Learn English – I wish I had learned that earlier!

Some things I now know and do, I wish I had learned when I was younger.  Two have to do with taking care of my body and two with how to get along with other people.


My birthday is this month. And as I turn another year older, I realize that there are some things I know now that I wish I had learned earlier. What about you?

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories.)

Yes. I’m thinking, I’m reflecting on life, as my birthday approaches. There are some things I now know that I wish I had learned earlier in my life. I’m going to talk to you about things having to do with care of my body and some things that have to do with getting along with other people. 

So, when it comes to my body, my physical health, I wish I had started stretching years ago. I have always been athletic. I have always gone to the gym, worked out, walked, run, things like that, but I never stretched. People always said, “Maria, you should stretch. It’s good for your body.” I never did it, until about a year and a half ago when I went to a physical therapist, when I went to a chiropractor because my hips hurt.

And that is when I started to take stretching seriously and doing it every day. I now stretch twice a day. I spend about 10 minutes in the morning and about twenty, twenty-five minutes at night. And it has made a big difference. A lot of my pain has gone away. I wish I had started stretching earlier. 

What’s something else about physical care about taking care of my body that I wish I had learned earlier?  Has to do with my skin. I never used to put cream or a moisturizer on my face or on my body. I didn’t start that until I was 40. I wish I had started earlier. It’s good for the skin. And now that I am older, I really wish I had started using moisturizer on my arms, my legs and my face. It keeps your skin soft. 

So, those are two practices, two things that I now know and I do now. But if I had started earlier, when I was younger, I would be better off.

What about when it comes to people relating to people? Two things I now know, two practices I now follow. The first has to do with understanding the difference between empathy and sympathy. I do sympathy really well. When somebody is upset, I ask them why they are upset. I listen to them and then I usually give them a suggestion. Sometimes I even say, “You don’t have to feel that way because…..”, and I list reasons. That is sympathy, but it’s not near as good as empathy. I didn’t understand empathy until about six years ago.

What does empathy look like? What is the difference? Empathy just sits with the person. Empathy is being present with someone. For example, if my husband looks worried or feels depressed, I say, “Oh, you look depressed. Tell me about it. That, that must feel awful. What, what’s going on? What does it feel like?” And as I listen to him, I just try to understand his feeling. That is it. 

When another person understands my feelings, it is…. it’s a gift Empathy doesn’t offer suggestions. Empathy doesn’t try to fix the problem. Empathy just tries to understand and give one’s presence, give one’s time and attention to the other person. That feels like love. Sympathy does not feel like love. I wish I had known that earlier.

What’s, what’s the other idea that I wish I had learned earlier?  It comes from a book that one of my sons gave me called,  The Five Love Languages. The idea behind the book, the theory is that we show love to other people based on how we feel loved. But not everybody receives love the same way. According to the authors, there are two men who wrote the book, The Five Love Languages, there are five main ways people feel loved. One is physical touch, you know, stroking one’s head, rubbing a shoulder, giving a hug. Another one is words of affirmation, telling somebody, “I really admire how you were so gentle with that child”. Those are words affirming, are positive words. That feels like love to some people.

Another one of the five love languages is gifts. Yeah, gifts”  making a cup of coffee for someone (I meant to say buying a coffee, like from Starbucks), bringing flowers, buying something from the bakery, for no reason at all. The person who receives the gift feels loved because you thought about them and planned something. 

So, physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts……another one is acts of service. My mother-in- law feels loved when I do things for her. When I flew out to Seattle one summer and helped her get rid of things in her closet, she felt loved. That was an act of service.

Another language that shows love is spending quality time. Just being together with a person, if that’s their number one love language, they feel loved. I have a friend whose husband loves to watch TV. She doesn’t like TV, but she sits with him on the sofa. And she knits her. Her being with him, her physical presence feels like love. Or if your friend likes to go play golf or go bowling or play cards, and you do that with them, your presence feels like love. I wish I had known that earlier. 

So, those are the four practices, ideas that have improved my life. And I wish I had started sooner, but I’m glad that I know them now. What about you? Is there something you now know that you wish you had learned earlier? Tell me. Maybe it’s something I need to know and will benefit. And remember if you would like the written words to today’s episode, just go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com and you can find the transcript. Well, that’s it for this episode. I’m Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time.

(Outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)

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