Charlie Chaplin Self Love Poem and the Subtle Art of Myth Busting

Charlie Chaplin Self Love Poem

There are rafts of articles and posts online about Charlie Chaplin being the author of the poem, When I loved Myself Enough (also titled ‘As I began to love myself’). This ‘Charlie Chaplin Self Love Poem‘ has become a point of reference for anything to do with self-love; except that the version that is most often circulated is not the original version, and Charlie Chaplin is not the one who wrote it.

Charlie Chaplin Self Love Poem

In 2017, when I was researching my book, I wrote to Charlie Chaplin’s Office in order to request permission to reproduce the Charlie Chaplin Self Love poem. Chaplin’s Office Manager kindly responded as follows:

‘Dear Joanne,

There is a text circulating in many different languages called ‘When I loved myself enough’ supposedly written by Charlie Chaplin. The Chaplin office receives many enquiries about this text every year requesting permission to publish them. This text was NOT WRITTEN BY Charlie Chaplin. ‘When I love myself enough’ comes from a book called ‘When I Love Myself Enough’ by Kim and Alison McMillen.

Kind Regards’

Surprised, I looked into this a little deeper.

Original Authors of ‘When I Loved Myself Enough’

Kim McMillen wrote the book and the poem ‘When I Loved Myself Enough’ in 1996, shortly before she died aged only 52. Her daughter, Allison McMillen, described the book as ‘everything she believed in, and everything she brought me up to believe in. it is her autobiography, her declaration, her soul.’ Allison continued writing the book and first published it in 2001 she handed out copies to friends and word of mouth turned this into an underground bestseller in the USA.

“When I loved Myself Enough” by Kim and Alison McMillen

The book was translated into numerous languages and the most shared version seems to be an English translation of a Portuguese translation. It is unclear who arranged these stanzas into their current form.

The reason I was interested in this poem is because I included it my book. The poem is a masterpiece, I was also interested because of the personal and literary relationship between Kim and Allison McMillen and my own daughter and I. Below, I have included some extracts of the original and translated versions of the poems below:

Original Version

When I loved myself enough, I quit settling for too little.
When I loved myself enough, I came to know my own goodness.
When I loved myself enough, I began taking the gift of life seriously and gratefully.
When I loved myself enough, I began to know I was in the right place at the right time and I could relax.
When I loved myself enough, I felt compelled to slow down way down. And that has made all the difference.

Translated Version

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 as Authenticity.”

It also comes from respecting yourself: “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.”

From love of oneself: “As I began to love myself, I freed myself of anything that was not good. For my health – food, people, things, situations. And everything that drew me down away from myself. At first, I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it as Love for Oneself.

How do Myths Form?

How do myths form? How did ‘When I loved myself enough’ become the Charlie Chaplin Self Love Poem?

A myth is defined as a popular belief that has grown-up around something or someone. We encounter those myths, popular beliefs or misleading claims and statements every day in the form of constant and repeated advertisements, political propaganda from all sides and petty rumors from people all around us. Some of those popular beliefs are benign and do not have a huge impact on us but others may be more impactful.

The Illusory Truth Effect. Fact or Fake?

In psychology, the scientific term for this is the ‘illusory Truth effect’ also known as the ‘reiteration effect’, it is the tendency to believe information to be correct (even if it is not) after repeated exposure to that same information. Repeated affirmation fixes itself in the mind in such a way that it is accepted in the end as a demonstrated truth. Many studies have been conducted on this, and the conclusion is that familiarity overcome rationality, the truth does not matter. Repetition does! Adolf Hitler knew about the technique. ‘Slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea,’ he wrote in Mein Kampf.

For Charlie Chaplin, it’s not entirely clear when his name was first attached to the text, but it appears to have been sometime around 2007, about 30 years after the actor’s death. There are now nearly 2 million search results if you type ‘Charlie Chaplin love poem’ into Google, there’s repetition for you!

Other myths may include:


As with any cognitive bias, the best way not to fall prey is to know it exists. Once we know how myths propagate, we can guard against them – myth buster style! Part of the checking is asking ourselves why we believe what we do – if something sounds plausible is it because it really is true, or have we just been told that repeatedly?

But if there is a myth I’d like you to start, it’s ‘this is the best blog you’ve ever read!’ Repeat, share, repeat, share…

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to guard yourself against illusion and not to repeat falsehoods!

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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on

Why Things Are Not Always What They Seem

“Why things are not always what they seem; first appearance deceive many, the intelligence of a few perceive what has been carefully hidden
Phaedrus, c. 444 – 393 BC

The mind is strange in the way that it picks and chooses what it wants to see. The way people let their emotions, conditions, and state of mind guide their perspective ultimately decides who they are as a person “
Maya Reed, 2002 – present

Phaedrus, whose name translates to ‘bright‘ or ‘radiant‘ was an ancient Athenian aristocrat who enjoyed the company of philosophers. Remembered as an especially attractive young man, details in Plato’s writing point to Phaedrus’ interests in mythology, science, and the nature of ‘reality;’ do we see things how they are or only how they seem to us? Is seeing believing? Can we trust our senses? How do we know how something really is?

