Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard’s marriage is the definition of #RelationshipGoals.
Despite their celebrity status, the two have been entirely open about their marital journey, and thankfully for fans, it’s been a fun one.
There was the time Dax surprised Kristen with her favorite animal: a sloth. The video, which she shared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” was nothing short of hysterical:
Then there was the time they decided to make a music video during a vacation to Africa:
And who could forget their timeless wedding photo in which Dax is seen cracking up at his sentimental bride:
Aside from their ever-entertaining humor, the two seem to be unwavering in their support of each other. Of course, they help promote each other’s projects, but recently, Kristen opened up about the one lesson she learned from Dax that she said “caused me to question everything I knew.”
In an essay penned for Cosmopolitan, Kristen talked about strength, writing that despite her “5′2,” shrimpy, less-than-ideal-muscle-mass stature,” she’s “always felt strong”:
“Very strong. Like, strong enough to medal in the Olympic heavyweight competition. Okay, maybe not gold, but I’m definitely on the awards stand.”
She wrote that it wasn’t until high school that she realized where her sense of strength came from, and from that moment on she dedicated most of her energy to 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.”
Then she met Dax.
She wrote that although she’s “learned so much” from him, she’s “most grateful” for what he taught her in the very beginning of their relationship.
Kristen detailed how she soon began feeling inadequate when other actresses would land a role she felt she was just as good for the part:
“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.”
The constant comparison was really beginning to take its toll on her:
“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.”
Thankfully, she had friends who made her feel a little better:
“Most of my friends validated my feelings, and I loved them for it! I was happy to hear, ‘You’re right! You should be getting those roles. You deserve it.'”
But when she turned to Dax for the same kind of sympathy, he didn’t give it to her. Instead, he responded:
“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.”
Kristen wrote that, at first, she wasn’t happy with his failure to comfort her, but then she realized how much courage it took for him to be honest with her:
“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.”
And that was the lesson — to be strong enough, to be kind enough, to be honest:
“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 continued, explaining the difference between nice and kind:
“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.
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 wrote that Dax’s lesson on the meaning of kindness and “the power it holds” enabled her to feel stronger than she ever did after being nice.
Although her essay was not only a powerful message in and of itself, it also gave fans the chance to see a softer side of Kristen and Dax’s marriage — something that, aside from cuteness, serves as a yet another powerful message.