25 July 2013

love the foreign language: part 3, the explanation

I’ve had years of Spanish classes, had a basic introduction to Hebrew, have a program to learn Japanese and desire to learn Greek. But of all the languages available to learn Love makes me the most nervous.

Call me na├»ve, clueless, jaded or whatever else you can come up with but until recently I’ve had a bit of a block in this area. In a sense what the person said about me being like a kid who doesn’t understand the concept is true. I know Love, we’re close friends. I love my family and friends intensely but when it comes to romantic involvement, it may as well be Greek because I don’t understand that guy at all.

One of the beautiful things about learning another language is the humility it requires. We are so uncomfortable in foreign language classrooms because we are vulnerable, don’t know what we’re doing and are very aware that we don’t know. We hope we’re partnered with the correct person to practice this thing and grow to communicate as well as a native speaker.

Learning to speak another language requires submission and a willingness to be taught and to do so alongside someone else. In those early stages there is no way around looking or sounding silly because everything has to be learned and then learned again in context. We are always growing in what we learn, never quite arriving at some mythic plateau of linguistic mastery.

We have to trust our instructor to guide us along a good path and interact with our partner on the given terms for that language. We have to move beyond our discomfort, believe the instructor is not setting us up to fail and be willing to not only look out for our own interests but those of our partner as well. After all, it’s better if we can move forward together. This all takes a certain amount of faith in our instructor and our partner as well as a commitment to believe this team is there with us to benefit not harm us even when it’s difficult.

By now I’ve either confused your socks off or you can see the parallel and why I think of Love as a foreign language. Sure in the beginning it’s all happy fairies and pheromones but at some point you get to two exits past reality setting in and trust has to be developed and bonds created in order to move forward.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m too proud to learn the language or unwilling to submit to the Instructor’s terms. It’s not that I don’t think I can learn it either as much as it is I have a wide-eyed, child-like, wonder about this whole process. I innocently consider whether or not there is a man brave enough to try to learn to speak Aisha and if I’ll be able to learn him. After all it’s not a matter of only one person learning in a relationship, both are learning the communication style of the other and over time possibly developing a new language that is a hybrid of both.

So to answer the question {five months later} yes of course I want to fall in love and get married. And to be honest it’s not that I don’t think about it but I’m in a place where I know it’s not that relationship that defines me or gives me value. I’m also not raising my right hand and singing that anthem of female independence. I choose to trust that at the right time my Teacher will make it clear who my partner is and will send him this way. Until then I’ll keep learning so that I hear and understand him when he finds and speaks to me.

18 July 2013

fighting the fear of failure, part 3 - my decision

This journey to overcome fear of failure has been interesting and I know it’s not over but I know I turned a corner.

I want to share a realization that is serving as a mental sentinel to check, correct and keep out procrastination and analysis paralysis. I believe we learn greatly from others’ experiences but there is a greater resolve, conviction and strength birthed within after we battle to learn in our personal challenges.

The realization is this: It's okay to give my best all the time, no matter how I feel about the situation or if my best is not good enough.

I often get stuck in the thinking space, “What if I give my best and my best is not good enough? What if I fail?” This thought kept me from giving my all. Rather than disappoint with my best I gave a close effort but it was not the best, so if it fell short the reaction of others would not hurt as much.

I know it’s a silly, immature thought pattern but time after time I performed based on this. And the truth is it did still hurt because I knew it was not my best, I did not want to be rejected and I did not want to be perceived as a failure or not good enough.

But the decision I made is this: I will give my best. If it misses the mark, hopefully I will be corrected so that I can become better reaching a new best. And the part that gave me the most hope is if I give my best and it proves to be my best then I can still receive correction so that I can become better reaching a new best.

Either way I become better, ever changing and growing. I have known for years this is how character change happens but for some reason it had not translated over to the tasks I do as well. When I saw this I was encouraged to realize it is okay for me to not know everything or be perfect.

Failure is not the end of the world although I have been conditioned to believe it is. I have the opportunity to learn and grow, to become more and to help others by what I learn in the process. My decision is to keep going and not give the fear of failure any more of my time effort and ability.

11 July 2013

fighting the fear of failure, part 2 - get over it

"Mistakes should perfect your craft not paralyze your effort." Keionna Henderson 

Guilty as charged. 

I saw this quote and have not been able to forget it. I often write about my issues and how I really want to be a writer and all kinds of other nonsense. Yes I said it, nonsense. I am writing. I may not be paid for it yet, but that does not change the fact that I am a writer. 

I often do not make the significant efforts needed to pursue my passion because I fear the start. I become paralyzed by the fear of failing, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of not measuring up to the imaginary line of success, the fear of being incompetent and going through the pain of another lost job in a field I truly enjoy. So why bother to try if I’m just going to fall flat again? Is this really any way to live? 

Of course it’s not! So how do I move on from this place of fearful inactivity? During my absence from the “blogosphere” I returned to school to complete my degree. In January I became a journalism and public relations student. I am doing something about this desire and I am staring fear in the face everyday determined more than ever to move forward toward my goals. I do not just want to graduate and return to work, I would like to have my own business and provide the service that only I can. 

Returning to school has been both a challenge and exciting. It is an adjustment but one that has been well worth it. I am working hard would even say I’m having fun. Yesterday, I received a letter in the mail informing me that I made the Dean’s list for the Spring semester! I was very pleased with this and this gave me just the boost of encouragement that I need as I move forward in this journey. 

I will not foolishly state that I will never be afraid again, but I can confidently say that I refuse to be paralyzed. I’ve started and I will keep going on this journey knowing both my character and my craft are being perfected.