate Professor at the University Akron, Ohio, who teaches Stuttering, Counseling, and Voice disorders at the graduate level along with supervising future SLPs. Further, he runs the MASS Lab (Mindfulness ACT Social Cognition and Stuttering) at the University of Akron. He also is the co-host and co-creator for The Act To Live Podcast (along with Jaime Michise) and is a partner with the 3C Digital Media Network LLC. Scott is devoted to being an Assistant Faculty member at Camp Shout Out, which is a magical camp for kids who stutter in Michigan. He is a passionate novelist (under the pen name B.D. Scott) and a musician and songwriter since he was 12 years old. He practices mindfulness meditation daily, values health, and appreciates the act of evolving as a person, Speech Language Pathologist and a fellow human in order to build a community and world of kindness and understanding. 

Like many people who stutter, making phone calls was, and still can be a tortuous experience for me. It is one of the hardest speaking situations I enter into on a daily basis and has been that way since I was able to dial a phone. There are many times I can remember, and many more I have purposely forgotten, where I felt emotions like sadness, anger, or self-imposed down right hateful feelings. These emotions were toward others, and myself.  There were many calls where the listener laughed, hung up on me, or asked, “What is your name? Don’t you know it?” In my adolescence and younger adulthood, I felt stupid, inept, like there was nothing I could do right to speak. What that mindset did was keep me in the same place. Those thoughts kept me from moving, anywhere. They kept me from growing, evolving, and learning. They kept me from my own desire to change my perceptions in order to change my situation. Moreover, I was giving up on life, and myself. I did not realize that in order to adjust, live, change, or create thoughts and actions that fit me better, and that were not filled with rage, I needed to learn the practice of resilience, and be on my own side. 

Rick Hanson, a world-renowned neuropsychologist wrote, “Everything changes. That’s the universal nature of outer reality and inner experience….Consequently, your brain is forever chasing after the moment that has just passed, trying to understand and control it.”(Hanson & Medious, 2009, pp. 33-34). For people who stutter, this might be the exact experience related to the struggle to live with a speech difference that can be noticeable within the first seconds of speaking, but can also be hidden for years as it infringes a psychological toll whenever speech is produced or even considered. A person who stutters navigates so many variables when it comes to their stuttering. From fears of specific sounds, anxiety about certain speaking situations, assumptions of what people may think, mocking (whether intentional or not), teasing, bullying, feelings of decreased self-worth, occupational challenges (self-imposed or societally imposed), and so much more. Not to mention, the physical struggle with speech itself, and need to talk a little easier. However, that need is not so simple. 

So with all of the aforementioned factors, that continually change, it can be easy to have feelings of shame, blaming others, perceptions of lashing out, and resignation (giving up). So the question becomes, how can we bounce back? How can each person who stutters manage the struggles, fears, and the idea that “Everything changes” as it relates to the perceptions and production of stuttering along with the moment-by-moment psychological adjustments to external experience and internal insecurities. 

When I was growing up, I played soccer and basketball, worked as Seafood Chef, and was a singer and songwriter in rock bands. Through all of these endeavors, I had to learn new skills with sports, how to adjust recipes, and skills related to being a musician in order to be better at these activities. This is where resilience starts, and is exactly like the activities I practiced growing up. The first step to being resilient might be to see resilience as a skill. In addition, resilience is a skill like any other behavior. Just like learning a new instrument, developing the art of writing novels, getting repetitions when engaging in sports, or just learning how to knit. The important part of learning ANY new still is practice. Therefore, by adjusting our mindset to seeing the act of resilience as repeated work (practice), we can start to move toward owning the reactions toward our stuttering and any experiences with others related to our stuttering. 

I remember when I was 18, being suicidal and not wanting to get to 19. I blamed stuttering for my anger. I blamed people for not accepting the way I talked. In addition, I fully believed that stuttering was the root cause of all of my sadness and lack of perceived success in the world. However, many years separated from that time, I have seen that I possessed a fixed mindset and I had no interest in stepping back to entertain anything other than my own negative stories.  What I learned was that the skill of resilience requires the practiced development of psychological flexibility, body, and attitude. In order to create psychological and perceptual flexibility, the practice of willingness and openness are vital. This began with being willing to open up to all of the genuinely kind people around me.  

The moment that I realized people cared about me, was the moment I began to live, and survive. In other words, I came to see the notion that we are not islands, and we do not survive without help from others, just as others do not survive without help from us. Shawn Achor wrote, “The height of your potential is predicted by the people who surround you. So the key …is to SURROUND yourself with people who will lift you up rather than drag you down” (Achor, 2018, p. 63).  This is where making choices is such a vital part of life, and is a fundamental skill involved in living a resilient lifestyle. This involves not just making conscious choices about people, but knowing that we can make choices about how we think and act in relation to stuttering. 