Mother and Daughter Double Act

Last year, my eldest daughter, Maya, asked herself these questions in a paper she wrote for her AP Seminar (Advanced Placement) class. I published her essay in my book because Maya captured in a very eloquent and poetic manner the notion that ‘Why things are not always what they seem’ better than I could have myself.

The view from my window – by Maya Reed.

No matter a person’s race, gender, status, or health, everyone has a window that acts as their unique glimpse into the world. However, this window varies greatly from person to person, and any aspect about someone can determine what he or she sees out of it. The view from these windows are in a constant state of change and can be altered by something as substantial as how we are raised or our lifestyle, to something as trivial as how we are feeling on a particular day. When looking out of this figurative window, things such as the time of day can reflect a specific state of mind.

In times of happiness, the beauty of the world hits me like a truck. This is when I look out my window and see a bright sunrise marking the dawn of a new day. As the sun makes it steady ascent, it brings the excitement of new possibilities with it. Light bursts forth from the horizon in an onslaught of colors, forcing the darkness into a hasty retreat. In these moments, everything is picture perfect and it only magnifies with the growing light – the world radiates alacrity.

The sky is painted in stunning streaks of red, pink, purple, and blue, and the birds sing their delight to the heavens. With sunlight already streaming through the window, my eyes turn to a world blanketed in tranquility. Leaves dances in the wind, taking my mind with them. People amble down the street, content clear on their faces. I see a couple as they walk by my window. They stroll hand in hand, simply appreciating each other’s touch. Birds soar through the sky with effortless grace, trees sway gently in the wind, and everything is infinitely beautiful.

I can see all the wonder the world has to offer. Somewhere, in the distance, a newborn takes its first breath. Elsewhere, jobs are being offered, vows are taken, homes are found, love is declared, sickness is overcome, and countless more bring a smile to my face. It is as if the sun’s rays illuminate anything and everything worthwhile and lifts them up on a shining pedestal. In this merry state of mind, negativity is easily overpowered, but the light that ensures this sanctuary is not constant.

Light brings wonder to people’s lives, but it is not possible for light to exist without the darkness. I once again find myself taking a moment to properly look out my window. However, after a long and strenuous day, the sunset is upon me, and as I watch, the sun is slowly but surely beat back under the horizon. My eyes scan what’s below me and a vague familiarity resides beneath the layers of dense darkness, but my optimism died with the sun.

The light is gone, and with it, the happiness it brought. Now, all the wrongs the light refused to expose become painfully clear. In my mind’s somber restlessness, the shadows jump out with murderous intent, and the darkness is suffocating. The same couple walks past my window, but this time I notice the strange tightness in which he grips her hand, and her refusal to look him in the eye. The amblers’ steps are reduced to depressed plodding, and even the breeze seems to whisper threats. It soon becomes achingly clear that the songbirds fled long ago, and the silence they leave behind is defeating .

The glass is the only thing that separates me from the world where evil lurks around every corner, but the darkness threatens to break the seal. In an instant the darkness thickens, and every shadowed window hides a depressed, overworked child. It is far too easy to notice that every second, a driver’s mistake becomes a death sentence, tears run like rivers, blood taints the soil, someone takes the fatal jump, maledictions are hurled at one another, lives are shattered, and the savage reality of this world cracks down like a whip. In the same way the light blinded me to anything I didn’t’ want to see, the darkness is enough to suppress everything worth seeing.

The mind is strange in the way that it picks and chooses what it wants to see in the world. Some days it will go through the terrifying, disheartening, and even confusing process of freezing to gawk at the shadows. Other days it will inexplicably decide to turn its back to what lies in the darkness and instead ogle at the brilliance of the sun. In fact, the true nature of the world is rarely seen. Constantly fluctuating emotions act as lenses for our window. They can taint, brighten, dull, enhance, blind, illuminate and change the view of different surroundings. The way people let their emotions, conditions, and state of mind guide their perspective ultimately decides who they are as a person.”


Phaedrus’ quote and Maya’s essay both make interesting and similar observations. Perception creates our experience of the world but every person perceives the world and approaches life problems differently. Perception is important, and largely in our control, I hope that you will question yours!

Joanne Reed – Author of ‘This Is Your Quest”

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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on

Don’t Worry Be Happy – The Benefits of Music

‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ is a popular song by Bobby McFerrin; its lyrics go like this:

Here is a little song I wrote.
You might want to sing it note for note.
Don’t worry, be happy.
In every life we have some trouble.
But when you worry you make it double.
Don’t worry, be happy.
‘Cause when you worry your face will frown.
And that will bring everybody down.
So, don’t worry be happy.”

