Having a bad day

One thing I have noticed as a language learner and teacher is that on some days speaking a foreign language is much harder than on others. Sometimes I have days that I really find it difficult to express myself in German and some days students, who I know are pretty fluent in English seem to struggle with the simplest of sentences.

When this happens it’s easy to slip into a negative mindset, thinking that we really aren’t as good at the language as we thought we were. We may think: “Why can’t I do this!”, “I must be really terrible at the language to make such a simple mistake.”, “I’ll never get it right.” and so on. I remember my C1 German exam last year. Everything went well until it came to the speaking exam. Maybe it was nerves? Maybe I hadn’t been speaking enough German? But, for whatever the reason, I really couldn’t say what I wanted to. I knew I could do better, but at that moment my German seemed to go on a little holiday.

It can really happen to all of us. Sometimes we disappoint ourselves and it’s frustrating, especially if it’s at a key moment, an important meeting, a presentation, or meeting new clients. So, what can cause these language fails?

It’s not always, but can be, a lack of practice. Maybe you haven’t been speaking the language recently as much as you usually do. You’re thinking in your native language and having to translate everything directly rather than going with the flow. Maybe you’re just tired, hungry, stressed out or have just had a negative experience that has destroyed your confidence -and confidence is key; being constantly afraid of getting it wrong or embarrassing yourself will destroy your ability to speak another language. But…maybe none of thes things are true. Maybe you are just having an bad day.

The most important thing to do is accept that you’re having a bad day and move on. Don’t beat yourself up about it. That’s the way it is and it’s not going to change if you are hard on yourself. If you can let go of your high expectations you’ll relax and be able to communicate better.

In my one-to-one English sessions I can help you to let go of negative thinking and create a positive relationship with the language. Send me a message to book a free discovery call.

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