Of course, in order to practice anything, we have to be able to let go of the habits that we have created from years influenced (not created) by the many reactions to the external and internal experiences of being a person who stutters. Pema Chodron wrote, “As humans we have the potential to disentangle ourselves from old habits, and the potential to love and care about each other” (Chodron, 2009, p. 1). The humble words of “caring about each other” includes caring for ourselves. When we practice believing in ourselves, and spending energy learning to be kind to ourselves, we can further develop the skill of being resilient to EVERYTHING CHANGING, as Rick Hanson inferred above. This practice starts with caring about ourselves, beginning with the moment right now. Chodron further wrote, “We have the capacity to wake up and live consciously, but, you may have noticed, we also have the inclination to stay asleep.” I have to admit, it was easier at age 18 to blame others for my pain and to EXPECT the world to accept me (and stuttering) when the truth was I did not know what accepting myself and stuttering meant. In other words, as Pema Chodron indicates, I was moving through life asleep. I was not conscious of what the reality was of the life I was living, which meant I was blind (asleep) to what was possible.  You see, opening our eyes in a purposeful and meaningful way can help us all choose practices (actions) of resilience. 

So what are some examples of practicing actions of resilience? Well, Hanson and Hanson (2018) wrote about three mental resources for basic needs: 1) Safety, 2) Satisfaction, 3) Connection.  Within these three mental resources, we can create actions that fit our desire of being resilient. Let us start with Safety. Hanson and Hanson wrote that safety is the idea of “being on your own side” (p. 63). As people who stutter, we can advocate for ourselves. Advocacy means to promote ourselves, take actions to express a perspective we might believe, and perhaps defend that thought, all while advocating with openness, calm, and peace rather than anger or ego. Advocacy is not the practice of being right, it is simply the expression of an opinion we think might be the best in that moment.

Satisfaction, according to Hanson and Hanson, can include things like gratitude, accomplishment, enthusiasm, passion, and clarity of goals. When we practice such things, and become satisfied with the ways we choose to think about our stuttering and we are conscious of the goals we wish to attain related to how we speak, we are further building the skill of resilience. Doing anything with enthusiasm creates purpose, and purpose creates passion and more practice. 

Finally, Connection starts with compassion for our self and others, and includes other components like self-worth, and forgiveness. I know as a person who stutters, I spent a lot of time blaming so many others for my speech. I used to blame my first Speech Language Pathologist. I spent energy blaming my family. I gave power to blame, because it fed my ego of being right. The problem was, it did not include compassion for anyone, especially myself. Further, it was shortsighted and lacked any generosity and kindness. Thus, I was not building and practicing resilience. Instead, I was practicing resignation; resigning to the idea that there was nothing to be done about my stuttering, my thoughts, my anger, and sadness. 

 Now, as a person who can stutter, a Speech Language Pathologist, a teacher, and so many other roles, I continue to practice resilience by putting myself in situations where I can be on my own side, feel enthusiasm with any accomplishment, and be kind to others and myself as related to stuttering thoughts and behaviors. I attempt to celebrate accomplishments related to stuttering and how I speak. Celebrating accomplishments is healthy, and can be performed in unique ways. Social psychologist, Fred Bryant, found that mini-celebrations can plump up the positive emotions which make it easier to manage the daily challenges that cause major stress (from Campbell, 2015). So go out and celebrate speaking, it will keep you healthy! 

Finally, the last piece of resilience I wanted to touch on is the practice of optimism. Dr. Elizabeth Hopper (2017) discussed optimism saying it was not the act of avoiding negative events, but rather a mindset that we can create and practice to help us manage and cope with the challenges that life throws at us. Therefore, by practicing looking at life by beginning to accept things that might be challenging, and attempting to see what we can learn or adjust in order to cope with life in healthier ways, we are again building skills to handle the idea that “Everything changes”. Thus, creating a mindset that can be resilient to those changes that stuttering can sometimes create. 

Practicing resilience has taught me that I appreciate and rely on many people for their support. That education can be vital to the promotion of resilience. I have come to realize that stuttering does not define my life, and/or who I am. It may be a part of my life, but it is not all I am. There are so many parts of me and I am the sum of the whole, not the sum of one part. Lastly, the practice of resilience has taught me that the world does not NEED to understand and accept me, nor does it need to understand and accept stuttering. I am the only one who can choose to accept me and accept the path I have chosen to take with stuttering. 

In closing, resilience is where we can live. Resilience is survival.  Resilience is a skill we can build upon with practice. Resilience is possible. Why not try it. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

References: 

Achor, S. (2018). Big Potential: How transforming the pursuit of success raises our achievement, happiness, and well-being. Penguin Random House LLC; New York, NY.

Campbell, P. (2015). Why you should celebrate everything. Psychology Today. Retrieved July 1, 2020 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/imperfect-spirituality/201512/why-you-should-celebrate-everythinWhy You Should Celebrate Everything

Chodron, P. (2009). Taking the Leap: Freeing ourselves from old habits and fears. Shambhala Publications Inc; Boston, MA.

Hanson, R. & Mendius, R. (2009).Buddha’s Brain: Happiness, Love, & Wisdom. New Harbinger Publications, Inc.; Oakland, CA.

Hanson, R. &  Hanson, F. (2018). Resilient: How to grow an unshakeable core of calm, strength, and happiness. Penguin Random House LLC; New York, NY.

