I’m about to share with you a poem which has been attributed to being written by Charlie Chaplin on his 70th birthday (April 16, 1959). It is extremely profound and left a lasting impression on me and would be yet another testament to the man who said so little yet was able to say so much.
If you have not heard Charlie Chaplin’s incredibly inspiring and famous speech from his movie “The Great Dictator” then I would highly recommend you check it out. I actually created a video for it a few years back which you can view here.
Before sharing this poem I must say that I did a bit of digging and there does seem to be some controversy surrounding whether or not Charlie Chaplin actually wrote this poem, some people say that it was actually a translation of a text from the book “When I Loved Myself Enough” by Kim & Alison McMillen, which has somehow been wrongly attributed to Charlie. But even then the poem in its current form is not found in this book. So in the end the exact origins of the poem remains a mystery.
Whether or not it was actually written by Charlie Chaplin remains unknown it has neither been proven nor disproven. But in the end it should not matter who wrote it, what is important is the message that it is conveying, the original author whether they be well known or largely unknown should not influence the poignancy or relevancy of this deeply profound poem. In a society that seems to be overwhelming self-obsessed and egotistically driven it may seem vain to share a poem on self-love.
But it is important to note that this poem is not speaking of self-love in the superficial sense of the ‘selfie’ mentality, but rather in a much deeper sense, of truly loving and being in touch with one’s own being.
So without further ado I present you the poem in its complete form. Enjoy.
As I Began To Love Myself – Charlie Chaplin
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”!
And there you have it! If this poem touched you as much as it did me please take the time to help share it with others. Regardless of its author this poem deserves to be known.