I’m twenty years old and I can’t help but think that everyone thinks I’m stupid. I stutter, I feel slow, I say dumb things, and I sometimes catch people giving me judging looks. No one’s ever said that to me except maybe once or twice when I was much younger, but I can’t help be bothered by it. I feel like there’s something wrong with me mentally, but people don’t want to address it. I hate it. I’d rather be messed up and not aware of it than this. How do I learn to love and be okay with myself?
The most helpful thing I know about this, I learned from Dave Hingsburger’s book _The Are Word_. And, in the simplest form, it’s this:
If you stutter and think slowly and have cognitive problems and have trouble communicating, there probably are a lot of people in your life who think you are stupid.
They may think that, but it isn’t true.
People who think that you are stupid are being mean. People who give you judging looks are being really mean.
The way you talk doesn’t make them look down on you. The way you think doesn’t make them look down on you. Your voice is not the problem. Your brain is not the problem. They’re mean because they’re bigoted and mean.
And, in the words of Laura Hershey: you get proud by practicing
I know it hurts. It hurts terribly. It’s not your fault, and you won’t always feel this awful. It takes time. It takes practice. It’s slow, and incremental. Try not to be hard on yourself for struggling with this. We all do. It’s hard. That’s not your fault, either.
You’re ok. They’re mean. And as you practice understanding this, and as you practice getting proud, it will be easier to feel ok and harder for them to hurt you.