Hopper, E. (2017). Look at the Brightside: The science of optimism. Healthy Psych. Retrieved August, 2020 from: ttps://healthypsych.com/the-science-of-optimism/






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Comments

Celebrating Resilience: Get on Your Own Side – Scott Palisak — 52 Comments

  1. Hello all!
    My name is Scott Palasik, the author of this submission. Feel free to ask questions, say hello, or share your experiences here in this chat. I will be checking daily and hope to have wonderfully caring and thoughtful conversations with you all.
    Enjoy the 2020 ISAD Conference!
    With compassion, kindness, and resilience for us all,
    Scott

    • Hello Scott I have been trying to read a different paper every day,Today I looked for your name to see if you had written a paper as the comments you gave me were interesting thought provoking and encouraged me to keep going and step out further, Then I found your amazing paper and I have sat here and read it twice .I think you guys who have recognised at a much early age then me that a stutter can make us resourceful and we can share and help others and we can build strong relations.And we can follow our dreams and be powerful empathic teachers.Your paperIs really helpful for lots of people. I totaly understand about the phone and i found i could bounce back by using the stratergy of just blurting out i am ok I just have a stutter then people dont think you are drunk, or they hang up particular when you have to ring a call centre. I think the other this stratergy helped me was I was in a job where I needed at times to make emergency calls and I would dial and when they ask what service I wanted I managed that one work and then when they came on the phone I would say i have a stutter but i ok and then i would ask for what i needed and this just worked .Scott can i ask a question when you ring up what stratergy do you use . Thanks again .

  2. Great paper, Scott. I like your perspective. Have you ever tried to parse out exactly what the contribution of stuttering is to different fears? For example, I thought for years that I’d call everyone in the world if I didn’t stutter (i.e., that stuttering was the sole reason I didn’t). Then I saw how many people dislike making phone calls and realized that my fear was both the same and different. I ask this question mostly because you’re a deep thinker, but it isn’t totally divorced from resilience. There is something about feeling a little more normal that helps with confronting fears. Example of safety?

  3. Dale,

    HI! I hope you are healthy and well. You always ask such great questions, and as far as deep thinkers go, you are right there!

    Your point about feeling a little more normal helps with confronting fears is so great. I’m going to associate this with Poverty. Strange, right? I did some poverty research with a graduate student several years ago and one of things we found in the literature was that people in poverty have the same need as anyone to feel normal by engaging in socially normal events and material things in order to maybe avoid the social emotional anxieties (Fears) of being in poverty. So, your point about “feeling normal” to address fears and anxiety is such an important part of living, and feeling safe (like you had for an example).

    Your example of safety is so appropriate right now too, in the world we live in with COVID 19. We are all trying to find normalcy in a world that has forced us to live in ways we are not used to, or that are “abnormal” for us.

    Coming back to stuttering, for many years I had your same thought about “If I did not stutter I could call anyone, or I could talk in class.” But, your right, a lot of people who don’t stutter fear or have anxiety about these things too. But I never knew that until adulthood, and even knowing it, I was so wrapped up in my own fears that I was not thinking about anyone else. However now (after years of practice and building awareness skills) knowing more about human nature and how a large majority of us perceive public speaking and making phone calls has helped me become more comfortable with these two speaking situations. Mainly because I know I’m not alone, and fears of speaking situations are normal. So, that has helped decreased the feared thoughts when entering into these situations and my level of negative self-talk following a feared speaking situation.

    That all being said, your question about “parsing out exactly what the contribution of stuttering is to different fears” is wonderful and powerful. I used to blankly say, “Stuttering is causing these fears towards speaking situations.” However, I have spent more and more time as an adult looking at breaking down my thoughts through various mindfulness activities and practices. I learned through readings about how we create habits that I’ve been building habits most of my life (physically, mentally, and verbally) that have many parts to them. By parsing out the variables of these habits, and breaking them down, I have begun to look at these thoughts, behaviors and the words I chose and wish to use with making small adjustments. Not large changes, small adjustments. With small adjustments come dividends, not unlike if a person takes 10 steps/day. Eventually they will walk 1 mile. If at the end of that mile are their dreams, then they have achieved their dreams.

    I think we often try to leap over the journey in order to get to the outcome. But the reality is, we don’t have wings. So we have to walk or run to meet goals. It is just how humans are physically and mentally built. Along our walk or run we might trip over a rock, a log, or fall in a stream. However, looking at the ground to see what caused our fall, and examining how we walk or run carefully can help us make adjustments to how we move forward, and feel confident with future steps we take.

    Does that all make sense?

    Dale, always a pleasure to hear from you! You make us all better in so many ways!
    With compassion and kindness,
    Scott

    • Wow, what a great response! To generalize a little further, I suppose we also have to admit that stuttering may not be solely responsible for all setbacks. “She broke up with me because I stutter” or “I didn’t get the job because of stuttering” could both be absolutely true. Then again, bouncing back from either might include addressing some other concerns as well.

