There’s nothing like dating a man who treats you like the sun shines out of your behind, until, of course, you break up.
I thought about this today when I heard about Kim Kardashian’s comments in the December issue of Cosmopolitan U.K. The magazine dubbed the Kardashian sisters “the Ultimate Confidence Queens” and put the three of them on the cover.
Inside, Kim says “I want to teach my future daughters — and Penelope [Kourtney's daughter] — that confidence is everything. I don’t mean cockiness, just being sure of yourself.”
Ironically, Kim goes on to say she gets her confidence from her superstar boyfriend Kanye West. “He’s great at boosting my confidence,” the reality TV star admitted. “He gives me compliments in every way possible.”
If you watched her show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” then you remember that her soon-to-be-ex husband Kris Humphries was a little less forthcoming with the compliments. Nearly every episode he dropped zingers like: “By the time you have kids, no one will probably care about you. Let’s be honest.” And pointing to her on the cover of Cosmo with a “30 Sex Moves” headline beneath her face he quipped, “30 sex moves? I’ve seen one.”
Anyone who has dated a jerk can definitely appreciate a guy who is quick with a compliment. However, as great as it is to hear your man shower you with praise on a regular basis, relying on him to build or maintain your confidence is dangerous.
I found myself in that sort of situation once and didn’t even realize it. My boyfriend was constantly telling me how beautiful and smart and awesome that I was. We had our share of problems, but he definitely waxed poetic about my great qualities on a regular basis. As a result, it wasn’t until we broke up that I realized how much I had begun to rely on him and his compliments to build me up when I was feeling down. We were in a long-distance relationship that was wearing on us, so we mutually decided to split.
In a moment of weakness a few weeks later, I attempted to reconcile the relationship. He wasn’t interested and I was devastated. I couldn’t understand why this man who had always told me how spectacular I was could possibly not still want to marry me. It made me feel anything but spectacular and because he was the one I turned to when I was feeling down, I had no one to make me feel better. The worst was when, a few months later, he told me he was in love with someone else. His exact words were “compared to the way I feel about her now, I realize I felt absolutely nothing for you back then”.
And that’s the danger in allowing someone’s good opinion of you to become essential for your confidence. Should their compliments turn into criticisms, their bad opinion becomes instrumental in your downfall.
I was so messed up after the end of that relationship, I didn’t know what to do. I found myself allowing certain men into my life — that I didn’t even really like — simply because they were full of compliments for me. I’d gotten used to the compliments fueling my confidence that when they stopped coming in, I felt empty and was constantly looking for my next source. Turning to someone for encouragement isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I was fully in the habit of turning to others instead of ever encouraging myself.
It’s called self-confidence and self-esteem for a reason: you have to have it for yourself. After a while, I got my personal confidence back and it had nothing to do with how great some random guy thought I was. When that happened, I was able to make better choices when it came to men because I wasn’t looking for my next compliment. Who cares if a guy thinks I’m pretty? There are plenty of women whom most would consider pretty yet they’re as loveless as loveless can be. Being pretty or smart or a great cook, or possessing a fantastic fashion sense is wonderful, but it means little if you constantly need others’ validation in order to recognize the positives about yourself.
Being with a guy who is rude and insulting in either words or actions shouldn’t even be an option but, at the same time, it’s important to take care that your significant other’s compliments only complement your good opinion of yourself and aren’t essential to your well-being. That way, in the unfortunate instance that he does walk out the door, he doesn’t take your confidence with him.
Or, in Kim Kardashian’s case, it ensures that he won’t have you trusting his compliments so much that you end up walking around looking like an epic fashion failure listening to him tell you that you look great when you know you don’t. But that’s another (sad) story.
What do you think? Have you ever found yourself relying on your significant other’s compliments to build your confidence?