Updated: Jul 21, 2021
There is a popular song by Sarah Bareilles that goes:
Say what you wanna say And let the words fall out Honestly I wanna see you be brave
I love this song because it illustrates how hard it is to say what is on your mind. It is an act of bravery, as the singer explains. Saying what you want to say is particularly hard if you are learning a new language like English. It's hard for a number of reasons. For example, you might lack the vocabulary or the grammar to make your idea clear.
But there are deeper reasons for staying quiet when you have something valid to say.
Here are 3 reasons why you might be holding back:
1. Maybe you are afraid the other person won't understand you.
2. Maybe you are worried that your opinion will be different than the other person's, and he or she will be offended.
3. Maybe you are scared that you will say it imperfectly and will look stupid.
These are all perfectly fine reasons. But if you want to take your English speaking skills to the next level, it's time that you learn a new English expression:
Feel the fear.
Feel the fear in your body, wherever it exists (my fear of speaking a new language in public often shows up in my throat), and allow the fear to be there. Don't judge it. Just let it hang out, and then, when you are ready, say what you want to say.
Yes, you might make a mess of the language. Yes, you might not be understood. However, there is great satisfaction in giving a voice to your ideas. You will receive valuable feedback in the form of a correction or a questioning look.
Better yet, your listener might understand you perfectly. All feedback, both positive and negative, is vital on your way to improving your English skills.