      • Dale,

        Hi! Such a great point that “stuttering may not be solely responsible for all setbacks.” The sure act of being WILLING to “admit” that can be tremendously hard. Especially when our habit is to blame stuttering and anyone for our suffering. Stuttering may play a role in some things, but we ultimately make choices of thought and behaviors.
        Man, I always enjoy our conversations.
        Keep being you!
        With compassion and kindness,
        Scott

  4. Hello Scott,

    What a wonderful invitation to “get on your own side”! Your terrific paper is chock full of such gems. I’ve read it twice and will be revisiting it, for sure. For me, the idea that “safety” equates to being on your own side is a remarkable insight. Much food for thought! Best to you,

    Rob Dellinger

    • Rob,

      Thanks for your input. I agree, safety and being on your own side walk together. I’ve been wondering lately how can we effectively teach this mental skill with PWS of all ages. Have any ideas?
      Be well, safe, and you!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

    • Kristin,
      Thank you for reading it! I thought I would bring in some of the Hanson stuff we’ve all been reading. Great stuff!
      Thanks,
      Scott

  5. The concept of viewing resilience as a skill that needs to be practiced really stood out to me. Additionally, the statement “it was not the act of avoiding negative events, but rather a mindset that we can create and practice to help us manage and cope with the challenges that life throws at us” is extremely powerful and could be adapted in different areas of life. The strategies that you listed to practice resilience, accepting life challenges and self-advocacy are takeaways that I personally will begin to work on in my day to day life. The different things that you discussed will help me have a more positive mindset when faced with challenging situations and encouraged me to always be on my own side. You mentioned that during your adolescent years, you “possessed a fixed mindset”, do you think it was relatively easy to get out of this mindset once you developed psychological flexibility?

  6. Dear Lativ,

    HI! Thank you for stopping by and taking your valuable time to read my submission. I appreciate your feedback and I wish you so much happiness and kindness as you continue to move toward the person you wish to be!

    Your question is great about, “You mentioned that during your adolescent years, you “possessed a fixed mindset”, do you think it was relatively easy to get out of this mindset once you developed psychological flexibility?”

    If I was being honest with myself, and you (a value I try to keep in the front of my mind) is that it was challenging to evolve from a fixed mindset. The concept of developing psychological flexibility is a skill. However, what I can say is that once I gave myself PERMISSION to see that I have options, the essential part of psychological flexibility, this opened up my life to so many new doors. New doors of ways I COULD THINK. New doors with the ways I COULD TALK. New doors with ways I could BEHAVIOR out the outside in the world and INTERACT with the world and people.

    I remember a quote from the movie A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, “If it was easy, everyone would do it. It is the hard that makes it great.” Stuttering CAN be just that way. It is the the hard, the things we learn, and our suffering that can make us better and greater than we ever thought possible. Does anyone want things to be hard? NO. However, welcome to life. we all suffer, and we all experience joy. And these two things are separated by one breath. One choice. One moment. One thought. One option. One flex of our mind.

    Have a lovely day and keep asking questions and evolving!
    With compassion and kindness,
    Scott

  7. Foremost, thank you for sharing your valuable insight into stuttering and personal experiences. You make a keen point about resilience as a skill. Prior to reading this article, I never viewed resilience as a skill, but rather a trait an individual possesses. I figured some people are more inclined to be more resilient than other. However, you are right, resilience is a skill. For us to be more resilient we need to practice it and adjust our “mindset to seeing the act of resilience as repeated work.” I think this shift of perspective is so very important when working with PWS. When we actively engage with our fears of stuttering and taking ownership of our stutter, we are able to build up our resiliency. With greater resiliency, there is a sense of control and new perspective on how we confront challenges. At the crux of it, resilience is what allows us to push on and thrive. Thank you again.
    -Zevin

    • Zevin,
      HI! Thank you for your great thoughts and for taking time to write. I love what you wrote:
      “When we actively engage with our fears of stuttering and taking ownership of our stutter, we are able to build up our resiliency. With greater resiliency, there is a sense of control and new perspective on how we confront challenges. At the crux of it, resilience is what allows us to push on and thrive.”
      What lovely and powerful thoughts. Through sharing our thoughts, not matter how they come out, we can help each other create skills for communication success. Resilience might be part of that journey of success!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  8. Hi Scott,
    I really enjoyed reading your paper, thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences. The first quote that really stood out to me was “I did not realize that in order to adjust, live, change, or create thoughts and actions that fit me better, and that were not filled with rage, I needed to learn the practice of resilience, and be on my own side”. I think it is so true that you have to be your biggest supporter. I am a huge believer that the energy that you put into the world is the type of energy you will receive back. How will other people support and understand you if you are unable to do it yourself? This is no way discredits that challenges, emotions, and fear that an individual may experience, but it more so defines the outcomes. You are a perfect example of how to be resilient. You even mentioned how you had to shift your mindset and learn to be your own cheerleader, always finding positives and a reason to celebrate accomplishments. I know that is not an easy thing to do, and to this day I am sure you may experience times when it is not so easy to be on your own side. This truly was such a great read.

    Best,
    Karissa O’Cain

    • Karissa,

      HI! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your time! I loved what you said, “I am a huge believer that the energy that you put into the world is the type of energy you will receive back.” This reminds me of a quote by Mahammad Ghandi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

      I agree with you. The energy we want to see in the world starts with us. It can be all kinds of energy, emotions, feelings, and thoughts. But it starts with us. Perhaps these are the foundations of resilience is the energy we put in it.

