Linguistic Perfectionism

I’ve always had a perfectionistic streak.  I know I can’t control everything, but I want the things I can control to be perfect.  Sometimes this manifests itself as tenacity and stubbornness.  But sometimes, I let anxiety take over.

That’s the long way of saying I usually avoid saying a word if I don’t know what it means.  That also goes for the spelling of words – if I don’t know how to spell something, or I misspell something and can’t correct it, it’s game over.

But perfectionism also has a dark side.  And unfortunately, that dark side does not have cookies.  I’m talking about learning another language.  If you’ve read this blog at all – especially recently – then it’s no secret that I love Spanish.  I want to be fluent.  And I’ll get there someday – I’ve got reading and writing pretty much down pat.  But speaking is where I struggle.

It’s one thing when I’m around professors and other friends who speak it.  I don’t necessarily have to worry about them not being able to understand me.  But that’s where my comfort zone ends.  Out in the real world, I’m so afraid of getting something wrong that I freeze up – even if a phrase is on the tip of my tongue.  I just can’t get over the fear of “OMG, what if I say it wrong?”

I guess part of it is that I would most likely feel embarrassed.  But I don’t know if that’s the only issue.  Any tips on getting past this so I can speak it more and therefore feel better about myself?

Dictionary, Shmictionary

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