Time for A Beauty Makeover? Things You Should Consider Before You Proceed

 Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” Kahlil Gibran

There are times in all of our lives when we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see. We may be aging, struggling with teenage acne, unhappy with post-pregnancy weight gain, or hating that bump on the nose, size of thighs, or anything else that makes us feel less than. Flawless models, gorgeous television stars and endless ads for ways to improve our looks bombard us daily. There’s no two ways about it, we live in a world obsessed with perfection and will stop at nothing to achieve it. And, the success of the Aesthetic surgery industry, today, supports this observation.

Aesthetic surgery is a booming industry, especially in the United States. Even in a down economy women regularly initiate cosmetic procedures to improve upon their looks, no matter that the total cost is out-of-pocket. But, it’s not only women who want to enjoy the benefits of looking better and younger. Research shows men too have joined the race to turn back the clock of time. They want skin-tightening, brightening and plumping up procedures almost as much as women do. In 2010, Americans spent 1.6 million dollars on plastic surgery procedures (17% of total expenditures). Men accounted for 8% of these dollars citing career and health concerns as their motivation to medically enhance their looks (CosmeticSurgeryStatistics; Men Seek Plastic Surgery).

The growing interest in looking good may be partly due to a shift in how the public views physical procedures to prettify oneself. We owe this change to the arrival of non-invasive procedures to look younger. Today, you do not have to go under the knife to look better. You can inject chemicals into muscles to stop sagging (Botox), fill lines and wrinkles with hyalonic acid to plump up the skin (Juvederm and Restylane) and increase collagen production, by your own blood, (the Vampire Lift) to turn back time. This has given rise to a whole new industry called cosmetic and medical aesthetics that has made the public much more psychologically comfortable with the idea of enhancing their looks to improve appearance. Nowadays, people equate the naturalness of these types of beautification procedures to eating healthily to live longer and better.

But is it vanity alone that drives people to improve upon their looks ~ to fix, remove, embellish and enhance their face and body features?

Research says there’s more to this story than at first meets the eye. People want to look better to feel good. They mostly want a boost in their confidence and self-esteem. Also, because, today, they are working beyond their retirement years, they want to be able to compete effectively with younger people in the workforce (PsychCentral.com).

There is a reality to their concerns, as better-looking people have long enjoyed an advantage in securing employment, getting higher pay, obtaining loans more easily, and negotiating better terms for these loans, and getting the more educated and better looking spouses. Indeed, culture’s standard for beauty has a profound impact on our lives.

Positive Self-Regard: Inside and Out

Sigmund Freud would agree that the choice to improve one’s looks is about having social advantage. But, there’s more than competition going on here. You need self-love to keep learning and growing, to make good choices, and to cope effectively with life’s problems. Even the healthiest of you can be weakened emotionally by stressful life changes, depression, and aging. Without positive self-regard (Simply Carl Rogers), you will have a hard time accepting positive change and failures and loss that come your way.

People low in positive self-regard have a hard time accepting positive and negative change. Consequently, if they make serious cosmetic changes, before they’ve done enough work on themselves emotionally, they may be unprepared for the psychological changes that ensue. They may falsely believe that such changes will make all of their dreams come true and be disappointed that their problems remain no matter that their bump on the nose, crooked teeth, extra weight, love handles, or sagging jowls are gone. I think you get my point.

Thus, if you are opting for one of these aesthetic or surgical makeover procedures, it’s good to like your life and yourself well enough, before you proceed. Take, for example, fifty-year old Carmen whose husband of 35-years divorced her for a much younger woman. She had to fight tooth-and-nail to get a satisfying divorce agreement, as if dealing with menopause and a thyroid that decided to conk out wasn’t enough for her to handle. By the time the dust had settled, Carmen was exhausted physically and emotionally and her face showed it. Psychotherapy helped her to adjust and to cope with the life change. But, therapy could not take away the wear and tear on her looks. Carmen wanted a change on the outside that matched the positive change happening inside of her.  She chose medical aesthetic procedures to rejuvenate her appearance and to have the courage to get out there socially, again.

Carmen’s a good example of a person who turned to medical aesthetic treatments for the right reasons. She dealt with how she felt on the inside, before she considered procedures to improve her looks. Doing it the other way around may bring you emotional problems that you didn’t expect that makes you depressed and anxious. Of course, you’ll enjoy the new you, but your whole life doesn’t change all at once. And, if you feel bad on the inside, you may feel uncomfortable with more social attention. Or, you aren’t prepared emotionally to cope with the vast physical and emotional side effects of the more serious surgical procedures. Take, for example, Mob Wife Renee Graziano who chose a head-to-toe plastic surgery makeover. She learned the hard way that surgical procedures can bring on anxiety, depression, and psychological changes for which she wasn’t prepared.

