I’ve stuttered since I was 8 years old. I’m what is known as a closet stutterer. Many people didn’t even know I stuttered – even my own siblings. The problem was that my life revolved around keeping it a secret. I even experienced panic attacks if I was close to a situation where there was ‘no way out,’ where I might stutter in front of people. When I was 45 years old, I took the first step and went to the American Institute of Stuttering, run by Catherine Montgomery. I learned a great many things about stuttering I never knew. I learned I could accept myself and it was okay to stutter. Catherine suggested The Option Institute as a wonderful place to go for courses, but I didn’t realize that much of her perspective and what she taught us came from what she herself had learned at The Option Institute.
A year later, when my wife wanted a separation, I decided it was time to visit The Option Institute myself. The first course I attended was the Happiness Option Weekend. What a great introduction to The Option Process® and the Fast-Track Personal Change! Could I really just choose to be happy? It was so simple. I still found myself feeling down about some things, but now I didn’t beat myself up for it. What a gift that was! And now I could even see the gift in our separation. A heavy weight lifted from my shoulders because it was all in what I decided to believe.
I then returned for Empower Yourself. Things really started to click during that week. I realized I didn’t have to depend on someone else’s approval for what I said or did. I learned that I could care about other people as I always did – and STILL have my own wants. I can express compassion for someone who is unhappy without being unhappy myself.
The week after Empowering Yourself, I found out I had to travel and give a presentation in front of a large group. In the past, I just wouldn’t have done it. I’d never put myself in a situation where I would normally feel like running away. What was so amazing was the feeling I had before giving the presentation. I wanted to do well, but I decided I didn’t NEED to. Making that choice changed my entire focus. Instead of pushing away all the negative feelings that I would normally have in this situation, I embraced them, which added passion and energy to my presentation! Instead of worrying how I would sound, I concentrated on what I was saying. It turned out wonderfully, and I didn’t stutter once.
Each time I attend programs at The Option Institute, I peel away layers of beliefs that hold me back. I’m about to attend Grand Summer Sequence I’m looking forward to peeling away even more!
Sid Diamond, Computer Consultant, Maryland