The desire for a new you, to correct a defect that has been niggling you so you feel better about yourself and to regain self-confidence is perfectly understandable. It is in fact the aim of plastic and aesthetic surgery, a complex discipline that is strictly regulated in France.
Increasingly popularized, aesthetic surgery seems within everyone’s reach. More accessible, less and less taboo, popularized by celebrities and social media, all this in a society of immediacy, the temptation is huge to forge a personalized body and face instantly.
Yet, if there is one area where you do not want to be too hasty, it is this one! Taking the time to think, asking the right questions, and choosing your surgeon carefully are essential to the process so the result measures up to your expectations, as well as being coherent and realistic.
Self-image and narcissism
Self-image can be defined as the more or less subjective way in which an individual perceives him/herself; an image that is built during childhood, influenced primarily by family and friends. It is the perception we all have of ourselves and our appearance.
And if there is one thing that consumes us these days, it is appearance. Moreover, who can really say that they are totally detached from the image they portray? Are we capable of being totally at peace with our appearance? Are we all a little narcissistic?
The aesthetic aspect is thus undoubtedly an essential component of how we depict ourselves and the relationship we have with ourselves.
Some people suffer more than others with physical changes linked to diseases, disabilities or just getting old. The image they have of themselves is thus altered, which can hamper their well-being and self-confidence in both their personal and professional life.
So, aesthetic procedures seem to be a possible means of restoring a positive self-image. However, it is primordial to examine the deeper motivations and what we expect from this procedure. Plastic surgery is not the answer to everything.
Understand your motivations
It is difficult to totally break away from our image. To a greater or lesser extent, we wish to offer the best appearance possible: clothes, hairstyle, makeup, jewelry, and sport, the effect we have on others is never totally ignored. Furthermore, the extremely image-driven society we live in maintains this phenomenon.
It is clear that there are certain times in life when we are even more sensitive to these messages. Numerous studies have highlighted the negative impact of social media, TV programs, and magazines, where image is everything, on how adolescents perceive their physical appearance, especially girls. In sum, the more we are confronted with highly publicized physiques, the more we feel « less beautiful », « not enough », and that we « don’t fit the standards ». And even if positive body images are now appearing on the same social media, this is still an issue.
We understand better the importance of building a balanced self-image from a very young age: it will protect you against a drop in self-esteem later in life and the temptation of radically controlling your appearance by conforming to societal norms.
Ask yourself the right questions
So, before embarking on an aesthetic surgery project, especially if you feel in a hurry, you need to ask yourself the right questions: why the rush, this angst? Is this flaw really a flaw? Why this compelling need? Am I going through a period of change making me psychologically weaker that could sway the image I have of myself and, therefore, my self-confidence: adolescence, pregnancy, midlife crisis, divorce, breakup, professional change, menopause, illness…?
A decision to be thought through carefully
No request to undergo aesthetic and plastic surgery must be regarded as insignificant. It is a decision that must not be taken lightly, as there are consequences: benefits and risks. This period of reflection is very important.
And that is what the consultation with the surgeon is for: ask questions, outline your motivations, and obtain all the information you need to make a decision in complete transparency.
The surgeon is there to guide, reassure and advise you, even say no or invite you to undergo therapy beforehand. Wanting « to change everything straight away » is a warning sign.
Take care of yourself!
Feeling good about yourself admittedly involves your appearance but also taking care of your overall well-being, for example through a healthier lifestyle at all levels including diet, physical activity, and sleep, but also taking time for yourself, time to listen to yourself, to let go. This very holistic attitude helps us get to know ourselves better, and identify our needs and limits by learning to listen to our body, and our feelings. Anyway, adopting a kind attitude to yourself that fills both body and mind without, however, denigrating the little helping hand aesthetic medicine and surgery can offer.