Getting out and using our Spanish can push us out of our comfort zone. We feel vulnerable and under the spotlight. However, I can tell you one thing for sure - your willingness to face that kind of discomfort speaks volumes about who you are and how successful you will be in mastering the language.
Of all the characteristics that will serve you well on that learning journey, none is more important than courage. Notice how I said courage and not confidence. There’s a big difference between the two. Courage is something you choose. Confidence is something you earn.
In this way, courage has to come before confidence. Confidence is neither necessary nor expected when you first start out. Courage on the other hand, is required.
When I first started to use my new language, I constantly second-guessed myself. I was always comparing myself to others who seem to be doing so much better than me (or so I thought). If I’d understood that I had no business being confident back then, it would have eliminated so much worry, confusion and over-thinking.
Courage is already deep within you. You wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t determined to master this part of the journey to fluency!
As you start stringing together small successes with using the language (and learning from your slip-ups!) courage slowly morphs into confidence. With each win - like your first shaky sentence being understood, or understanding what someone has said to you, or having a short conversation – your confidence naturally grows. The slip-ups contribute too. You walk away thinking "I could have said this" or "I should have said that…" but you keep going and your confidence gets stronger.
Confidence will come, but not right away. That is why I don’t suggest you try to find your confidence.
Confidence in yourself is built through acts of everyday courage.