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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, coaching, effective communication and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free food and good movies.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Can a poetic quote by Maya Angelou be the key that unlocks happiness?

Today, while going to work, I made a quick stop in a supermarket. The young cashier has been rude to me for no particular reason and I suddenly remembered how sad I have been, during my first year in Berlin, each time that someone has been rude or impolite or disrespectful to me because of my broken German.

I was thinking about it and a magnificent quote from Maya Angelou popped up in my mind:

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou [born Marguerite Ann Johnson, 1928-2014]

[Maya Angelou as a fun, charming and lively witch,
while playing with her youth and her positive energy]

Back in the days, every time that someone treated me poorly I felt... guilty. Maybe it was my fault if they were rude, because my German was not good enough? This is what I thought for a long time, and I was ashamed. Until the day I realized, at last, that this is not a good reason to be rude to someone. That my German was not the problem. That I was not the problem.

My German is not bad any longer and I am not afraid any longer. I don't feel guilty any longer and I am actually proud of myself and of everything I did and achieved in the last three years.
Today I just smiled, while leaving the supermarket, because it's not my problem if someone is unhappy or frustrated and wants to be rude. I am not the problem.

Maya Angelou was right, of course.
You will indeed remember how someone makes you feel, and yet it is up to you to decide how to deal with any situation. Every single time, it is up to you to let someone else have control over your emotions or to keep the control of yourself.

Tags: Maya Angelou, Quotes, Emotions, Self-control, How to react, Emotional intelligence, Life as an expat

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