      Be well, safe, and keep sharing.
      With compassion, kindness, and appreciation,
      Scott

  9. Hi Scott,
    Thank you for being so honest about the thoughts and emotions you have experienced in your life. You brought up so many wonderful points throughout this paper that are so insightful and educational. Something that really stood out to me was when you talked about changing your mindset. If we have a mindset that is solely focused on looking at the negatives, it is hard to see the positives. You discussed how once you realized you had this negative mindset you saw how much it was impacting your life. Once you made the decision to change your mindset, you became aware of the positive things in your life. For example, your changed mindset allowed you to see that people loved and cared about you which in turn changed your outlook on life. I feel like it is so easy for us to be sucked in by all the negativities we surround ourselves with instead of just getting rid of them. You brought up such an important point about surrounding yourself with people who lift you up instead of bringing you down. Continuing to surround ourselves with people who have negative mindsets makes it hard to see the good in basically anything. While it is difficult to get rid of the negative habits, it is so worth it and you are living proof of that. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring individual’s like myself to strive to become resilient in all that I do.

    Best,
    Mandie Hill

    • Mandie,

      HI! How are you? Thank you for taking your valuable time to read the above and share your thoughts. You brought up such an IMPORTANT POINT about, “I feel like it is so easy for us to be sucked in by all the negativities we surround ourselves with instead of just getting rid of them.” Man, that is important. I read this the other day and then took a look around my world and thought, wow, there are still people that are in my life that are just truly negative. And you are right, it is so easy to drop back into those negative thoughts. That is why, for me, mindfulness practice, the act of awareness in purposeful ways, has been so important. It has taught me how to step back, reset, and be aware of the things I might be missing instead of jumping to react.

      Thank you for sharing. You have given me much to think about.
      Keep being you!
      With compassion, kindness, and appreciation,
      Scott

  10. Hi Scott

    Thank you so much for this incredibly valuable paper. This will serve as a recources for me, something to be printed out, read, adn re-read.

    Hanan

    • Hanan,

      HI! As always, your kindness is genuine and natural. I so enjoy our interactions. I wish we lived in the same country!

      Keep being you my friend.
      With compassion, kindness, and appreciation for you in this world,
      Scott

  11. Hello Scott!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this inspiring and motivational work. Your passion and enthusiasm for the topic shines through, illustrating the success of your choice to “be on your own side”.
    The call to take ownership of one’s own thinking and to willfully experience and accept support was beautifully articulated. As was the advice given in being an advocate for yourself and actively practicing resilience. I very much appreciate the importance stressed both in being supportive of your own self, and in allowing others to support you. Particularly in the notion that you have agency in choosing who you surround yourself with. Choosing people who will amplify your success and general happiness is essential to maintaining resilience.

    Thank you for writing this piece.
    -Catherine Usery

    • Catherine,

      HI! Thanks for reading the above paper and for taking time to share your thoughts. I love, LOVE your use of “Agency” in your reaction above, “the notion that you have agency in choosing who you surround yourself with. Choosing people who will amplify your success and general happiness is essential to maintaining resilience.”

      Agency is such a great word, and is powerful for us all to keep in mind. That we have the “duty or function” (agency) to help ourselves and take ownership of our actions, thoughts, and interactions with others.

      Thank you again!
      With compassion, kindness, and health to you and yours,
      Scott

  12. Hi Scott,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. I really liked how in your discussion of Hanson’s mental resource of safety, you mentioned advocacy. In a class, I was taught that by practicing self-advocacy, children (and adults) can create a safe environment at school and at home. While they won’t always be able to create a safe environment for themselves, it’s important that they know how to be on their “own side” as Hanson wrote (and you quoted). Sometimes you have to be your own safety net, and that’s what resilience is. It’s a nice side effect that by educating everyone around them, people who stutter are also making the world a little safer for other people who stutter.

    -Kimi

    • Kimi,

      HI! Very nice to meet you? Are you a graduate student?

      You bring up a great quote, “Sometimes you have to be your own safety net, and that’s what resilience is.” I love the term “be your own safety net.” That is awesome!

      Thank you for sharing. Keep being you and advocating for others and yourself!
      With compassion, kindness, and appreciation,
      Scott

  13. Good evening Scott,

    Thank you for providing your personal stories and being so honest about your journey! Your point about changing your mindset from seeing all things negative and shifting your focus to see the positives was insightful as this is something so many others struggle with. When we begin to see the positive aspects in our lives, our whole mindset changes and become happier people. Additionally, I thought it was interesting when you mentioned surrounding yourself with people who uplift you and how this is fundamental in a resilient lifestyle. I love how you acknowledged that we are not islands and that we don’t survive without the help of others. This is such a powerful statement reinforces that we need to surround ourselves with people who will support us. Thank you again for sharing your personal experiences with us.

    – Casey Edwards

    • Casey,

      HI! Thank you for writing and taking your valuable time to share your thoughts here. How are you?

      It took me along time to know that I am not an island. Being an introvert by nature, I struggled with this idea, and sometimes still do. However, that being said, I have chosen to lead a more extrovert life style now. I stutter, I live, I talk, I write, I live, I interact with the world, I live.

