Why It's Okay to Feel Vulnerable When Learning ESL


ESL Toddler

When I was living in Germany working for the translation department of a company, I would listen to little kids talk—like 4 and 5-year olds—and they spoke much more fluently than I did. I would think to myself, “I can’t even speak as well as a little kid!” I was an educated person who had been studying German for years, and my verbal skills were “outmatched” by youngsters.

You can imagine how I felt.

I felt awkward.

I felt frustrated.

I felt vulnerable.

I want to talk about this word vulnerable today. It’s a great advanced vocabulary word to know, and it is a “hot topic” nowadays thanks to a professor named Brené Brown. Brené has been researching the topic of vulnerability for many years now.

So, what does vulnerable even mean?

According to Dictionary.com the first two definitions of vulnerable (adjective) include:

1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon:

a vulnerable part of the body.

2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.