How do you react if you see again and again that many other people speak much better Dutch than you? Would you feel jealous?
Chances are high that a little voice in your head has already told you that feeling jealous is not a great response. But… let’s be honest… if other people are having a great time while speaking Dutch while you are only struggling to find your first words is not always a positive thing for your self esteem…
Let’s assume that you are in a group with people and that you like to learn a new skill, such as speaking great Dutch. Would you like to be the smartest person in the group? Your ego may definitively love this idea. Being the smartest and the wisest of all people often seems to give a great feeling.
But… if you think about it, then it is much less attractive than it seems to be at first. If you are the wisest and the smartest and if all the others have a much lower level than you have, then probably you will not learn many new things. Therefore, if you like to grow and if you like to learn new things fast, then often it is an advantage if other people have a higher level than you have. When the level of other people is higher, then the challenge will be bigger and you will learn more. If you look at it this way, then all of a sudden being the ‘most stupid’ person in the room can all of a sudden be a very attractive idea…
It is easy to believe that others are better than you. But… is it true?
But… let’s be honest. Not so many people like the idea of being the least smart person in a group. It can stir up many negative feelings and before you know it you may believe that you are not talented or intelligent enough to learn something new. So then, what could happen if you think that way? You already guessed it… because of all these negative thoughts and idea you lose motivation and maybe you decide to give up…
The sad thing is that it quite often your thoughts are just thoughts… quite often they are not true. But… if you believe in them it often has a negative impact on your learning.
It is certainly true when you like to learn a new language. When you sit in your class and when you notice that other people are talking like crazy, while you still struggle to find your first words, it can be quite intimidating. But… here are some tips that could help you to deal much better with this situation.
Strangely enough it is easier to see progress in others
First of all, it is very easy to overestimate the qualities of your fellow students. All that you can hear is that they talk fast, but… this does not mean that what they say is correct. This is good news, because it means that nothing is wrong with you. Just sit back and relax, see what you can learn from them and do realize that they also make many mistakes!
Another important thing is that you always take into account the background of other people. If someone already knows German for example, then of course this person will learn Dutch a lot faster. Also the amount of lessons already taken counts or the fact that this person is in a Dutch speaking environment. Once you are aware of these decisive factors, you can relax, because there is no need to doubt your personal abilities anymore. If you like, you could see other people as a source of inspiration. The fact that they seem to speak better Dutch is a proof that learning and speaking it is achievable, also for you…
Here is another thing that can help. If you learn a new language, then you have to get used to new ideas first, before you can put them into practice. This explains why you may focus more on absorbing new information, while others who already understand it, simply start to talk. But, here is the great thing: when other people talk you can simply see it as examples that will help you to get and consolidate new insights. Just allow yourself some time to process it and then some time later you can also start to use it in your conversation!
By the way, the best idea is not to compare yourself with any other person at all… Don’t question yourself whether other persons are better of worse than you are. Simply ask yourself what you can learn and how you can bring your Dutch to a whole new level.
The great thing of a group can be positive energy
The fact is that you can learn from many people. People that have a higher level and people that have a lower level. If you like, you can see other people as mirrors. Also, if you know how to appreciate the progress that other people are making in your group, then somehow you will also create a lot of free space for yourself. The strange thing is that quite often most people find it easier to find progress in others.
Somehow noticing your own progress is more difficult. So, if one of the members in the group or your teacher gives you a compliment, then accept it! If you truly accept compliments that other people make and if you give genuine compliments to other people, then it will have a great positive effect on your self esteem. It is guaranteed!
One of the greatest advantages of working in a group with other people is that you can create a great positive energy. Somehow, if you learn together, it can go a lot faster and you can have a lot more fun. People that have meditated together acknowledge that meditating in a group can be very powerful, and for learning it works exactly the same.
So next time when you join a group, just decide that you will have a great time with other people. Have the intention that you can learn from your teacher and from other students and trust that when you come with a positive attitude, you can have a great impact on the group. Your role might be more important than you think 🙂
What is your experience? How would you react if people in your class speak better Dutch than you? Would you love it or hate it?