From stuttering person to a person with a stutter
For years, I struggled at uttering my name to someone or at finishing a sentence without several blocks in phrasing words. There was not a single day when I could not imagine a life without stuttering. For more than 15 years, I tried to get rid of it instead of trying to observe and accept it. The latter eventually turned out to be the key to healing and freedom!
Hi, I’m Niels van de Kreeke
I was an introvert and a shy person who grew up in a family with four children and was the least vocal person, along with my younger brother. I am not sure if this was the reason I started to stutter, but I’m sure it didn’t contribute to my speech development.
As I was developing my speech, I noticed that adults and other children reacted to me differently than they did to others. Insecurities crawled up, and I unconsciously decided to avoid words and situations. Unaware of the repercussions, I developed social anxiety.
This social anxiety dominated my choices in life for a long time. I became avoidant in many situations wherein I needed to speak well. From speaking in the classroom, groups, presentations, phone calls, and leadership roles- to girls, and kids, ordering food/drinks in a bar/restaurant and much more!
Quite often, I couldn’t say my name or speak certain words. Some people tried to help and suggested that I should sing or talk fast or slowly. Other people told me I wouldn’t be able to get a proper job if my speech was like this. During these times, I slept worrying about my speech difficulties. I felt hopeless and imperfect.
Me in a nutshell!
Fortunately, a day came when I decided I already had enough of all the self-pity, the pain and the shame. I decided to quit my job, leave my apartment and travel for a year. I finally transitioned from avoidant to discovering the power of stepping out of my comfort zone.
Afterwards, I met many inspiring people and became more interested in practices like self-development courses, meditation, yoga and spirituality. After a year of travelling, I also signed up for a stuttering treatment and a user experience design course. It was something I aspired to do for years but never did because of my fear of public speaking.
This new lifestyle made me aware of my old perceptions and destructive behaviours. It also helped me discover the talents I have had since childhood. From an early age, I creatively engaged with cardboard/wooden constructions, cities made of lego, writing poems/stories and digital content, such as CD covers for my self-made music albums.
In 2020, I decided to use my creative skill set in a meaningful way. I want to assist individuals with strong ethics who possess unique perspectives and genuinely care about the well-being of others and the environment impacted by their products or services.
We live in an intriguing world with many challenges.
For the longest time, I was unaware of this. But when I started travelling, I arrived at places where I saw plastic pollution, poverty and environmental destruction with my own eyes. For years after these discoveries, I did inner work to realise that it is impossible to be good externally if we are not the same in our inner world.
That is why I want to assist businesses that help others become a gentler version of themselves, for others and the planet.
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