Este artículo va a ser un poco diferente (this article is going to be a little different) because we will talk about something other than Spanish itself.
En este artículo vamos a hablar de (in this article we’re going to talk about) common psychological barriers that can get in your way when you’re trying to hablar español (to speak Spanish) y más importante aún (even more important), how to overcome them.
I often get to see how certain psychological barriers get in the way of students when they are trying to acquire a new language… Also, I have been a language student myself. So, I understand how difficult it can be to overcome el miedo, la ansiedad (the fear, the anxiety), the shame, the embarrassment that one feels when trying to communicate in a new language.
What if I make a mistake?…
What if they don’t understand me?…
What if they mock me?
I’ve been there, I know it all. What can we do about it? Easy! Here are 3 tips that you can use to overcome tu miedo de hablar español (your fear of speaking Spanish). Trust me, they work!
Let go of perfectionism
Unless you spend a lot of years fully immersing in a Spanish-speaking society, chances are that you’re not going to sound like a native at all times. Pero ¡no te preocupes! (But don’t worry!)… because nobody expects that from you.
As you might have noticed, I make tons of mistakes when I speak English. In real life? Oh, my god, is even worse than what you see in my videos.
When I make these videos I practice a little bit and then, you know, I hear myself making a mistake and then I re-record myself and I try really hard and still I make mistakes.
What can I say? I don’t love it, I work to get better, but also I’m very patient with myself and so should you… with yourself… and with me if you want to.
I think that, for the most part, in spite of my multiple mistakes, I do get my message across… Please, let me know what you think in the comments! You’re going to make me happy!
Accept that it’s going to be a humbling experience
Es totalmente normal (It is totally normal) to feel a bit tonto (silly) or even estúpido (stupid),
when we’re trying to speak in another language.
Es muy común sentirse (it is very common to feel) like embarrassed, exposed even, when you’re trying to communicate, when you’re trying to use your language skills, especially when you are a beginner.
¡Le pasa a todo el mundo! (It happens to everyone). No importa (it doesn’t matter) how successful, how inteligent, smart, how accomplished one is, there’s this sense of vulnerability perhaps, that one feels when you’re trying to communicate in language that is not yours.
I think that the most important part is that we accept that this is part of the process and that we learn to enjoy it. Yeah but, learn to enjoy it? Who actually enjoys feeling stupid?
Nobody, of course! But, think about this:
You are studying Spanish por una razón (for a reason) or actually it could be many reasons.
Whatever is motivating you to learn Spanish it is powerful enough that is making you get you out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Just remember that trying something new necessarily comes with a little bit of vulnerability.
It’s okay to be vulnerable, okay? Really okay, just embrace it, accept it.
Think about other times in your life when you had overcome a fear.
You know? When we think about the activity or the action that makes us fearful, you know, you have this anxiety growing and growing, and then once we do the thing, we realize that perhaps
we shouldn’t have been so anxious about it because it was not so terrible, or perhaps it was as terrible as we thought, but then, the second time we did it, it was a little less scary, and the third time a little bit less… Until it comes a point where is not scary at all!
And then, you realize: Hey! I’m actually doing it!
Same thing is going to happen when you dare to use your Spanish. You’re going to start noticing
very small changes; then, you’ll notice big changes and as you notice how you are slowly getting better, you’re going to grow more excited.
And this excitement is going to help you feel the confidence you need to notice that although you might sound silly, you sound better than you did a week before… and you will get better!
It’s just a matter of time and taking your Spanish muy seriamente (very seriously).
Open up to other people’s kindness
You’re super, super lucky because a great deal of Spanish speakers around the world are the most loving, warm, beautiful, buena onda.
Buena onda remember, that’s Mexican slang for cool.
So, you are in luck, my friend, you’re going to come with millions of Mexicans and South Americans that generally speaking (because I promise, there’s some very grumpy people around here too), they’re going to be very welcoming to the efforts that you put into communicating in Spanish.
So, don’t be shy and practice your español with your favorite Spanish speaker.
You know what? ¡Échate porras a ti mismo! (¡Échate porras! means Be your own cheerleader!)
I mean, you could be just looking at the ceiling spending hours doing nothing, but now, you’re here. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with looking at the ceiling… That’s how I spend el 60% de mi tiempo (of my time).
The point is, you’re here, you are building yourself as a Spanish speaker, and that’s amazing, so, ¡muy bien! Vas muy bien (you’re doing great!)
Please let me know about your experience learning Spanish. How is it going? What are you finding more challenging? I want to know it all, así que, por favor, cuéntamelo todo.
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