Do you want to improve your life? Did you know that learning a new language can change many aspects of your life?
Make a fool of yourself
When you learn a new language, you go back to zero and you are like a baby again. You are insecure, shy, and at times you feel like a complete fool. The mind does not like it, but that’s a good thing. Because you will have to open up. Opening up is a matter of the heart. Forget about the mind.
Remember the kid you once were? Always curious, never afraid to tackle new challenges. Your enthusiasm propelled your learning process at a super fast pace.
That’s exactly the point where you want to be when learning a new language. Actually just by starting the learning process, your inner child awakens. Jump joyfully onto the bandwagon of discovery. Be that child again.
Let go of the tyranny of the mind that revels in creating doubt and worry. Still the voice that says: “I can’t do it, it’s too difficult, I’m too old, I’m not smart enough, I sound ridiculous.” Let the mind do what it’s good at: categorizing, computing information and making associations.
Learning a new language changes you
What I am about to say does not have any scientific foundation. It is solely based on my own experience of speaking several different languages on a daily basis.
Just like repeating mantras that trigger certain responses in the body, mind and spirit, so speaking different languages will have an effect on your behaviour.
By learning a new language you add qualities to your personality. Good and bad ones. It’s up to you to choose which ones you want to keep.
French – analytical and aristocratic
When I speak French, which is my mother tongue, my intellectual side is boosted. Ego, as well as general and artistic knowledge, become central. I hold my head high, and I see the world around me with a more analytical and judgmental mind. I catch myself being arrogant, my aristocratic side is awakened and the charmer takes over. Think of the French waiter, and you get the idea.
Dutch – organisation and sarcasm
When I’m in Belgium, I speak Flemish (it’s Dutch, but spoken with a different accent). The Flemish culture is all about order, organisation and perfection.
On the flip-side: because reaching high goals to please your fellow citizens is almost impossible, worrying has become part of Flemish people’s daily life. So how do they deal with this self-imposed stress? They use irony and sarcasm; the Flemish have become masters at it.
English – communication at its best
There are good reasons why English is the world’s number one language.
It’s concise, great for conveying ideas, ideal for sharing difficult concepts, powerful for persuasive orations, easy to learn and is taught all over world.
English is my preferred language when I work as a tour guide in the Vatican and Rome. The English groups that I guide are usually made up of people from many different countries; you feel part of a world family. It’s exhilarating.
Italian – language of the heart
Do you know why I decided to learn Italian? It all happened in the space of a few minutes…
Flashback – a revelation
Let’s roll back the clock. Date: April 7, 2008.
I’m prepping the set in my photo studio with my assistant Barbara, a native of Rome, who is on a mission to discover the northern countries. We’re shooting a scene for Australian artist, Catherine, Barbara’s long-time friend, who worked in Italy for several years.
When Catherine entered the studio, the room became electric. Barbara and Catherine jumped into each other’s arms, squeezing each other so tight they could hardly breathe. Their faces were lit up by an overwhelming joy. Clearly, it was a reunion of kindred souls. While holding hands, Barbara said: “Ciaaooo tesoooro, come staiiii? Mi hai mancato tanto.’”— Hello my sweetheart, how are you? I have missed you so much.
That was it. I was sold. The tone. The voice. The way Italian sounds and expresses love. It felt like coming home. I had found the missing link.
At that very moment, I decided to learn Italian. Intuitively I knew that it would help me become a better human being.
This was the start of a beautiful friendship with Italy, the Italians and their melodic language that speaks straight from and to the heart.
So, why should you learn Italian?
If you live mostly in the mind, as I did, and want to learn about living in the heart, then Italian is the language you should learn.
Italian is a joyous language. You start your day by greeting people with “Buongioo..orno!” — vocalised in a singing tone — and it throws you immediately into a place of openness, ready to begin your new day.
Do you catch yourself singing in the shower or just singing to yourself during the day? Yes? Then you’re aware that it triggers your happy switch. Speaking Italian is close to singing all day long. So, imagine what it does to your mood and heart! The mind takes a break. You become less preoccupied and judgmental.
By learning and speaking Italian, you fully embrace the culture that comes with it: a joyous attitude to life; the importance of caring for your family, friends and neighbours; an incredible respect and love for food; an unmatched appreciation for aesthetics and design; a genuine attitude of generosity towards others and a deep understanding of the existence of the divine aspects of life.
Italians are teachers of the heart. If you’re a good student you will become a lover of life. You will shine.
Instead of thinking obsessively about the meaning of life or of your own life, you might understand that life is all about living from the space of the heart. It’s about giving and receiving. It’s about love – a higher love. The Italians knew it all along.
Is it all sunshine and butterflies? Of course not! I know quite a few Italians who don’t meet the above description.
Italy is also known as the country of confusion: in communication, organisation, administration, politics, timing, emotions and feelings –probably because they tend to forget to balance the heart with the mind.
But hey, remember, just take the good and forget the bad.
Are you looking for a fresh start in life? Do you feel stuck? Do you have a desire to become more loving, caring and generous? Learn Italian.
You’ll be surprised how you will be tossed around – in a beneficial way. It happened to me. And I’m still learning.
Thank you my open-hearted models, Kira, Teresa and Dario. You are beautiful beings!