To Change or Not To Change…

To anyone who has erased the idea of cosmetic surgery out of their mind completely:

Do not be so hasty. Of course, I am not saying every person needs cosmetic surgery, let us just get that out of the way right now. I believe that if someone considers themselves beautiful, then that makes them happy and that is all that matters. It is a fulfilling feeling to be so at peace with one’s inner as well as outer beauty. But not everyone is at peace, and that is were cosmetic surgery can be seen as a tool in aiding such emotions.

“No one is perfect.” It is a common saying that we, human beings, tend to latch on to with every thread of our being in order to keep ourselves in line and our self-esteem in check. No matter how perfect or imperfect we think we are, there will always another person that we see as better or worse than ourselves, and we will always continue to pick ourselves apart, along with other people. 

Us girls grow up dealing with this, skimming through the pages of Seventeen Magazine and Teen Vogue, wondering why the girls in these magazines are chosen as the poster image for us to look up to, and analyzing each difference between their faces and bodies compared to our own. And it also does not help that an example icon that younger girls look up to these days is someone like Kim Kardashian, who has a body and facial features that almost defy the laws of physics with near impossible perfection.

And because of the mere fact that we are of the female gender and incredibly hormonal, we tend to really struggle with trying to find a place to fit in to this “perfect” image in order to simply just feel acceptable to ourselves. This feeling of self acceptance (that peaceful feeling I mentioned earlier), my friends, is what we call self-esteem. The more accepted we feel by ourselves, the more we think others will accept us, which is a vitally crucial concept when we deal with human to human interaction.

SO WHAT EXACTLY IS SELF-ESTEEM?

Self Esteem:

Confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.

or in Psychology, self-esteem is also known as Self-Efficacy, which stands for a person’s belief in their own competence. Same diff.

Self-esteem is a concept that we, human beings of the planet earth, are all familiar with; it is a natural part of the human life style. No matter which country someone is from, or which international culture this person most closely identifies with, self-esteem will always play a key role in the way someone will carry themself or interact with other human beings in their everyday lives.

WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF SELF-ESTEEM?

There are multiple sources that are utilized in achieving greater amounts of self-esteem, and here are just a few of them, thanks to Brainmac:

1. High levels of skill performance: this is single-handedly the strongest contributor to sport confidence. When you  are able to perform any skill successfully, your confidence levels will raise higher and higher, and therefore possibly push you to attempt a task that is even harder than the one previously attempted. The increase in task difficulty, and the consistent completion of each task will catapult the self-esteem levels of the individual performing the task, for they feel as though they are able to do tasks that others only admire.

2. Being involved with the success of others can also aid one’s confidence, especially if it is believed that the performer he or she is working alongside has qualities that he or she feels as though they can identify with. This generally provokes the thought of “well if this person can do it, so can I.”

3. Verbal persuasion. In general, having the power to inspire people to change or work harder by simply speaking to them boosts self-confidence, for then the inspirer feels a whole new sense of power and persuasiveness.

And lastly, the one that I think is probably the most crucial

4. Human to human contact. humans need copious amounts of interaction with other human beings in order to survive and thrive in this world. According to an article on PubMed, the ones that succeed the most in society– any form of society, past or present– are the ones that have higher levels of self-esteem, and the source of self-esteem comes from the amount of interactions these people have with others. Therefore, the higher the amount of interactions had is directly proportional to the amount of self-esteem this person obtains (so scientific, right?).

SO…

So what makes it so that every human has different levels of human contact? Why do some people get more attention and more interaction time with more humans compared to others? This specific article that I am writing is not going to go much deeper into the intricacies of self-esteem. In fact, it is going to wade its way into the shallowest point of the self-esteem pool: beauty. And not the inner, everyone is beautiful in their own way Dove kind of beauty, this is purely the skin deep kind.

Again, not to say that I am a shallow person; I hold personality and good values high up on my mental pedestal as qualifications for the people who I let into my life, but we all need to face it, humans are shallow creatures. First impressions are almost entirely based on physical appearance, and when a person has appealing features, they instantly look more approachable, enabling this person to gain more human to human interactions.

Now, knowing how shallow the world truly is, I want you to ask yourself this question really quick, and be honest: When you look into the mirror, what do you wish was different about yourself?