      Thank you again!
      with compassion, kindness, and health,
      Scott

  14. Hello Scott,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences! I have never considered resilience to be a skill you have to work on and practice, and I love how you connected it to other personal skills you have built up in your life. Growing up, if someone had asked me what my skills were, I might’ve said I was good at horseback riding or about my experiences in choir, and resilience would’ve never crossed my mind as an option. It is great to view it like any other skill because it shows that it can be learned if someone isn’t inherently resilient. I also agree with the idea of getting on your own side. We are our own biggest supporter and biggest advocator. If we are able to advocate for ourselves, build our resilience, and open our eyes to the positive aspects of our lives, we open the door to a world of possibilities. Thank you so much for your insight!

    Sincerely,

    Caitlin

    • Dear Caitlin,
      HI! Thank you for spending your important time her and reading the above submission.

      Something you wrote hit me, “If we are able to advocate for ourselves, build our resilience, and open our eyes to the positive aspects of our lives, we open the door to a world of possibilities.” We open the door to a world options and opportunities of thoughts and behaviors we CAN DO. Along with the people we can be.

      Thank you for sharing. I love the word “opportunities.” Well done!
      Be safe!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  15. Dear Scott,
    Thank you for taking the time to research and inform us on such inspiring work. I appreciate your transparency and vulnerability when sharing your experience with phone calls. Like many other PWS, this is an emotional experience and something that we should consider as future clinicians. Resilience was a big take-away from this article. I agree that resilience is a skill and as with any skills practice leads to improvement. Surrounding yourself with people who support you is a great way to maintain resilience.
    Thank you again!

    • Akyriazis (I’m sorry if that is not your exact name, that was all I had to work with on the post, please correct me),

      HI! It is nice to meet you. Thank you for your thoughts. Can I ask a question, what skills of resilience to you work on or do you want to work with? For me, this is a constant eb an flow of working on different skills in order to build resilience. I was just wondering.

      Have a great day!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  16. Hi Scott,

    I loved hearing your perspective as a person who stutters, professor, speech language pathologist and a person so heavily involved in helping those who stutter. My favorite line you wrote was “there are so many parts of me and I am the sum of the whole, not the sum of one part” (paragraph 13). I have family members who stutter and I would never want them to feel like their stutter was the only quality about them that defined them. They are so much more and it meant a lot to me when you mentioned that.

    I am curious through, how did your education to become a speech language pathologist shape the way you view your stutter and stuttering in general? Did it help you grow you resilience?

    Also, thank you for being so open about you personal experiences.

    Sincerely ,
    ~Allison

    • Allison,

      HI! Thank you for reading the above submission and taking your valuable time to write me here. I appreciate it!

      Your question is great, “how did your education to become a speech language pathologist shape the way you view your stutter and stuttering in general? Did it help you grow you resilience?”

      I have some great experiences with teachers, peers (students), clients, and groups of people who stutter throughout my undergraduate, graduate, and PhD education. These people, the caring ones who chose to teach me skills like: active listening for myself and others, patience for myself and others, compassion for myself and others, and openness for myself and others are numbers and priceless. The teachers who gave me opportunities to talk without interruption, the peers who worked with me to see the person I wanted to be, and the people who stutter and their families who taught me begin to walk with stuttering and stop fighting so much. These are just a few ways that my education to be an SLP shaped me in my view of stuttering and the impact of stuttering on each individual.

      Did that answer your question? Please let me know.
      Thank you again! Be well and keep being you!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  17. Hi Scott,

    First off, thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts with us. It is very much appreciated! I was an athlete all my life and can definitely understand that resilience begins with practice. It is not an easy skill to manage let alone adjust to and learn. Our mind is a powerful thing and it can take countless days, months, or years to feel as if we have “mastered” the skill of resiliency. I particularly enjoyed how you touch upon the fact that “resilience requires the practiced development of psychological flexibility, body and attitude”. I find that resiliency comes and goes in different forms all the time thus it is necessary that we can be psychologically flexible. It is so important that individuals build a deep care for themselves as they need to care for themselves before learning how to care for others. I really enjoyed how you laid out three resources for basic needs that can relate to building resiliency. Specifically, I find it extremely important to engage in the “safety” aspect for basic needs. It is so vital that not only individuals who stutter but all individuals learn how to advocate for themselves as this creates a positive outlook on ourselves that can be shared with others. I am so grateful you shared a bit of your story and took the time to discuss resiliency. Thank you!

    -Rochelle Draper

    • Rochelle,
      HI! Thank you so much for taking time to share you thoughts and your life here. And, thank you for taking time to read the above submission.

      You bring up such lovely experiences with being an athlete and knowing that to be an athlete our mind is just as important as the physical skills practice to achieve a “mastered” level. Your use of “mastered” is such an eye opener too. We all try so hard to be “THE BEST” as it relates to others, so we are comparing ourselves with others’ skills. Instead, couldn’t we mentally “master” skills to be the best version of ourselves? This is hard, isn’t it. Especially as an athlete.

      Thank you so much for sharing Rochelle!

