My Biggest Language Struggle
When I think about the thing I struggle with most in language learning, it’s confidence and belief in myself. There’s always been a lack of belief that I could achieve my goals and improve.
We tell ourselves phrases such as:
“I’m not a natural language learner”, “I have a terrible memory”
but these are often just excuses as to why we can’t do something.
I make a lot of episodes here on the podcast based on my experience with this. It’s not hard to find content about what to learn, but overcoming mental barriers is often overlooked in the language learning world.
When I walked past other foreigners talking Japanese fluently and confidently, I would feel so small. There were also times where I’d have so much vocabulary and language knowledge floating around in my head, but I wasn’t able to get them out because I was too afraid I might say it incorrectly or that the other person wouldn’t understand me.
How to Overcome Self-Deprecating Thoughts
Laugh at Yourself
Keep putting yourself out there and change your mindset on how you look at mistakes. Laugh at yourself when you say something a little wrong and be happy because you are less likely to make it again.
We tend to focus on what we don’t know, so we never feel good enough. Think about everything you do know and have learnt already!
People focus on what you have done. You focus on what you have yet to do.
Retrain your brain to focus on how far you have come since the beginning.
Remember You Are Lucky
You are so lucky to have reached the stage and level where you are now.
You have the life that others dream of. Remember that some people would envy your ability so much. There are people out there who would give their right arm to have your English ability!
At one point in the past, perhaps you would have as well.
Celebrate the Little Wins
Focus on every time you do something well.
Using a new word in a conversation, having someone understand what you said in English, understanding what someone is saying…
Focus on the positive. Always focus on what you have done.
Don't Be so Serious
This is something I do all the time – I think way too seriously.
Life is short. Languages should be fun.
Experiment and have fun with English. Learn to think of it as a continuous experiment where you’re learning and discovering new things every day.