Also, you have to remember that who you are today may not be who you are tomorrow. Take, for example, Bravo’s Real Housewife of Orange County’s Tamra Barney who decided to have her breast implants removed. The size of her breasts did not reflect who she is on the inside, today. Too, you can make many mistakes altering your looks on whim and fancy. Take, for example, Actress Lisa Rinna who had to have her lips surgically reduced to correct for having them enlarged surgically.

We are not static psychologically and spiritually. Thus, you have to consider that someday you may not want the change you are about to make today.

Thus, if you have been thinking about getting Botox, wrinkle fillers, like Juvederm, or actually having plastic surgery to change your looks, please consider the following, before you proceed.

1. Is your desire fantasy or reality based? Sometimes, we get into a fantasy of who we would love to look like. This is understandable. Some of the greatest advancements of mankind have come because we can imagine more than we are today. Nonetheless, when it comes to changing your face and body, you have to engage in realistic thinking to get good results. Take for example, Nadia Suleiman, the Octomom. No matter how much she enlarges her lips, she will never look like Angelina Jolie and to try to only makes her look ridiculous. It’s not who you want to look like that you should be considering. It is what are the changes that can help you to feel good about yourself.

Above all else, be realistic. If you are 55, you can never become 25 again. Thus, if you want to turn back time 20+ years, there is something wrong emotionally. You don’t want to look like the infamous Cat Lady, Jocelyn Wildenstein, right? She most likely had a mental illness called Body Dysmorphic Disorder; “a type of mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don’t want to be seen by anyone.”

If you are thinking about your appearance and body flaws for hours on end, you may have symptoms of BDD and need to see a psychologist or psychiatrist before you make any changes to your looks. Your fear that you are imperfect, ugly and even deformed stems from deep-seated lovability and acceptance fears showing up in a need for perfection, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and clinical anxiety and depression. Medical aestheticians and plastic surgeons know this syndrome too well, as their BDD patients are rarely satisfied with the results of cosmetic and surgical procedures to “fix” their flaws.

Nothing can make you beautiful, when you feel ugly on the inside.

Thus, adjust your desires to who you are today in psychological characteristics, physical features, age, and lifestyle. No amount of physical change can turn self-hatred around. First, get some psychotherapy, like Carmen did. More perfect, thinner, richer, bigger or tighter is not always better. Doing more does not make you more handsome or pretty. In fact, doing too much can turn good to bad.

2. Consider how you might change emotionally in the future? There are some changes to your looks that are more difficult to turn around, as Tamra Barney and Lisa Rinna know too well. Hopefully, you are learning, growing and changing as time moves along. Think twice before you make dramatic changes to your looks that may not express who you are emotionally and spiritually over time.

3. Know what you want to achieve; set a cosmetic goal; and do no more. You buy a home based on the neighborhood, quality of schools, and access to resources, right? So why don’t you put the same due diligence into considerations to alter your face or body? You’ll get more realistic, if you take the time to think through exactly why you are considering this change and what is needed to bring it about. Be a good scientist; be specific in your goal so that you can measure the outcome. You’ll be happy that you did.

There’s nothing wrong with enhancing your looks or turning back time a little so that you can compete effectively in life. Many people think if you feel good about yourself, you won’t desire aesthetic changes to your face and body. This really isn’t the case. Many patients, like Carmen improve their looks mainly to have their outside support the positive changes taking place inside of them. Thus, if you are considering making an aesthetic change to your looks, just make sure that your self-esteem is healthy enough to support the change.

I hope you liked my post today. If so, please let me know by selecting the Like icon that immediately follows. You can also Tweet or Google+1 this article to let your friends know about it. Warmly Deborah.


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4 Responses to “Time for A Beauty Makeover? Things You Should Consider Before You Proceed”

  1. avatar Jodi Suson says:

    Well done Debbie!

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hi Jodi, so nice of you to comment. I’m glad you liked today’s post. I hope all is well. Love Debbie!

  2. avatar nosh says:

    Plz tell me how it work n how to consult
    Want this treatment
    Wherez ur center

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Nosh, I’m not a beauty makeover center. I”m a Clinical Psychologist. You’d have to look where you live. But, remember, to take a look at the considerations I mention in the post. Be Well. Warmly Deborah.


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