As language learners, we all know the experience of feeling like a child again, of not having the words to express ourselves, and the struggle to maintain our dignity in the face of self-criticism.
We often believe that the other person is judging us, that our mistakes and difficulties make us look stupid, and that our inability to communicate the way we hope to or expect somehow reflects our lack of self-worth.
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There’s a voice in our head that says “don’t open your mouth, you’ll sound stupid,” and the sad part is that most of us tend to listen. Even worse, we project this voice upon other people, assuming that they are criticizing us.
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But the truth is that you will never get fluent if you don’t open your mouth and use the language you are learning. It’s a hall of mirrors, a labyrinth of self-doubt, and the only way to move forward and become a confident and proficient English speaker is to develop the courage to move past your fears.
You’re not alone. This is what it feels like to learn another language.