When is it that you’ll know when you have to do what you know you must do in spite of yourself?

We all want to change something about ourselves, our situation, and some of us do – some of the times. Most of us will put off that which can be put off and simply live with our difficulties as best as we can. Then something happens to us and we are impelled to act. True change is a very private internal matter and doesn’t happen until we feel “I can’t live this way anymore,” and we find a way to change.

Over the holidays I saw “True Grit” with a friend and with Raye I saw “The King’s Speech.” Both were morality tales about accomplishing what needed to be accomplished. They were also tales of the relationships we need to accomplish what’s essential to who we seek to be. In “True Grit’” Mattie Ross seeks to avenge the murder of her father. This requires the help of Rooster Cogburn, whose only apparent attachment before Mattie is with a bottle. He becomes attached and redeemed, becoming her Guardian Angel in a race with death. While “True Grit” is the classic Western, it’s in “The King’s Speech” where we can identity with the King or the Queen or, if a therapist like myself, also with the therapist who must work with himself to help his client.

The King, the Queen and Professor Logue all had “true grit”, a determination to get past whatever obstacles they had to face in themselves and each other so that the King could find his “voice” and lead a country in war. Clearly it wasn’t easy. It was an ordeal for the King to face his humiliation in stuttering and his fear of continuing a shameful family legacy. Professor Logue had to get past his own arrogance in his techniques and take responsibility for his mistakes before he could be helpful as a fellow human being. These two men could never have come together were it not for the Queen who never let her husband’s loss of faith diminish her own. That husband-wife love story was the powerful backdrop of the outward drama between two men.

Movies like “The King’s Speech” inspire because they ask us to face ourselves in the struggle to be more of who we desire to be. That takes true grit. In “True Grit” Rooster becomes a family man when buried by Mattie in the family burial grounds. In “The King’s Speech” the King moved beyond his personal history and became his own man. And what a woman the Queen was, wasn’t she? Between the three of them they made history.