Episode 43: Language Learning Jealousy


26 June 2023

25 mins 42 secs

Season 3

Your Hosts

About this Episode

One of the biggest issues language learners have is making comparisons to others. Comparison is part of human nature, though, and I’m not here to tell you to just stop comparing because it’s the thief of joy and no one else is like you so comparisons aren’t even legit to begin with. Even though I believe those things are true, they’re also not exactly practical for everyone, and sometimes I think the more energy we give to avoiding comparisons, the more energy we actually give to making comparisons because we give energy to fighting something, which gives energy to that thing instead of really addressing what’s going on internally. Comparisons by themselves aren’t always bad. Making comparisons is part of how we process the world around us, create identity, make choices, and become inspired.

But comparisons can be a gateway to jealousy, and that’s a dangerous path. When comparisons turn into jealousy, it’s much more difficult to see our progress, to be proud of our accomplishments, or to be content and joyful in our language journey. And when someone has a history like mine that’s overshadowed by years of extreme jealousy, comparisons are even more dangerous. Even as an ex-jealous person, there have been many times when I’ve felt a bit of relapse into that negative mental space of jealousy when I’m not learning as fast as someone else or when I’m reminded that I didn’t have the opportunity to grow up bilingual or do an immersion program at university, for example. I have to acknowledge that jealousy happens for me, especially in language learning because of the nature of language learning, the vulnerability of being a beginner, and the fact that no matter what I do, there will always be someone better with a different path that is seemingly easier than mine.

Thankfully, my jealousy usually stops before getting severe and internally destructive, and that's what I explore today. Listen in to hear about my history as an extremely jealous person, shifting away from jealousy and learning to appreciate and celebrate others' experiences, and how it affects my language learning. I talk about what I do in my language life to protect my mindset when jealousy starts to rise up.

Links from this episode:
Language Travel Adoptee, by Emily Harris on YouTube
E6: Jealous of your past accomplishments and feel like you don't match up now?, Language Wellness and Identity Podcast, by Emily Harris
Episode 37: Celebrating my 3-Year Soberversary (And What That Even Has To Do With Langauges), Love, Joy, and Languages Podcast
Episode 25: What Is "Fluency," Anyway?, Love, Joy, and Languages Podcast

Where to find me:
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Twitter: @LoveJoy_Lang