Tonight’s run reminded me of this: I’m thankful for the people in my life, who from time to time, know, “It’s personal.”
There’s a bit of dialogue from the 1998 film, You’ve Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. It’s a bit of a chick flick. I know some guys who like it. It’s full of these delightfully insightful lines. What follows is a wonderful illustration of what I mean by, “Personal.”
I need to set the scene a bit. Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) is visiting Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) in her apartment to cheer her up while she is ill. All you need to know at this juncture is this: His Barnes and Noble-esque bookstore moved into the same New York neighborhood as her independent children’s book store, Shop Around the Corner, and put it out of business. When referring to putting her out of business he says:
“It wasn’t… personal.”
Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway?
Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.
Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.
For me, this is a reminder to be cautious about what flippant, rude, sarcastic or hurtful thing may be coming out of your mouth next. I’m not perfect here, but I certainly try, and I’m thankful for the awareness to know when I’ve failed. I’m also thankful for the friends and family who let me know when I’ve come at them a little sharply.
As previously mentioned, I’m thankful for the people who understand things can be, “personal,” to me. I certainly don’t expect others to tiptoe around things that may be tough topics, but I can always tell and appreciate when someone is being gentle about said sensitive topic.
I’m not one for side stepping the truth, but the truth, gently, can be much more effective than the truth with an edge. If nothing else at all, it’s more humane. Isn’t that what this is all about? This whole life thing? This whole human thing? It’s about building relationships and connecting. Birth: you’re connecting with your parents/caregivers. Toddlers: you’re connecting with siblings, friends, family, the world. School age through high school through college: you’re still connecting with friends, connecting with who you really are, connecting with your parents and family as you realize you are your own little bit of humanity. Adulthood: connecting, and staying connected, with your family, friends, a significant other and the type of human you want to be. How would these journeys be with no, “personal,” along the way? I haven’t experienced a great quantity of it, but what I’ve had, has been true quality. I’ve encountered the best of humanity and gotten stunning instances of , “personal.” For this, I’m thankful.