Charlie Chaplin, as I began to love myself

Charlie Chaplin - as I began to love myselfI never thought that I’d be writing a post based on Charlie Chaplin, but I am. I’ve been very surprised to find that he’s said and written some impressive stuff.

Firstly, I found some text (poem?) that he supposedly wrote on his 70th birthday, although there is some disagreement about this and some people say [this turned out to be so wrong – see the comments at the bottom] that it was actually a translation of text from the book “When I Loved Myself Enough” by Kim & Alison McMillen. I don’t really care what the origin of this text is, I found it very poignant and moving for me.

Here is the complete text.

Charlie Chaplin – as I began to love myself 

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!

Almost every word of this text resonates with me. I find it very special and very wise.

Charlie Chaplin - as I began to love myselfAs I began to love myself…

I was struck by how almost every sentence starts with “As I began to love myself…” which doesn’t mean love in the sense of an unhealthy infatuation and belief that you are better than others. It means to have a healthy respect and compassion for ourselves and to acknowledge that we have a definite, fundamental potential to do good in the world.

I think that beginning to love myself was the key ingredient for me to lose weight (see How did I lose 75 pounds?). When I was very heavy, I didn’t really have enough respect and compassion for myself. I thought I wasn’t worthy. I didn’t think I was as good as everybody else. Somewhere along the way (probably during this training course) I began to realize that I was worthy of my own respect and compassion, and this changed everything. All of a sudden it was worth taking care of my body and I began to find ways to make myself healthier.

When I read the words “As I began to love myself…” I thought that maybe this is common in life. Maybe we lose our way during life and, at some point, have to learn to love ourselves again.

Reminders of Mindfulness and the Power of the Mind

The second last paragraph is particularly powerful;

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

It makes me remember the books of Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness,  and Lissa Rankin, Mind Over Medicine, and the video interview of Bruce Lipton, Subconscious mind power.

It’s becoming pretty clear to me that the most powerful component of our lives is our mind. It we don’t control it, we don’t control our lives. If we make use of its power, there’s almost nothing we can’t do.

Reminders of The Hero’s Journey

The very last paragraph causes me to remember the work of Joseph Campbell, well summarized in the film Finding Joe. “Even when stars collide” there is nothing to fear. It is just part of our journey through life. Good things, better things, are on the other side of what appears to be bad.

Charlie Chaplin - The Great DictatorCharlie Chaplin’s speech in The Great Dictator

As part of my research into Charlie Chaplin, I found a speech that he made as the lead character in his 1940 movie The Great Dictator. I’d never heard of this movie before and I’d never heard Charlie Chaplin speak, so this speech was surprising and moving.

Please take the time to play this short video of Charlie Chaplin’s speech.

A fun graphic of “As I began to love myself…”

Finally I found this fun graphic capturing the text of “As I began to love myself…” from


Graphic source –

Charlie Chaplin – ahead of his time?

I’m surprised by the wisdom in the text quoted here and in the speech from Charlie’s movie that was made 74 years ago. The sentiments expressed could have been written or spoken today and have the same impact.

Have we known everything that we should be doing all along? It appears so. The right direction in life might be as simple as just acting on the things we know, deep down, are the right things to do.

Related Links – Charlie Chaplin

29 Responses to “Charlie Chaplin, as I began to love myself”

  1. Yolande Jameson

    Kim McMillen was born in 1961. Charlie Chaplin was 70 years old in 1959 and 80 in 1969 when Kim McMillen was 8 years old. If the original was written by her and her sister, then why is this child prodigy not world famous?

    • Pete

      Hi Yolande,

      Thanks for re-igniting consideration of Kim McMillen. It’s hard for me to find information about her. And there seems to be a lot of debate about whether Chaplin’s poem derives from her work.

      I’m going to buy a copy of Kim’s book and try to find more information about her.

      Does anybody know where to find reliable information about Kim McMillen?

  2. Yolande Jameson

    correction – Charlie Chaplin was born in 1889, therefore, in 1961 when Kim McMillen was born he would have been 72 years old.

    • Pete

      I bought Kim Mc Millen’s book “When I Loved Myself Enough” and in the back there’s a beautiful note by her daughter Alison (this note was written in 2001) where she says her mother died in September 1996, at the age of 52, from a sudden and unexpected illness just a few months after writing the book.

      Based on this, Kim McMillen must have been born in about 1944. But then her daughter says she wrote the book in 1996. So there really can’t be any connection with Charlie Chaplin.

      Anyway, I’m glad to have found this lovely little book by Kim McMillen.

  3. Jos

    Can you tell me if the text attributed to Charlie Chaplin is indeed in the book of the McMillen’s?
    That seems to me a key question.

    BTW, thanks for checking this out. Couldn’t find conclusive answer in an internet search on this beautiful text.

