In this episode, I talk about the importance of forging a joyful bond with your languages as early as possible. My first year learning Italian, especially, was rife with pressure, self-doubt, and beliefs that language learning is hard, that it's a struggle. By the time I started learning German, though, I had worked through much of this negativity, and my first year was full of positive energy, fun, and believing in myself. Today, even though my Italian is stronger than my German, I still get nervous and hesitate when speaking Italian. I still feel a pull to use Google translate, subconsciously believing that I can't do it on my own. With German, though, a language in which I'm still a beginner, these feelings don't exist. I feel no hesitation to just jump into a conversation, and I completely forget translation apps are available. Instead, I just charge forward with what I know. This stark difference in how I interact with my languages is connected to my early beliefs about myself learning each one. The limiting beliefs that overshadowed my early years with Italian still exist. I've proven to myself over and over again that I can learn and speak this language, that I am learning and speaking it, but those negative beliefs formed a bond that I must actively and intentionally work against. With German, though, I knew I could do it from the beginning. It's challenging, of course, but I've believed in myself and my abilities from day one, and the result is that I'm more likely to enter a conversation with ease and not worry about mistakes or judgment.
I find this disparity in my underlying feelings of my ability in each language interesting, and the more I think about it, the more I believe in the importance of forging a joyful bond from the beginning. What we say to ourselves and what we believe matter. To me, I think they matter just as much as what resources or methods we choose for learning a language. We have to believe we can do it, and it's important to make sure you're speaking truth and kindness to yourself both about your language and yourself. No matter where you are in your language journey or what your reasons are for learning a language, I think the take-away from this episode is something that can benefit us all.
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