My native language is German. I’m living in Germany. So why am I writing this blog (often) in English first? At least, when it comes to mental health? There are a few reasons for that – reduced emotionality of using your second language, audience and sources. Here they are in order of increasing importance:
Be it for availability or because I like to read things in the original, if I can. And most of what I read about mindfulness and psychology is in English. Which makes it easier to write in English just because I don’t have to look up the vocabulary.
Vanity & Reach: Audiences
English is the de facto world language. There are a lot first language speakers and a lot more who learn it as a second language for learning, travelling or business. English, therefore, gives me a much larger potential audience. And therefore a lot more people I might help. And I’d like to be read – which writer does not?
Taking Care of Myself: Reduced Emotionality
Research and my personal experience concur: Using your second language, if you did not grow up bi-lingual, creates a certain emotional distance between you and whatever you talk about. “Ich liebe dich” feels more intense to me than “I love you”. And since writing about mental health and mindfulness is sure to dredge up a lot of things that are bound hit very close to home, English makes it actually easier to talk about them.
Bonus Reason: I’m scared
This kind of ties in with the last reason: I’m scared when I’m thinking about sharing what I’ve learned and my personal experience. Questions like “Who am I to tell the world about mental health?” and “Is anything I talk about worthwhile or helpful?” nag at me. But they nag less when I write in English. Because it feels less real, because the emotionality of it all is reduced. There you have it, short and sweet. I hope you’ll enjoy reading.
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Then why not share it with the world with some adoring, thoughtful or scathing words?