So for your own reasons, you've started learning Dutch as a new language, which is great. But learning a new language is scary. Maybe you're nervous about remembering everything correctly, or maybe you’re worrying about speaking in front of the class, because it's scary doing anything new in front of a bunch of people. It's so easy for other people to say "just don't be afraid" when they have no idea how hard it is.
As somebody who struggles with anxiety, I understand. I still have difficulty in my own Dutch lessons because of it. But I have a few things that I try to keep in mind every time I feel myself getting overwhelmed, and I want to share them with you, in the hopes that it will help you too.
You're allowed to be afraid.
You might think you’re not meant to be afraid, or you’re not allowed to be, but that’s not true. You might think being “brave” means not being afraid, but that’s also not true. Being brave is being scared of doing something, but doing it anyway. You’re allowed to be scared, but you’re also allowed to give it a go, and see what happens. You miss all of the shots you don’t take, but if you try, you could be right, and that feeling can be so rewarding.
Making mistakes is okay.
If you’re anything like me, the fear of making a mistake can hold you back from trying, because you want to be right the first time. And if you try, and then make a mistake, you feel like you failed. But mistakes aren’t failures. “Mistakes” are our learning in practice. It shows that you’ve tried to use or do something new, and that is worth celebrating. Every “mistake” that we make just means that we have another chance to learn, and to grow. Nothing bad will happen if you make mistakes. What will happen is you will learn how to improve on what you did, or tried. And your learning and improvement will mean you slowly but surely get better at Dutch.
Be kind to yourself.
This one is the hardest one for me. It’s so easy for me to be mean to myself because of things I feel like I should be doing more often or better. If you have these same types of thoughts, please just remember that your negative thoughts about yourself aren’t always true. Instead of focusing on what you think was bad, try to focus on what is positive. If you tried to make a sentence in Dutch but you put the words in the wrong order, instead of getting upset that you got it wrong, think about how good it was that you tried to use the new information you’ve learned. Don’t punish yourself for all the “bad” things, instead celebrate what was good.
I hope this helps you in some way, and that with this you can feel more comfortable and confident in doing your best at learning Dutch. Already you have done so much, and with each lesson, you’re learning more and getting closer to your next level in Dutch.
I wish you the best in finding confidence and reaching your goals.