Not Worrying, Being Happy

Music can make you happy and worry less! Listening to music causes the brain to release dopamine, a feel-good chemical. Essentially, people love music for much the same reason they’re drawn to sex, drugs, gambling, and delicious food. Music can change your mood, can help you communicate, is creative, but it doesn’t exactly have a point. Music is a highly developed art form, but one that remains essentially playful, we don’t say that we ‘work the piano’, we say we play the piano, the trumpet, the guitar and so on. Music is also not about finishing, if it were then the best musicians would be the ones who could play the fastest, no, the point of music is the music itself and the journey that it takes you on.

There is a branch of philosophy, ‘Philosophy of Music,’ that asks fundamental questions about the nature of music and our experience of it. Susan Langer, an American philosopher, and writer (one of the first women in American history to achieve an academic career in philosophy) described, “Music, through its temporal form, mirrors and reveals the inner nature of emotions, their shape, rhythm, and tempo. Music thus provides a uniquely faithful, as well as particularly lucid image of the inner life.”

As well as listening to music, learning to play music builds skills that can make a difference in both your professional and social life. Music trains your patience and discipline, it requires commitment and perseverance, but it also builds your confidence – particularly if you ever perform on stage, or even just in front of your family. Playing music can lower your blood pressure, increase your immune response, and heck, it can even make you smarter!

My youngest daughter Alizé is our family musician, she sings, plays the piano, the trumpet, and the ukulele. She’s not a professional, maybe one day, but I have really enjoyed seeing how music has helped her develop, express herself, and most important of all – to have fun. Alizé is singing ‘Butterfly’ by Little Mix in the video below.

My youngest daughter, Alizé singing ‘Butterfly’ by Little Mix

LIFE IS MUSICAL IN NATURE. The whole point of life is to live and enjoy, so do it while the music plays.  Take your time, appreciate each and every moment, try not to worry because when you do, it makes ‘your face will frown, and that will bring everybody down.’

Your Quest, my dear friend, is ‘Don’t worry, be happy’.

If you liked this post please check out my other posts or my Author Page at

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If you liked this post please check out my other posts or my Author Page at


Being in a State of Flow. The Key to Happiness?

A ‘best moment’ describes an optimal state of consciousness where we feel and perform at our best. If you have experienced such moments, you will be in a ‘state of flow’ otherwise known as ‘being in the zone.’ Studies show that we are more creative, productive and happy when we are in a state of flow. Is being in a state of flow the key to happiness?

The best moments in our lives are not the passive, relaxing and leisurely time spent at the beach, by the pool, at home or somewhere else; the best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult or worthwhile.

Experiencing a state of flow is universal and can occur across all classes, genders, ages, and cultures and across many types of activities.  Authors need to cultivate a state of flow in order to be able to write. Being creative is an essential part of writing; authors find their sense of creativity in various ways. Personally, I am at my most creative when I allow myself to ‘stay loose’, to ramble, to drift, to be receptive to what’s happening around me, to keep an open mind to outside influences, other people’s writing and ways of thinking, but also things like music and dancing.

The poet Joseph Brodsky reported listening to music to enhance his poetic prowess. Albert Einstein is another famous example who thought up his greatest physics breakthroughs during his violin breaks (as many of Einstein’s biographers have pointed out, the music of Bach and Mozart has much the same clarity, simplicity, and architectural perfection that Einstein always sought in his own theories).

Being able to ‘let go’ or ‘stay loose’ is not easy. In fact, it can be pretty uncomfortable and unsettling if the ‘drifting’ lasts too long. Fuzzy circumstances and daily uncertainty exhaust us; sometimes it seems easier to take options that are clear cut, that are black or white. Creative people seem to have a higher level of tolerance for ambiguous circumstances and are more accepting of unstructured time because they are driven by curiosity and want to see where unpredictable currents will take them. The world belongs to those who are curious, those who are not afraid to try, to explore, to poke, to question, and to turn things inside out.

The art of dancing and literature seem to have nothing in common; what can an author, whose job it is to ‘play around’ with words, learn from the art that requires none? Storytelling! In dance, people tell stories or share emotions by moving their bodies; in literature, people tell stories by writing down words. Writers are dancers at heart, both need vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated into action. Writers and dancers need to find their own, individual attitude, rhythm and style; the expression of dance and writing are both unique and, if blocked, will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.

There is an undeniable connection between creativity, productivity and being happy. Being in a state of flow allows you to achieve all three. Be receptive, keep those creative channels open, put on your best soundtrack and dance like nobody is watching, because nobody is watching!

Your Quest, my friend, is to feel the music,
move that body, and then write about it!

If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, or you may also like:

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on