Image from Tagesspiegel —

When I lived in Berlin, the U-Bahn station just down the street from my place was Kottbusser Tor.

When I first arrived, I remember being very intimidated by the idea of waiting for a train there at night. Kotti d’Azur, as it has been affectionately called by some, is a haven for heroin addicts and threatening police officers with terrifying looking dogs.

I was once punched in the back of the head by a guy who ran past me on the escalator from the platform.

And yet, by the time I left, I couldn’t help but love the place. It was no longer scary. In fact, the crack addicts didn’t seem so scary and the police only ever stood around watching everything that was going on.

Kotti now seems charming to me. A place that has gone unsanitised by time.

And then I was thinking about how I view people.

So frequently, I am annoyed by something that a person has done and I want to try to change the way they behave. I want to sanitise their actions so that I can live more harmoniously.

But harmony requires two different parts coming together to form a pleasing tune.

Charm is the ensemble of all of the things you want to change.

To enjoy charm, we must learn to live with the things that annoy us.

When you can appreciate a person’s charm, you gain so much.