      Be well. Be safe. And keep being you!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  18. There’s so much in your paper that hits home, as I recognize so much of myself and my life story. But the sentence that stuck out was “So the key …is to SURROUND yourself with people who will lift you up rather than drag you down””, as this is exactly my point in my paper. I too used to blame others, while today I know noone is to blame. If any, it’s me for not telling people about my stutter and my needs for so many years. From wanting to jump off to becoming an SLP, a teacher and a rock star, is the living proof that you’re an expert at bouncing back. Happy you’ve become one of “my people”.

    Stay safe and keep talking

    Anita

    • Anita,
      HI! It is always a pleasure to talk with you, and learn more about your life and experiences. I appreciate you reading the submission above. I try not to say “my submission” because like you said, a lot of what is in the submission above might “hit home” or people might “recognize so much of” themselves in it (to use some of your lovely words. So really, the above is not mine at all, but anyone’s who might connect with it.

      Speaking of this idea of recognizing ourselves in others, I think this is such an important concept to help create not only personal resilience, but also create acceptance for others and ourselves. Knowing we are not alone, and that we can be strong as a group, can help us all bounce back from challenging moments in our lives, and in time. So thank you for reminding me of this concept.

      Thanks again! Be well! Be safe.
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  19. Hi Scott,
    This was such a thought-provoking, powerful read! One part that really stood out to me was when you spoke about Chodron’s quote, “caring about each other” and how it meant that it also included “caring for ourselves.” It is so easy to expend out energy on caring for the people we love, but it can be so easy for us to forget to care about our own mental and physical health. This quote lets us take a step back and remember that ourselves are just as important because we are the ones in charge of how we feel and build our own mental fortitude, just as you described. I enjoyed reading your own resilience build as you opened up your views and attitudes about yourself and stuttering in relation to Chodron’s quote at the age of 18. Another message that was really impactful was when you described advocacy as not being the practice of being right. You provide such an important definition about what advocacy really is and that it is not meant to agitate the other party, but to express yourself with attitudes of openness. I can see how there may sometimes be a fine line between being defensive and advocating for yourself, and I think you beautifully explain and illustrate how advocation is not the same as an argument about whose opinion is right. Thank you so much for your impactful insight as someone who stutters and building your resiliency as a skill!
    -Kristine

    • Kristine,

      HI! Thank you so much for contacting me and taking the time to read the above submission.

      I love the term, “Taking a step back.” You are right, we forget about ourselves and that we are in charge of our own mental fortitude” (I like the way your expressed this too). What is dangerous about putting all of our efforts into caring for others, we run the risk of compassion fatigue. We also run the risk of missing out on life.

      Kristine, keep being you! And keep asking questions and sharing parts of you.
      Have a lovely day!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  20. Hi Scott,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and important points. Your story is amazing, and I really appreciate being able to read it. As a speech-language pathology student, I think it’s most important when working with people who stutter to focus on the positives in every situation. With the amount of negative feedback PWS receive from others, there need to be more environments where communication of any kind is praised and additional negative experiences are avoided. I was very happy to read about your journey to acquiring resilience, and I hope to help any future clients who stutter to do the same.
    – Mackenzie

    • Mackenzie,

      Hi! Thank you for reading the above submission and taking the time to send a message.

      You bring up a great point about encouraging PWS with more positive feedback. We can be honest too. Positive feedback can also be specific and helpful. Just saying , “Good job” is not specific enough and does not teach what was good. Instead we could say, “I liked how you moved through that word with confidence. Did you feel confident? Because it sounded confident.” Or “Your posture today as you communicated was tall and strong. Did you notice that?” These are both positive feedback examples and are specific to learning skills.

      This can be performed with counseling too. Example, “Thank you for sharing that painful thought about your stuttering. By sharing, we can get at the heart of what bothers us, so others can learn more about you.” Here we acknowledge the painful thoughts, thank them for sharing (it is brave) and then show them the power of sharing.

      Congratulations on being you! It is a good person to be.
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  21. Hi Scott,
    Thank you for sharing your personal experience and for being so candid. I really love the way you discussed resiliency as a skill, and the emphasis you place on practicing this skill just as you would any other skill. As human beings, I think we can forget, at times, that we are our own biggest advocates. If we do not root for ourselves, how can we expect others to root for us? Resiliency is most definitely something that requires practice, as well as a daily commitment. As you mentioned, with that commitment, however, you can build a life that otherwise may not have occurred. Your statement “resiliency is where we can live” really speaks to this notion. Thank you for your paper!

    • Kliberio (sorry, that was the only name I had access to, so please tell me your correct name so I can address you properly if this is not correct),

      HI! Thank you for writing and for your wonderful comments. Your comment about “if we do not root ourselves, how can we expect others to root for us” is amazing! I love it! I have never heard this but it is so true. Taking responsibility for ourselves and actions is sometimes something we forget. Sometimes we can spend so much energy blaming others, we forget we live in our bodies.

      So cool! Thank you for sharing!!!
      Have a great day.
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  22. Hi,

    I am in your Disorders of Communications class and from class, I can tell that you are so compassionate and caring and I wanted to find out why you are the way you are. Your insight in this paper has explained to me a lot about how you view the world and inspired me to view the world in it’s own way and accept yourself for who you are. I especially liked the part about how you are a sum of a the whole, not the sum of a part. It showed me ways to love myself first and foremost and not to let anyone change that. It doesn’t matter who people think I am, as long as I know who I am. By attending class and reading this paper, you have inspired me in more ways than you know!