If you answered “nothing” then you’re either legitimately at peace with your appearance, for which you get a big pat on the back because that is incredibly, incredibly rare. OR you may just be attempting to comfort yourself to keep your self-esteem high, which, hey, I fully support, kudos to you!

But if you answered with any of the thousand body parts that can be loathed by the owner of a human body, then you are among a fair portion of the world’s population. Almost everyone wishes at one point or another that they were able to change an unpleasant feature of their body, and that is what cosmetic surgery does.

I do not mean just the standard boob job or liposuction; cosmetic surgery is an incredibly general category. It entails things such as Botox, breast reduction ( because having very large breasts is something that women can actually become incredibly self-conscious about, contrary to some popular beliefs), and  even Otoplasty (pinning back of the ears). There are numerous things one could get cosmetic surgery for, and just real quick for funsies, here is a chart that shows the Top 5 procedures done on men and women in 2010.

But I am here to really talk about is the fact that getting any form of cosmetic surgery is OKAY. It should not be something that is looked down upon by others, because these procedures are being done simply because a person felt unsatisfactory, and therefore set out to change this aspect of themselves. In a book written by Kathy Davis called “Reshaping the Female Body“, there are many cases discussed, but one particular case that is a perfect example of why i support cosmetic surgery: A woman named Julie recalls having year–YEARS– of suffering due to her neck and face being covered in dark moles that she absolutely loathed. She talks about how even as a young child she would look in the mirror and just wish that she had any other face than hers due to the dark moles. No person should walk around day by day just wishing that they did not look the way the did, it does so much damage to the self-esteem.

A man named Charlie Bradley even did a self-study on how physical appearance effects self-esteem. What Charlie did was incredibly easy: He looked at himself in the mirror one day and he states that “[his] skin actually crawled” because he thought he looked “dumpy.” He did not quite go to the extent of going under the knife and having cosmetic procedures done on him, but he simply took care of himself more when it came to getting ready for the day. He started using better face products to have healthier skin, and put more thought into they way he dressed and such, and he instantly started feeling better about himself.

Clarification number three– I am not saying that one needs to clean themselves up and dress nicer in order to be more accepted and have higher self-esteem. Nope! All I’m saying is that if you do not like something about yourself, then change it! What’s stopping you? If this thing is holding you back from other things that you wish to achieve, i.e. feeling good about yourself, then why let it stand in your way?

But what I have found is that there are two extremes to this argument, and I am simply just trying to find a nice medium which some people actually are able to discover as well.

The First Extreme:

The Heidi’s.

These are the women and, yes, men who take the surgery too far. Having ten procedures done is more than excessive, it is an issue. This is when plastic surgery becomes an addiction and the one getting the surgery looks no more human than a dog looks like a snail. Some of these women go to extreme lengths to obtain these surgeries too! This would be along the lines of going to foreign countries and having procedures done by surgeons that are not well-trained. Let’s be real here, any surgery can be dangerous, and like the article by Catherine Foss that I found (on the domain journal website “Aesthetic Plastic Surgery” ) in the Chapman Leatherby Libraries, the ONLY form of surgery that I am able to willingly support is a safe one, because every single patient deserves a safe surgery, no matter how major or minor it may be.

(no need to watch the full 9 minutes)

The Other Extreme:

The Kate’s.

These are the women who are so against looking in any way different from their original, god-given form, and then criticize the women that do. I do tend to support these women more when it comes down to the basic argument: women who have had cosmetic surgery look almost too perfect in a way, and it is sort of strange look. But these women definitely are set in their ways, and they’re not budging. Which, okay, good for them, they do not feel the need to change themselves, but that does not mean that other people who do should feel remorse for wanting to do so.

And, in support of another article that I found in the Chapman Leatherby Libraries, by Rochelle Nataloni titled “Heart at young: If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so, too, is age, surgeons say”, I believe that it is perfectly acceptable for women and men of older age to wish to look and feel younger.

Bottom line here, there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling good about oneself. There are many ways that this can come about, and cosmetic surgery may just be one of them. I believe that those who do not wish to partake in such activities should simply turn their nose the other way, and those who are self-conscious about their ears should be able to, free of remorse, have them pinned back.

Go for it 🙂

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