The desks were still wooden when I started learning French at school. The single ones that had a lift up top to put your books and things inside. I loved those desks. Almost, but not quite as much, as I loved my first French teacher.
She was always creative in the way she taught us. Like the way she bent over at her stomach and pretended to be in pain to remind us that the "acute" accent sloped forward. But there was one thing she taught with no creativity at all. One thing that was rigid as a pair of knickers left out to dry in an overnight frost.
Verbs. She was military in her teaching of the verbs. And I can reel them off today as if she'd just this second taught them to us.
Il / Elle / On est
Ils / Elles sont
Like the conductor of an orchestra her hand swept up and down, signalling the speed with which we should chant our verbal drill in unison. This is how I learned every irregular verb in the French language. By repeating it over and over and over again.
The great thing about this method is...it works. It works if you hate French. It works if you think you're rubbish at languages. Eventually, if you do the work, it just becomes part of you. You wake up in the morning drilling verbs.
That's where the self-talk comes in. You've done the drilling. Done the repetition. You've been doing it since school, just like French. Maybe longer. Except now it's 21 years later and you realise your French teacher taught you the wrong verbs. For 21 years you've been drilling yourself in the wrong f**king thing.
1. Get really pissed no one taught you the right verbs.
2. Decide it's not too late and figure out what the right ones are. Start drilling.
Your old drills might look like:
I'm stupid (this was always my personal favourite).
I'm not as good as [insert name].
I don't deserve to be happy.
I'll never get where I want / what I want.
Your new drills might look like:
I can be / do / have anything I want.
I'm a confident, courageous, wealthy person.
Everyone (ok, not everyone) wishes they knew their irregular French verbs inside out. Few are willing to endure the monotony of daily drilling.
Everyone wants to have a bigger capacity to love themselves. Few are willing to endure the necessary daily practice.
Whether it's self-love, financial abundance, or perfect knowledge of irregular verbs, the good stuff comes from the daily grind.
The daily grind, for me, looks like journaling. It works. Write down all the things you want to be, do and have as if you already are, doing and have them. Repeat. Every. Single. Day. After all, you get what you focus on, right?
Love and courage,