    Thank you so much,

    Shaye Foutty

    • Shaye,

      HI! I appreciate your kind words and I thank you for taking the time to read the submission above.

      You bring up a such an important point about each person, “to view the world in it’s own way and accept yourself for who you are.” I believe those who are the happiest in life, find there own way to view the world with as little ego as possible, but with the confidence that they are doing their best to be the person they wish to be. Viewing the world with gentleness and kindness can make changes, and bring us joy. As a future SLP(or any field you might choose to go into, Shaye), finding what makes you happy and gives you purpose will take you further than any book or class will.

      See you class! Keep being you!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  23. Scott, thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts on resilience. This is such a powerful paper integrating different factors of resilience and how they play a role in your experience. I loved the emphasis of it all winding down to being in touch with yourself, starting with being on your own side. This idea of continual change and what a person can do to ‘bounce back’ stood out to me. I think it is so easy to get caught up in things that are out of our control and begin to have negative feelings and emotions due to the sense of unknown. Realizing that we choose how to react to these situations brings a little bit of relief. Understanding the things we can control, as you mentioned, the people you surround yourself with, and the mindset we create promotes resilience. I learned so much from reading this and really enjoyed reflecting on this fantastic topic.
    Best, Charlotte Hata

    • Dear Charlotte,

      HI! Thank you so much for writing and sharing your thoughts. Sharing is caring.

      Your point about “it all winding down to being in touch with yourself” is such a great way to put this thought. Sometimes in order to make sense of a complex world, and our complex lives, and complex minds, is to break things down into smaller pieces and see what lies beneath those pieces. Make things simpler. It all “winds down to…” something. What does it wind down to each of us?

      Keep asking questions!! Have a great day!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  24. Hello Scott!

    My name is Elley and I am in your Disorders of Communications class. When I was looking through the list of submissions and saw your name, I knew that yours would serve as a great learning tool. I figured that not only would it potentially entail some of the things we’ve learned through your class, but it would help me to understand you more as a person as well. Reading this has certainly done both of those things. I am truly glad that you have learned to be resilient through your stutter. Your story is very inspiring and I think that this story of resilience is one that could move not only others who stutter, but anyone else who is struggling with any other kind of disorder or struggle. What “cues” do you use to remind yourself to be so resilient?

    Thank you for your words of inspiration and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Elley McDaniel

  25. Hi Scott!

    My name is Elley and I am in your Disorders of Communications class. When I was looking through the list of submissions and saw your name, I knew that yours would serve as a great learning tool. I figured that not only would it potentially entail some of the things we’ve learned through your class, but it would help me to understand you more as a person as well. Reading this has certainly done both of those things. I am truly glad that you have learned to be resilient through your stutter. Your story is very inspiring and I think that this story of resilience is one that could move not only others who stutter, but anyone else who is struggling with any other kind of disorder or struggle. What “cues” do you use to remind yourself to be so resilient?

    Thank you for your words of inspiration and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Elley McDaniel

    • Elley,

      HI! Thanks for taking time to read the above submission. It is always a humbling experience when anyone reads what I express.

      Your question is a wonderful one about, “What “cues” do you use to remind yourself to be so resilient?” Such a great question! Some cues I use are the following:
      1. I practice mindfulness/meditation daily
      2. I use daily affirmations
      3. I practice the act of looking back to learn from the past and see where I was and now where I am
      4. I appreciate moments I have with most anyone
      5. I cue myself to learn from all experiences, all people. Even the people who challenge me in a variety of ways I can still learn from.

      Those are few cues I use to practice resilience each day.
      Keep being you!!!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

    • Elley,

      See reply below. There were double messeages!
      thank you!
      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott

  26. Hi Scott!
    Thank you so much for sharing this paper and sharing your authentic emotions and experiences with us! You really allowed me to feel the frustration that people who stutter experience. As a graduate student who is studying to become a Speech-Language Pathologist, I have found that despite the hardships, the most wonderful and most resilient people come from the stuttering community! I have found so much inspiration from this paper and tools that will equip me to be a knowledgable and compassionate SLP! I think your advice on how to build resilence and how to get on your own side can be used by anyone facing negative feelings or struggling with an internal battle! Awesome words of advice! Thank you for sharing!

    • Jordan,

      HI! Thank you for taking your valuable time to read and share your thoughts. And congrats on being a graduate student. That is a great accomplishment! Yay!!!

      You bring up such a wonderful point about “how to build resilience and how to get on your own side can be used by anyone facing negative feelings or struggling with an internal battle.” I love how you made this association. Resilience, or more so the skill of resilience, is for anyone who struggles with their “internal battle”(well said). If we can move away from “battling” and move toward find common ground we can find peace and find resilience. And there is always a common space, common ground. It might not be all that big, but it is there and that is a good place to start.

      Thank you again. Good luck with your journey of graduate school and being the future of speech language pathology!

      With compassion and kindness,
      Scott