Or, what do I mean when I keep on talking about “mindful Nederlands”.
Step 1: Accept where you are, and embrace it
First of all I invite you to forgive yourself for being hard on yourself.
For believing the story that you need to speak better Flemish at this point, because of …. (insert reasons here).
I know it’s hard to change that belief, but yes, you have been doing enough, and you’re fine wherever you are right in this moment.
So take a breath, and thank yourself for all the efforts, even when they might not have had the results you wanted.
This in itself can be hard, I’m speaking from personal experience.
Who said being mindful was easy all the time? Nope, not me.
Step 2: Reconnect to the why
Chances are, you’re living in Belgium, and Dutch just comes in the package of living there.
You might say that this is your why.
With nearly all the learners I’ve worked with, we’ve started by uncovering a bigger reason why they were motivated to keep on learning and improving.
Because let’s face it, when you’re having a bad day, telling yourself that you have to do something doesn’t work.
Remembering why you’re doing something makes more sense.
I remember a mother who dreamed of reading Flemish children’s books to her daughter, and discovering the language together. Another woman wanted to participate in local activities without forcing the whole village to switch to English for everything.
And of course, there’s always love. Uncovering your lover’s language and surprising her with your knowledge can be fun and a beautiful new aspect in your relationship.
What’s your reason? What dream do you have where your language skills take you even higher?
Step 3: Be aware of what type of activity brings you joy
There are countless ways to improve a language, and it doesn’t all have to be about talking to other people. (Yes, this is for my fellow introverts!)
While speaking practice can be very useful, it’s often portrayed as the holy grail, the best or maybe even only way to get better.
Everyone’s different though.
The mindful way offers you some other possibilities.
It starts from within. What makes sense to you?
It can be as simple as watching a Flemish TV show with subtitles or listening to a podcast, reading an article out loud to yourself, writing out thoughts or imaginary interviews, finding information or courses on your passion in Dutch…
There are plenty of possibilities: if you can imagine it, you can do it.
Tell me, what do you enjoy most?
Step 4: Combine language with personal growth
You might already meditate, journal, dance or have any other self-care routine.
Or you know that you need it, but you haven’t found your formula yet.
In both cases, it’s amazing to discover the possibilities of combining your personal development with your language improvement.
A breathing exercise or meditation? Some journaling or writing prompts? Writing yourself a love letter? Listening and reading interesting articles about topics like perfectionism, non-violent communication, the psychology of personality, our energetic centers…
And the good thing is, your Dutch doesn’t even have to be close to perfect to enjoy this.
I invite you to find out for yourself by downloading my free mindful Nederlands journaling magazine, which gives you plenty of inspiration.
And if you want more, my programme ‘t Boekske vol Goesting, gives you a fresh shot of mindful language learning every month.