Does This Make Me Look Fat?
Why neither Kim K, nor you, should care what your sweeties' answers are.
It's not just their seemingly perfect state of "match made in heaven"-hood that's brought Kim Kardashian and Kanye West to become so heavily scrutinized—apparently, Kim puts a lot of stock into what boyfriend Kanye thinks of her.
In August, reality TV viewers watched as Kim tearfully emptied out her entire closet in exchange for a wardrobe approved (and provided by) Kanye. (The aftermath wasn't exactly a win. Though in October, citing a look made up of some Lanvin and Louis Vuitton items, the socialite raved on her blog: "Why do I always dress cooler when my bf is in town!") And there was also that time she was reportedly honored to be his "Perfect Bitch."
Now, in the December issue of Cosmopolitan UK, Kim attributes some of her happy self-image to none other than 'Ye himself: “He’s great at boosting my confidence. He gives me compliments in every way possible."
Surely, that's what most boyfriends—if they know what's good for them—should do, but considering how much say he's had in (and affect he's had on) Kim's appearance already, should a significant other's opinion really matter when it comes to self-confidence?
California-based psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman says no, fearing that relying on such can result in a damaging domino effect.
"If you count on your significant other to determine how confident you should feel, your self-esteem will always be at the whim of how well your relationship is going," said Lieberman. "So, if your significant other doesn't call, or is flirting with other women, or wants to break up, your self-esteem will plummet just when it needs to be at its highest."
Women's relationship expert Aimee Serafini agrees. "Self-confidence is yours. That's why it's called 'self,'" she said. "When Kanye and Kim break up—would that be such a shock?—and he starts saying negative things about her, chances are her confidence will start to plummet. It's far healthier, and more stable, to accept compliments graciously and allow yourself to enjoy them, but if you depend too much on them as to how you define yourself, you will be in for a rollercoaster ride."
But before lovers get a bad rap, they're not the only ones that can affect self-image.
According to Forbes, self-confidence can be influenced by family members, friends, employers, models, media, and one’s perception of his or her ability to fulfill a particular job or role in society—in other words, it's largely built through one's dealings with the world.
"At this time, women are challenged to feel feminine with the new roles they are taking on with work and focusing on their career, economics, delaying marriage and having children, etc.," said Lisa Bahar, a licensed marriage and family therapist. "And I have observed that many women are learning how to create that balance within themselves to feel confident, sexy, desired and attractive, but just like anything else, once you expect it, then there is most likely going to be limited confidence."
Relationship expert Casandra Roache adds, "Those closest to you have a tremendous effect on your self-esteem. If your husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend didn't believe in your dreams, goals, and aspirations, the chances of you accomplishing them would be ten times harder. I always tell my client to assemble a support system for your goals."
Last year, women's magazine Glamour conducted a survey of 300 women, of all shapes and sizes, and found that at 97 percent, almost every participant admitted to having at least one “I hate my body” moment a day.
Though many would argue that Kim's coveted curvy figure is hardly one she'd hate, behavioral scientist Frank Niles suggests it's her "unhealthy level of emotional fusion in her life"—remember that misguided 72-day marriage?—that's problematic. However, he offers an ultimate solution for all, including Kim.
"The challenge in life is balancing 'we' with 'me,'" said Niles. "This refers to the psychological concept of differentiation—to be deeply concerned about other people, but not concerned what others think about you. In a nutshell, this is what it means to live authentically."