What learning a second language taught me about perseverance

Karin Goldgruber

During my second summer in Canada I lived with my only friend in a new town. She was a very busy woman and my partner worked out of town. I was alone most of the time. Phone calls to my family in Austria were too expensive.

Because my English wasn’t very good, I felt shy and timid and isolated. I wanted, needed human contact.

 I’d grown up in a small community and had the same friends all my life. Now I was in a city, and only knew one person. I missed my friends. I set a goal  to go out and say Hi to three people every day. I couldn’t even imagine having a full conversation with complete strangers in a foreign language. 

Have you ever been truly terrified of doing something completely out of your comfort zone? That was me. Every day. I looked for excuses. What would they think about me? Would they criticise me, or worse correct me? I felt so lonely I just wanted to talk with someone.

 I didn’t want to do it but I did it every day. Well almost every day. 

Imagine my feelings on the days I accomplished my goal. I felt relief, pride, and surprise that it went better than expected and I even had real conversations.

Always worried what others might think about my mistakes. I wanted to improve my English and just talk with someone. That soon became more important than other people’s opinion of me.

I experienced a roller coaster of feelings like, being proud of myself, feeling accomplished, also doubt, despair and hope. Every day I felt more courageous and I noticed that it got easier the more I practised. I felt on top of the world after my knees didn’t shake and I was safely back in the house. I gained confidence.

 Waking up the next morning it would hit me. I had to do it all over again. Every morning I felt nervous and scared but I also felt frustrated and down when I didn’t stick to my plan. 

 I started to like my accent, it helped me to connect and people remembered me.  

 I worried about someone being rude, and being so devastated that I would give up.

 I realized that not everyone spoke a second language. 

Often I would question why I had committed to do this. Then I would just smile at someone and if they smiled back I would say hello. I often felt like a total loser because I was so scared of something so easy. 

Yet I kept persisting. My confidence grew the more chats I had in my second language. I still remember how delighted I was about my first english dream. Talking to a friend from ESL class  in English over the phone for two hours felt like I had graduated.

What a big confidence booster.

Now it’s easier for me to chat with people and write about my experiences as a Highly Sensitive Person. Back then I would have never believed that I could do this. Yet here we are.  

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About the Author

Karin is a proud mother of two, a business owner, an immigrant, an avid hiker, a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), and many other things. Growing up in Austria, she always felt she was different from others around her, but never quite knew why. It was only in her 40’s that Karin discovered the term HSP, what it meant, and how it applied to her. Gaining this new perspective has helped Karin to better understand herself and how others see her. Soon after learning about HSP’s, Karin learned about Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which she has found is very helpful in addressing negative beliefs about herself and her past experiences. With her blogs and her business, Next Step Coaching, Karin seeks to help others learn more about HSPs, themselves, their beliefs about themselves, and to achieve the growth that she herself was able to realize by applying EFT. When writing her Blogs and working with clients, Karin does not seek to provide the answers, but rather to help her readers and clients find their own personal solutions for their unique circumstances.

Karin is a proud mother of two, a business owner, an immigrant, an avid hiker, a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), and many other things….

Growing up in Austria Karin is a proud mother of two, a business owner, an immigrant, an avid hiker, a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), and many other things. Growing up in Austria, she always felt she was different from others around her, but never quite knew why. It was only in her 40’s that Karin discovered the term HSP, what it meant, and how it applied to her. Gaining this new perspective has helped Karin to better understand herself and how others see her. Soon after learning about HSP’s, Karin learned about Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which she has found is very helpful in addressing negative beliefs about herself and her past experiences. With her blogs and her business, Next Step Coaching, Karin seeks to help others learn more about HSPs, themselves, their beliefs about themselves, and to achieve the growth that she herself was able to realize by applying EFT. When writing her Blogs and working with clients, Karin does not seek to provide the answers, but rather to help her readers and clients find their own personal solutions for their unique circumstances.