    • Pete

      Hi Jos,
      No, the actual text is not in Kim McMillen’s book, but the feel is similar. It’s quite possible that somebody used Kim’s book as inspiration to create the text we see attributed to Chaplin, and the Chaplin speech theory could be a hoax. Wonder if we’ll ever know.

      Kim McMillen’s book is lovely and it’s the real deal.

      This conjecture doesn’t really bother me too much, because Kim’s book is so beautiful and the text attributed to Chaplin is lovely to read as well. Both prompt positive life progress.

      Thanks very much for your comment Jos. Have a good Day.

  4. Olaf Hantl

    [See my reply to this comment below]

    alison mcmillen, August 10, 2010 at 5:23 pm
    Hi –
    My name is Alison McMillen. My mom, Kim McMillen wrote a book called ‘When I Loved Myself Enough”. The text above is very very very very similar to her book, although it looks like much has been modified in translation. I have seen reference to a poem by Charlie Chaplin and have no idea where the link has come from but I feel very certain that the above poem is a translated version of my mom’s work.
    Let me know if you have any questions about her book.
    Alison McMillen


    Chaplin never, never, deliver this birthday speach! (in 1959)

    Brasilian idiots who thougt that’s funny are the creator of this Pseudepigraph.

    Take this pseudepigraph from your site and bring it to an end!

    Thank You!

    Greetings from Germany

    Kim McMillens original poem in Portugese.

    The source for the Charlie Chaplin pseudepigraph (since 2003).

    • Pete

      Thanks for the comment Olaf.

      Just to clarify for everyone else, Olaf has cut-and-pasted a reply that Alison McMillen made to another post back in 2010. As far as I can tell, the cut-and-paste is authentic.

    • isabela

      Please, I’m a brazilian, don’t say that we are idiots…
      But guys, let’s be attentive to her comment and let’s give credit to people who deserves it… She seems the real author of this text.

  5. Rebella Bex

    Thank you very much.
    Today i left a comment on Facebook, about Charlie Chaplins “Selflove” and i wasn’t sure who really wrote the poem and now i’m very happy to know it’s from a woman. For seven years now the poem is beside me and my deepest inspiration, and i send a heart to heaven for Kim McMillen and i just wanna say thank you for lighten me up Olaf Hantl.
    Greetings from Germany at lake Starnberg Bavaria
    Rebella Bex

  6. Olaf

    My dear Rebella,

    thank you, for your kind words. There are sources for my informations I had found. So we’ll give them our thankfulness, too.

    Greetings from Frankfurt at river Main 🙂

    My dear Peter,
    she loves this poem – so what can we other do, as allow it to stand.
    Love is blind 😉

  7. Peter

    This is a comment I received from someone called Lydia;
    “I am just emailing you to let you know that I want to use the poem ‘As I Began To Love Myself’ by Charlie Chaplin. I am a part of a thing at my school known as Contest Speech. One of my events is poetry, and I wanted to do this particular poem. I just wanted to let you know that I would be using it.”

    • Peter

      Thanks for your note. This text really is beautiful isn’t it? I’m glad you’re going to expose it at your school.

      Hope everything goes really well for you.

  8. L

    Perhaps we will really never know who wrote the poem. It does not sound like Chaplin, but I am not a specialist on him. I have seen several of his movies and read about him, but had not seen this poem that is attributed to Chaplin. As to the question of authenticity, yes, it does matter to know who wrote it. It is simply a questions of authenticity, copyright infringement, and fair use of someone else’s intellectual property. Plagiarism, in other words, is a serious offense and punishable by law.
    Now, it could also be that Chaplin did write something similar and Kim was inspired by it and wrote something that sounds like that. As to calling those who have attributed this to Chaplin idiots is a bit harsh – perhaps they do not know where this whole thing started anyway. Perhaps a Chaplin biographer would have the answer?

  9. Peter

    Received this a while ago from Lydia;

    “I am just emailing you to let you know that I want to use the poem “As I Began To Love Myself” by Charlie Chaplin. I am a part of a thing at my school known as Contest Speech. One of my events is poetry, and I wanted to do this particular poem. I just wanted to let you know that I would be using it.”

  10. Jau

    Hey, nice post, but the poem was actually written By Kim McMillen. Charlie Chaplin read it on his 70th birthday.

  11. Emmanuelle

    Chaplin was a genius as a person, actor or written poem n music Smile. I read a poem in Portuguese isn’t the same words as the Kim McMillen poem so all the credits goes to Chaplin!!!

    • Peter

      Hi Emmanuelle. It is a great poem and well worth re-reading and reflecting on from time to time. All the best.

  12. Grace Cameron

    Hi there. Have just seen this. So no one has any contact information for Alison McMillan? That’s a shame – I would love to have her permission to use this piece. It’s beautiful 🙂


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