THIS Is the Solution to All Your Language Learning Problems

Picture of a painting
I asked Aloha, my partner, to draw this for me as a reminder.

Estimaded reading time: 1.5 minutes

“All problems are interpersonal relationship problems”.

I found this in The Courage To Be Disliked, a book I’m reading. They say that all problems in life are caused by fear of being rejected, disliked, judged or criticised by others. To get rid of your problems, all you can do is live in the universe all alone. But of course you can’t do that, so you need to be willing to be disliked.

Do you agree? 

I thought about it and realised that most of the problems I had when I was a student of English were indeed interpersonal relationship problems. I was afraid of being made fun of because of my Italian accent. I was afraid of sounding like an idiot or looking like one because I had to keep asking people to repeat what they said.

When I started working as an English teacher, I became even more afraid. I was worried that students wouldn’t trust me for not being a native speaker. I got even more anxious about making mistakes in front of them an in front of my native colleagues.

“All problems are interpersonal relationship problems”.

This is even more true when it comes to language learning because language is what we use to build relationships. How can you solve your problems then? 

Here are 2 solutions:

  1. You stop learning today and never risk losing face anymore. Speak only your first language for the rest of your life and end all your problems today.
  2. You keep moving forward, but you adopt a different mindset. You welcome feelings of shame, anxiety and embarrassment into your language learning journey, knowing that doing this is what becoming a proficient speaker involves too. You keep making mistakes, hesitating when a word doesn’t come to mind and looking or sounding like an idiot in spite of all you’ve achieved in life. End all your problems today.

Option 1 is the easiest, but I don’t recommend it.  Option 2 is much harder, but it’ll make language learning much easier. I highly recommend it.

Which one are you going to go for? And how much are you willing to be disliked?

Fabio Cerpelloni is an English language teacher, writer, author, and podcaster from Italy. You can find out more about him and his work by clicking on his glass of beer in the photo.