Does Your English Never Feel ‘Good Enough’? - Build Confidence in English | Learning a Language

Never Feeling ‘Good Enough’ – Building Confidence in English

English speaking confidence

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Never Satisfied with Your Language Skills?

Ever since I started learning another language, I’ve always had a feeling of never being ‘good enough’ at it.

I’m sure I’m not alone.

It’s a feeling of never being satisfied with my skills or abilities to communicate exactly the way want to. As learners, we are hard on ourselves. We are our own biggest critics. Always, focusing on all of our mistakes.

The focus is on trying to fill the gap between where you are now and this dream of speaking perfectly A time and a place where you know exactly what to say at the right time. With no hesitation, no doubt.

Or rather, we won’t be satisfied until we speak this new language the way we speak in our native language.

More speaking advice and tips here

Focusing on the Wrong Things

When I listen to native speakers talking, I think… “Wow, I have a lot to learn. I cannot speak like that.”

Why am I comparing myself to a native speaker?

I realized that this doubt that I have in my own skills comes from this: Native speakers know who to say things 1000 different ways. I only know how to say it a few different ways.

Think about that for a minute. It makes a lot of sense about where this feeling of ‘doubt’ comes from…

When I say something. I feel like I am not very good because I haven’t mastered every possible way I could say the sentence in the language yet. I feel restricted to the 2 or 3 ways I can express the thought.

My ‘version’ of the sentence feels like a translation from my native language more than a way a native speaker would say the same thing. My version is 100% correct and a native speaker will tell me that I don’t have any errors. The native speaker could have chosen to say the sentence in the same way I did…

english conversation

Why am I doubting my skills??

The REAL purpose of learning a language, is to be able to communicate. Connecting and talking with other people. I am certainly able to do that. Right now, I am living in a country that speaks the language I am learning.

Frequently, I hear native speakers complimenting me by saying, “Your Spanish is really good!” My answer, “Thanks, but I still have a lot to learn.”

What a way to respond to a compliment! That’s horrible.

This could have been a positive thing for my confidence AND the person giving the compliment if I said the truth: “Thanks. I’ve actually been working at it pretty hard for a long time.”

Focusing on the Progress You’ve Made

I know my skills aren’t that bad, really. Especially when I think about how far I’ve come in the language.

Looking back at the first conversation I ever had… what a disaster. I felt like I couldn’t use the words and grammar I had learned. It also felt like I had to test every word to see if it made sense to the native speaker.

My listening skills used to be horrible! It was so frustrating not being able to understand a person speaking. I hated getting caught when I didn’t understand someone because I didn’t hear what they said. It was really embarrassing.

After applying some techniques and working to improve my listening, I can now enjoy watching movies without subtitles and I understand people when they are talking to me almost perfectly.

english conversation

I used to struggle to read a newspaper article, now I can understand it very well without a dictionary. There are still words I don’t know, but I can now figure things out because I understand enough of the context.

When I think about these situations, I realize that I shouldn’t feel like I am ‘not good enough’ yet. It gives me a sense of pride with the skills that I have developed.

Instead of giving ourselves the recognition we deserve for learning a foreign language and enjoying how much we have learned in the language; we focus on how much more we have to learn in order to be a master of the language. That sounds like a mindset that will result in failure.

And it is.

The Real Struggle

My self-confidence towards my skills in the language I’m learning could use a bit of attention. Lately, I’ve been feeling frustrated that I can’t say things (in Spanish) the exact way that I want to.

Instead of focusing on how I can’t say everything with the same ease I can in English… and feeling disappointed.

I am going to focus on the fact that I can say what I want to say and the other person knows what I am trying to say. That is an accomplishment and anyone learning a language should be proud that they have learned enough to be able to communicate successfully.

There are always going to be new things to learn about this language. There’s no doubt that this will be the case.

Heck, I am still learning things about English, my native language. I learn new things about grammar, new vocabulary and new slang terms that are evolving constantly.

Being proud of what you have learned already will not stop you from continuing your journey to be better and better every day. Having the confidence to use what you know in the best way you can to communicate is the goal, not perfection.

Leave a comment for me below about this article. Do you have this struggle as well?

Please share 🙂

Lesson 202: Deal With #2 | English Phrasal Verbs

Deal With #2 English Phrasal Verb

In this English phrasal verb lesson, we teach you how to use ‘Deal With’ and this is one of the 2 meanings for this phrasal verb. This meaning is used for talking about how to manage someone. Have a look at the following examples to get the idea and understanding of how we use it correctly.

 

Phrasal Verb: Deal With 2

by Real English Conversations | Phrasal Verb Course

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Phrasal Verbs Lesson: Deal with #2

Alternative Meaning: To manage someone

Example 1:

  • I have to deal with my brother because he is upset.
  • I have to talk to my brother because he is upset.

Example 2:

  • If you deal with the customers that want to pay, Shannon can deal with the person on the phone.
  • If you manage the customers that want to pay, Shannon can manage the person on the phone.

 

The English Phrasal Verbs Course

Learning phrasal verbs from a list is not the best way to do it. You need to learn the meaning of phrasal verbs through the context of a situation. In our phrasal verb course, you will get two examples using the phrasal verb in each lesson. Once you have studied 10 lessons, you can test your knowledge using the phrasal verb stories.

The phrasal verb stories are the key to helping you understand the verbs that have multiple meanings and to comprehend what the phrasal verbs mean when you hear them. To learn more about the course and see an example of the lessons you will receive Click Here.

Please share this lesson if you thought it was helpful and leave a comment below using an example if you want to receive a correction 🙂

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250 Phrasal Verb Lessons with 25 Stories

Start understanding phrasal verbs that you hear in everyday conversation. Our audio lessons give you the training you need with PDF transcriptions to master English phrasal verbs.

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35. Carnival in Colombia (English Podcast Conversation Lesson)

english conversation carnival pic

We’ve been gone from recording conversations for more than a year but we are back with a new English podcast format that is better than ever!

In this English conversation, we are going to tell you about our experiences visiting Colombia during their world-famous Carnival. We discuss the difference it can make when you know someone who is from the region you are visiting and how you can really have the opportunity to discover the culture on another level.

Free PDF transcription download

The transcriptions for each podcast will available for 7 days for free!

Click here to download it now to read along while you listen.

English Conversation Tip:

If you have a question, send it to us: contact@realenglishconversations.com

We answer our Hassan’s question about a problem he is having with listening.

Dear Amy and Curtis,

I’ve been learning English for 3 years but I’ve noticed I have a lot of problems with my listening. I feel like I listen to a lot of audio, maybe 1 hour a day. When I watch movies with subtitles, I know most of the words… but I am not able to hear the words when I listen without subtitles. Please help me. 

Read the article related to Amy’s advice on listening deeper here.

Video about slowing down audio: Using Audacity to improve listening skills

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Real English Podcast Conversations Podcast

English Podcast Episode 35: Carnival in Colombia