Husband Calls Kristen Bell Out on “Self-Destructive Path”—& It’s the ‘Uncomfortable’ Talk She Needed

When it comes to celebrity couples, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard take the cake.

It’s not their looks or success that we love them for, but the fact that they’re literally just your average goofballs!

Kristen Bell

It just goes to show, they’re JUST. LIKE. US!

You know, like that time they decided to make a music video in Africa, and it went viral for ALL the right reasons?

Kristen and Dax have always been open about their journey through sobriety, marriage and kids. So it’s no surprise that Kristen got really honest about the biggest lesson she’s learned from her husband that caused her to “question everything I knew.”

In a letter penned to Cosmopolitan this week, the actress explained that despite her short stature, she’s always been aware of her strength—both inside and out.

It was sometime during high school when Kristen realized where that sense of strength came from, which then motivated her to focus all of her energy into staying “strong.”

“It came from being nice to others. Acts of kindness gave me an endorphin boost and made me feel emotionally and physically strong.

After I made this connection, I spent the majority of my days considering and implementing acts of nicety. I made sure to smile at strangers on the street, I donated time to charitable organizations, and I always did my best to make people feel good.

I had a real handle on kindness. I knew it inside and out and could generate it like a beast.”

I mean, who wouldn’t want K-Bell to be their best friend?

After meeting Dax, Kristen’s sense of strength began to diminish, and was taken over by feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt and destructive comparison.

“I’d look around and wonder why I wasn’t considered for X job or Y role when I felt equally qualified and passionate as those around me.”

Kristen Bell

“I became increasingly resentful and disappointed when my success didn’t line up with others’. I had, unknowingly, tied my self-worth to everyone other than myself.”

Though she’s learned a lot from her husband over the years, it was during this time of self-pity when Dax taught Kristen the thing she’s “most grateful” for today.

While most of her friends were supportive of Kristen, comforted her and even validated her feelings, Dax was having none of it.

Rather than telling Kristen she was right, or that she deserved the role, Dax responded with much less sympathy:

“Are you crazy? This is a self-destructive path. You can only compare your current self to your former self. You’ll get a comparison hangover if you constantly measure your worth against someone else.”

Of course, his response to her frustration wasn’t exactly the comforting words she was looking for. But after taking a step back and thinking about what he’d said, Kristen knew he was right.

She knew he wasn’t being mean, but courageously honest.

“Rather than coddling, he was honest. Dax was uncompromising in his refusal to cosign my pity, wallow with me, and tell me I was one hundred percent right… I didn’t need someone to encourage my feelings of victimization. What I needed was someone to remove me from my echo chamber.”

For Kristen, kindness had always fueled her strength. In this circumstance with Dax, it was no different, except this time it wasn’t her own kindness fueling her strength, but his.

“He showed me true kindness by putting himself in an uncomfortable position and telling me what I needed to hear instead of what I wanted to hear.”

She also realized in that moment the difference between being nice, and being kind—something she’d always recognized as the same thing when it was helping her feel strong.

“It was at that moment I realized being nice isn’t synonymous with being kind. Being kind is more than a smile on the street or donating to charitable causes. It’s even more than making people feel good. Not to dismiss any of these acts. They are all wonderful and admirable and imperative to making the world go round.

Kristen Bell

But kindness is different. Kindness is the high dive. It requires courage and vulnerability to choose to be honest with people when they may not want to hear it. Real talk—it’s scary. Like, pee-in-your-pants scary. But it’s also worth it, because when executed correctly, kindness can produce real personal evolution.”

Kristen writes that it was her husband’s KIND response that made her feel stronger than she ever had felt being “nice.”

It’s also the lesson we could all use some schooling in today.

You don’t have to be a celebrity to fall into the comparison trap. Social media is quite the culprit all on its own. May this powerful lesson in kindness and honesty serve as a reminder today that our worth comes from no man (or woman), but simply our ability to grow, develop and strive to be a better person than we once were.

Bri Lamm
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Bri is an outgoing introvert with a heart that beats for adventure. She lives to serve the Lord, experience the world, and eat macaroni and cheese in between capturing life’s greatest moments on one of her favorite cameras.