Embarrassed about your English? How to gain confidence
“We are each our own worst critic,” psychologist Ellen Hendriksen said. I know this quote is true for me and so many people learning another language. Do you lack confidence when you have a conversation in English at work? Do you compare yourself to others and at times feel like you’re not good enough when you’re speaking in English during a meeting or conversation with friends?
If you feel this way it’s important to know this is completely normal and you’re not alone. There are many other people learning English or another language who are in the same situation as you. I also completely understand this feeling and many times feel this way when I’m having a conversation in Spanish for work or in my personal life.
Let’s look at some questions together. Do you feel embarrassed when…
You feel yourself pausing a lot?
You can’t understand a question?
Someone repeats what you just said?
You struggle to communicate your thoughts?
If you’re anything like me you answered “yes” to all of these questions. Many times, I tell myself my Spanish will get better one day but for now it’s not “good enough.” When this happens, I try to change my mindset and instead of basing my confidence on what I’m not doing well enough I focus on the small accomplishments that I’ve made.
Here are some areas to concentrate on to help celebrate your accomplishments, rather than dwell on your mistakes or misunderstandings during your conversation or meeting in English.
You were successful when….
You understood some (or many) words or phrases during a conversation
Your audience was engaged during your work presentation
You participated in the conversation to the best of your ability
You understood a question the first time it was asked
So, the next time you feel embarrassed in a work meeting or during a conversation in English remind yourself to stop, take a breath, and celebrate your successes and accomplishments. Learning a language is a lifelong process that takes time. With patience, consistency and determination you’ll improve day by day. I’ve been working on improving my Spanish for many years now. By implementing at least one daily language habit and being consistent it’s improved little by little.
Now, try to think of the last meeting, presentation or conversation you had in English. How did your English speaking and listening skills help you during this experience?
Do you feel embarrassed or lack confidence sometimes when you have a conversation in English? Write in the comments below or write me at firstname.lastname@example.org / @monicayourprofe and share your experience!