Feeling down while learning Dutch?

Feeling down while learning Dutch?

Learning Dutch, should feel great, don’t you think? One thing is certain… once you’ll speak this cloggy language, many more doors will open up for you. Once you discover crazy new things again and again, your learning will feel like a real adventure! Here is another great thing… when you feel good, you’ll learn a lot faster too, so that then it is even easier to feel better. If this is how you look at learning and speaking Dutch, then congratulations. Soon enough, your Dutch will skyrocket. But… in Dutch you could say: juich niet te snel (don’t be too positive too soon)… unfortunately there could be a little snake under the grass (een klein addertje onder het gras) that could ruin all the fun… Therefore, if by accident you’ll step on this little snake, then make sure that you recognize it’s venom, so that soon enough you can continue your walk to great Dutch!

Just in case that you haven’t noticed it, there are at least 3 nasty things that can stir up negative feelings inside of you. In a way, if you like, you could see it as a kind of poison, because the damage could be greater than you think. It always works like this: first you experience something like an obstacle or a setback and then a negative feeling comes up. Then, if you do not pay attention, then quickly enough this can happen… somehow you start to blame yourself or at least you start – even when it is on a subtle level – assume that something must be wrong with you. Immediately you’ll notice that your learning slows down, so now, in most cases more negative self talk will come up. Also, you may notice other negative thoughts, such as: Dutch is an ugly language anyway, or why should I put in so much effort in it, if I don’t really need it?

So here is a great thing to consider. Yes, once you notice that you make a lot of progress with your Dutch, then it does feel good and you will notice that your life has been enriched. But… before it happens, chances are high that before this happens, you’ll feel crap first (even when it is only for a couple of minutes)

Luckily, if you can recognize the specific situations in which negative feelings, may show up, you can be prepared. So let’s start with 3 specific negative triggers that ruin your Dutch dream… Then of course, also some tips on how to turn it around!

1)  You try to learn or say things that you do not (really) understand
Lack of clarity is the number one thing that can ruin your motivation. If you see too many words that you do  not understand or if the grammatical constructions that you see do not make sense, then chances are high that right now, it is very hard to learn new things and to move on. By the way, it could sooner than you think! Certainly for English speaking people many sentence constructions on the first pages of your course books do not make sense.

Sure… some people simply ignore it. They just memorize what they want to learn, even if they do not fully understand it, or even when it does not make any sense at all.  Sometimes this strategy really works. Through time and after a lot of hard work, things may gradually start to make sense. But, even when later on you can gain more clarity at the end, trying to memorize things that you do not understand always results in slow learning.

Here is something that you can do: make sure that you do not start with too many Dutch words that look too unfamiliar to you. There are hundreds and hundreds of Dutch words that you can play with that are quite similar to English.  Also start with sentence constructions that are relatively easy. Once you do this, you’ll soon discover that learning can be easy and you’ll notice many more positive results!

2) You underestimated the effort that you need to master Dutch
This is a very tricky pitfall and before you know it you are trapped, certainly if the only language that you speak is English. Here is the thing… many people simply underestimate what it takes to speak any language of this world. Sure, Dutch people may  tell you again and again that English is easy, but… is this really true, if you think about it? Let’s look at vocabulary for example. Each language has literally thousands and thousands of words. Also ,the options that  you have, in each and every language – to express anything are virtually endless.

Luckily, here is one thing that you can do: first of all, simply acknowledge the fact that speaking Dutch could literally change your life. Therefore, treat it like one big important life changing project. Yes, it will take a lot of effort and it will be a huge  challenge many times, so simply acknowledge it. Just realize that what you like to accomplish is a huge challenge indeed and that therefore, you must also be patient. Soon enough, you’ll notice a difference.

Here is another thing that can also work, although it might sound strange. Simply appreciate other people more when they try to speak your language. It always works! The reason is simple… once you can acknowledge and appreciate the efforts and good results of other people, you will also be kinder to yourself!

3 You thought you learned many great things, but you didn’t
This trap could be the meanest one, because most often people will walk into this trap if they are on a higher level. This is the reason why this trap is so mean and treacherous… Chances are high that you say many things in Dutch that are simply wrong… For many people this is a very difficult thing to accept. Somehow, they refuse to believe that what they say is just wrong.

Here is the strange paradox. It should be relatively easy to get out of this trap. All you need to do is to say: all right, I did it wrong then…. next time, I will say it correctly… But, as you may already have guessed it, for many people it is somehow very hard to do…

Certainly if you thought that you were already speaking Dutch on a high level, then discovering that you make many more mistakes than you could ever imagine, feels like a real shock. Somehow, it seems that it intensely hurts your self image too.

Once again, getting out of this trap is relatively easy. But.. you need to be willing to let go of your ego, so to speak. Just accept that what you say in Dutch can be pure crap sometimes. But… just admitting that you may not always see things correctly is one great expression of self confidence! Just be open for new information and start to notice new positive results.

So let’s come to the following conclusion. Learning Dutch and Speaking Dutch will always feel good. Just notice when negative feelings may  come up, so just be aware and prepared. Negative feelings are always temporary, as long as you do not dwell in it, and when you decide to move  forward!

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on 06 Oct 2015

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on 26 Oct 2015

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