Will plastic surgery really improve your self esteem? If you buy into most of the plastic surgery marketing out there, it’s hard not to believe that. But the truth goes a bit further–and is a bit more complicated–than the marketing implies. Plastic surgery might improve your self esteem, but only if you actually want plastic surgery in the first place.
Can Plastic Surgery Actually Improve Your Self Esteem?
The notion that plastic surgery will improve your self esteem is embedded–subtly or boldly–in nearly all their associated marketing. It’s hard not to see plastic surgery as some kind of magical solution that, when implemented, will make you feel more secure in your own body. It’s hard to blame patients who go into the process expecting that kind of emotional transformation.
But the truth is that plastic surgery has a much more complicated relationship with self esteem. Generally speaking, if you want to raise your self esteem, putting in the mental work is the best place to start, not necessarily plastic surgery.
For some individuals, however, plastic and cosmetic surgery will represent a significant tool in the toolbox. But the ways that your physical body and your self esteem interact can be complicated. So the general rule of thumb (and this is going to sound obvious, but it still needs to be stated) is that you should only undergo plastic or cosmetic surgery if you want to undergo plastic or cosmetic surgery. You should definitely talk that notion over with a highly qualified health professional (the advice of which we are not intending to replace–we’re entertainment writers!) and get professional medical advice as it pertains to your body.
Why Do We Think Plastic Surgery Boosts Self Esteem?
The origin of the notion that plastic surgery boosts self esteem will likely be difficult to pinpoint. To some degree, it’s been at the heart of plastic surgery since this particular field of medicine began (as a reconstructive option). However, as elective plastic surgery procedures became popular, the emotional and physical transformation became the focus.
That is, many patients appreciate the physical transformation, but the emotions of the individual are really what drive these decisions. And that’s what can end up improving one’s self esteem due to surgery.
Or, let’s think about it another way. For most plastic surgery patients, a total body transformation is not the end goal. Instead, there’s just one thing–a nose, a wrinkle, some excess skin–that’s keeping them from being almost entirely happy with the way they look. So when these patients are able to alter this single thing, they feel significantly better about the way they look. The thing that was dragging them down is removed, and this, then, makes it easier for those patients to experience higher self esteem.
Are There Dangers in This Thinking?
The notion that plastic surgery can cure your confidence ills all by itself can quickly go astray. In other words, yes, there are some dangers in this line of thinking. Plastic and cosmetic surgery, for example, have been linked to symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder.
There’s also the matter of just how difficult it can be to differentiate your own desires from pressure from outside sources. A patient should almost never undergo plastic surgery to please someone else. For example, if your best friend thinks you would look better with a straighter nose, but you’re happy with the way your nose looks, you aren’t a good candidate for surgery.
That’s why most plastic surgeons have a pretty intensive screening process. Most will take a significant amount of time to get to know a patient and assess (to some degree) their motivations. This isn’t an exact science, of course, but it can help in many cases.
Confidence and Plastic Surgery
But you should feel more confident after plastic or cosmetic surgery, right? I mean, that’s the whole point of doing it. In most cases, if you want to undergo a procedure and your results are what you’re expecting, then it’s very likely your self-confidence will improve. For most people, that’s because their body image and their actual image will align more completely.
In other words, you’ll look more like the way you feel you should look. You’ll look more like the way you picture yourself in your head. For many patients, that can make a significant improvement in the way you feel about yourself–and that can have a drastic and positive impact on your overall self-confidence and self esteem.
But gaining confidence is not the only reason to undergo elective plastic surgery (and plastic surgery is not the only way to gain confidence). So there are various other factors that surgeons and patients usually try to balance as they discuss moving forward with any plastic surgery procedure. Will plastic surgery really improve your self-esteem? It’s possible… but it’s a complicated story.