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I advise people that above were my own personal issues and that each individual has to identify there own. It is then a case of accepting issues which can not be changed and working hard to overcome ones that can.
I was somebody who wanted to be like by everybody. If anybody criticised me or called me names, I would easily be offended and my confidence would drop. As an example from age of about seventeen I would go out with my friends most Friday and Saturday nights to public houses and sometimes to a night club. I remember one Saturday morning, aged about eighteen, waking up feeling quite ill, very hung over. I had consumed far too much alcohol on previous evening. I looked in my wallet and had also spent far too much money. I decided that I would stay in on Saturday night, just for a change. During afternoon I had a phone call from a friend called Phil. He asked me where we going that night. After telling him that I was not going out, he called me boring on numerous occasions, offering to lend me money, saying that I had changed etc. I didn’t want him to think of me in this way however stuck to my guns, eventually he put phone down on me in a mood. Within a few minutes another friend phoned asking why I was not going out, also calling me various names including boring. I ended up going out.
At this age I did not have enough respect for myself, I was too concerned what people thought of me and was easily persuaded into doing things and going places that I in didn’t want to.
After reading some of books as mentioned above I realised this and asked myself a question:
“Am I boring”
I have lots of interests, theatre, cinema, eating out, chess, football, snooker, golf, horse racing, tennis, music to name a few. By this age I was becoming bored of going out drinking alcohol. I decided to be strong and stated to my friends that I was now only going out drinking once a month. Originally, every Friday and Saturday night people would phone asking me if I was going out, if I declined I was criticised, your so boring for example. My new found attitude, though hard at first to adopt and follow through meant that I didn’t really care and I certainly didn’t bow to pressure.
One particular friend, Phil, was particularly verbally aggressive and demanding, calling me different names. He was seemingly in shock that someone was standing up to him. On one afternoon I fought back and said to him:
“Whatever you say, whatever you call me, I am not going out tonight, however I will go out with you on Tuesday night if you want to”
He agreed to this so I asked him if he wanted a game of snooker, or golf, or a trip to cinema or theatre. He thought all of these options were “boring”. I mentioned other interests of mine such as chess, again all of options I mentioned he didn’t find interesting. I said to him:
“OK, where would you like to go?” “What about pub for a few beers?”
I laughed at Phil and said:
“I’m sorry mate you’re one who is boring not me”.
I then put phone down on him for a change.
My attitude was beginning to change for better. I was becoming harder and stronger mentally. A few years later I met my present fiancee and I soon realised I was a long way off level I wanted to be. Her name is Sharron and a couple of weeks after we had met she invited me to a night out with some of her friends who she said wanted to meet me. I knew I had to go even though in reality it was last thing I wanted to do. I was worried what her friends might think of me etc. I did attend and managed to cope, however I was very quiet, felt uncomfortable throughout evening and felt very nervous. I was glad to get back to safety of my own home! A couple of weeks later I was invited to meet her parents and immediately I had same feelings as above and night passed in a similar way with me having a distinct lack of confidence etc.
About a month later Sharron agreed to accompany me to a wedding in Birmingham where I was born. On this day she would meet most of my friends and family for first time. As we were driving on motorway I thought she must be a bit nervous. I asked her if she was OK and if she was slightly nervous. She replied:
“What have I got to be nervous about?” “Well your meeting my family and friends later. Are you not concerned what they will think of you?” “Steve, I don’t care what they think of me. It’s what you think that counts and I know you like me!”
This was not a front she was putting on. Suddenly I realised how far I was away from attitude to life and attitude to people I wanted to have. Sharron has helped me to reach that level. Being around positive people at this stage was very beneficial to me.
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Stephen Hill is somebody who has overcome a stammer/stutter and who now helps other people to achieve fluency. Stephen runs one to one speech courses held in Birmingham, England. For people who are unable to attend there is a seventy minute dvd available. His main website is at http://www.stammering-stuttering.co.uk.