Bilingual and feeling defeated about cultural & communication challenges

elenadosil's profile thumbnail
I'm not exactly bilingual, English is my second language, which I speak fluently but I'm clearly not native. I've been working on international companies for several years, and while I know I can make myself understood, I feel I will never be at the same level as my colleagues. I found that anxiety makes it worse, and sometimes words don't seem to want to come out in a fluid and coherent way. I know it's mostly in my head though, when I feel relaxed I can communicate quite well. My cycle phase also plays a role, as I have more anxiety some days than others.Know that you're not alone, many people suffer from this. Also, know that obsessing about it makes it worse. We can do much better when we don't sabotage ourselves.
I identify with this so much. Thank you!
mpiresc's profile thumbnail
I sometimes imagine my 15 y/o self looking at me now, speaking in English, in a conference room with a bunch of Americans. My 15 y/o self would be very impressed every single time and she would not care about the accent or less than perfect formulation of thought. Sometimes is about being happy with ourselves and how far we've come.
This is so sweet. I love this perspective. Thanks for the kind words.
Sorry that you had a tough day! But know that just because someone's a native speaker doesn't automatically make them eloquent. Think of people back home who speak your mother tongue. Aren't there also people who aren't the best at expressing themselves in meetings? I know for a fact that if I go home now, I can't speak in front of a large group in my mother tongue without a good few hours of preparation. You might be too harsh on yourself, maybe to others you did come across very well! Why not ask a few colleagues for their impression and feedback? I've had times where I didn't think I'd done well but others told me they really enjoyed hearing what I said. Good luck with your journey and we're all rooting for you!
Thank you. I appreciate this perspective and reminder that we’re all human. I can definitely be hash, and need to take a step back sometimes.
MarinaR's profile thumbnail
Erin220, I can relate to your feelings 100%. And please know what you are experiencing is a real thing. English is my second language and almost on a daily basis I think about how much easier and less stressful it’d be if I worked in my mother tongue. But I always tell myself that using your native language is easy and everyone can do it, but doing what we do is difficult and requires perseverance and strong will. Isn’t that great that we push ourselves on a daily basis to become better?! That means we grow! In case you haven’t read “Mind Set” (by Carol Dweck) I highly recommend it. It’s my fav book of all times. Having said that, I also have terrible days when I literally can’t express my thoughts in English and feel dumb. Those are just bad English days as I call them and they happen when I’m exhausted and feel under the weather. And it’s okay too. Let’s be kinder to yourselves. We deserve it.
I’m definitely going to buy this book, and thanks for putting into words some of the frustrations I’ve been experiencing. In a way, it makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one going through this. I love how you say that we’re pushing ourselves on a daily basis. It’s so true. 💕