Kristen Bell is nothing if not brutally honest: The Frozen star has gotten real about everything from motherhood (鈥淚鈥檓 not a good mom; I鈥檓 not a bad mom. I鈥檓 the mom I am and I try very hard, and when I fail, that鈥檚 OK.鈥) to marriage (鈥淲e were fighting about the first year of our relationship, because it鈥檚 a power struggle.鈥). Now, she鈥檚 taken her bare truth to Cosmopolitan in a must-read essay in which she outlines how her hubby of four years helped her to overcome any insecurities she had about her career with a little tough love.

In the piece, the 37-year-old discusses how she adopted a 鈥渘ice鈥 persona from an early age, saying that it gave her a feeling of strength, which as a physically small person, she felt she needed. 鈥淚 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,鈥 she says. 鈥淚 had a real handle on kindness. I knew it inside and out and could generate it like a beast.鈥

When she met her husband, Dax Shepard, however, he helped her to see that there was also a time to ditch the niceties and be assertive. 鈥淚 had hit a point in my career where I began comparing myself to other actresses. I鈥檇 look around and wonder why I wasn鈥檛 considered for X job or Y role when I felt equally qualified and passionate as those around me,鈥 she confesses. 鈥淚 became increasingly resentful and disappointed when my successes didn鈥檛 line up with others鈥. I had, unknowingly, tied my self-worth to everyone other than myself.鈥

#happy4thofjuly #jammies

A post shared by kristen bell (@kristenanniebell) on

Rather than being 鈥渘ice,鈥 and telling the A Bad Moms Christmas star what she wanted to hear 鈥 which was that she was correct to wallow in her self-pity, and the world was unfair 鈥 Shepard was direct, offering a solution for his then-girlfriend that she鈥檇 never even considered before: Stop lamenting the odds she felt was stacked against her and change her own outlook.

鈥淗e looked me square in the eye and said, 鈥楢re you crazy? This is a self-destructive path. You can only compare your current self to your former self. You鈥檒l get a comparison hangover if you constantly measure your worth against someone else.'鈥

While Bell admits she was initially angry at his lack of 鈥渘iceness,鈥 (鈥淚 was expecting to hear, 鈥楴o! You鈥檙e worth it. You should feel angry,'鈥) she eventually saw the value in him speaking his truth. 鈥淗e 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.鈥

While she doesn鈥檛 discredit general acts of kindness such as altruism by any means, Bell says she鈥檚 now able to speak her truth rather than worry about being polite, whether its in her personal life or throughout her career. 鈥淚t requires courage and vulnerability to choose to be honest with people when they may not want to hear it鈥 but it鈥檚 also worth it.鈥

Hear, hear!

Have you ever been given a clarifying moment of tough love? Tell us about it @BritandCo!

(h/t Cosmopolitan; photos via Alberto E. Rodriguez + Tommaso Boddi/Getty)