Dear Italy,

I Changed My Mind…

A little under two months ago, in the midst of my existential crisis, I published a post titled “26 and Careerless“. We hadn’t yet moved into the city, and I was still feeling quite homesick and unmotivated. I had ultimately decided that the only careers I was qualified to pursue in Italy were either teaching English or becoming an au-pair/nanny. There is high demand for mother-tongue, twenty-somethings for both jobs, and–although I have five years’ professional experience and am fluent in Italian–I was still adamant that these were my only career options here.

A couple of months ago, I wrote on Instagram how I miss reading books and that I wish there were more afforable books sold in English here. Back in the States, I had a library card and one of the little joys of my old life was logging into the archive on the New York Public Library website and scoping out a new read. Once selected, I’d have the book sent to my nearest branch and–upon receiving the email that it was ready for pick-up–I’d run there as soon as I could.

Oftentimes, when I have to reply to an email completely in Italian, I’ll wait for my boyfriend to come home from work and help me with the grammar. I already utilize and Google Translate, but I always feel better when he’s here to check it over.

Notice a pattern? In every single instance above, one thing is evident–I’ve allowed self-doubt to seep in and convince me that my Italian, a language I’ve known since I was two years old, is absolutely awful. I can’t speak Italian well enough to apply for full-time, office jobs. I can’t read Italian well enough to enjoy books in the language. I can’t write in Italian well enough to formulate a brief email to a stranger. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.

Truthfully, I thought I was being a realist–prudent and practical in the way I carry myself. I know everyone makes mistakes, but I never want to admit that I do as well. It never occurred to me that, all this time, I’ve been sabotaging my own future.

Aside from my bilingual woes, I notice that my self-doubt has also started to affect other areas of my life…

…and that stops now.

I’ve never adhered to those (what I deemed ridiculous) self-love habits of positive affirmations, journaling and meditation. To be honest, I’ve never understood them; how are talking, writing and thinking to yourself going to change your life?

While I’m too impatient and dynamic for the last one, I am now intrigued about the first two. Ironically, this blog already serves as a sort of journal–although way less personal–for me anyway, but maybe it would be helpful to actually put pen to paper and just write. As for the positive affirmations, I always thought they were corny and that I’d never be the type of chick to look in the mirror and shout, “YOU GOT THIS, BITCH!” (can I say ‘bitch’ during these positive affirmations, or will they no longer be positive if I do? what if you perceive it as positive? what are the rules here?!).

Then, yesterday on LinkedIn, I came across this Thrive Global article on how to think and treat yourself positively. The author shares three, simple ways to “train your brain to think differently”:

  1. Reframe your unhelpful thoughts. Convert statements such as “I’m too dumb to do this job” into “I do lack some skills in this capacity, but the knowledge I’ve acquired in past roles may give me an edge over the next person.”
  2. Prove yourself wrong. Send your CV to that company. Read that book. Write that email. There’s a chance you may fail; but, what if you don’t?
  3. Create a personal mantra. Whenever the pessimist in you comes out to play, repeat to yourself your favorite encouraging phrase over and over again.

Over the next few months, my mission is to work hard at these three rules in an effort to show myself some more grace and love. In fact, I’ve already got #3 down; are you ready?



One Comment

  • Jackie

    Hey sister!
    May I be honest with you for a moment, I think almost everyone goes through the same self-doubting questions. I’ve heard so many people question their future career options here in NY. The problem over here seems like even entry level jobs require a ridiculous amount of experience, but no one will give you an opportunity get the experience. When I took a brief break from teaching, I being told that I was overqualified and the employers did not understand why a person with a master’s degree would want an entry level. While it sucks being put in either situation, I’ve learned that you still need to take those leaps of faith. Then when you meet the right person who sees the potential in you, it’s all worth it. You’d be surprised how much people may see you as an asset.

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