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Real talk. Plastic Surgery and Happiness

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I dont know if there are any other threads like this, but this is about as Meta as it gets.

We are all on the plastic surgery journey because we believe our physical flaws are preventing us from being happier.

As someone who has done 6 surgeries in korea, I'm still believing that if I can just 1 or 2 more things, I will finally be happy. Maybe for some people, plastic surgery brought their life-changing happiness, but it has not been the case for me.

Can plastic surgery bring happiness? 

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You're right, many people here are trying to treat their "perceived" physical flaws. I say perceived because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and people are free to like or prefer different things. 

The act of noticing and thinking about these flaws can cause one to feel varying degrees of emotional stress. It can be mild as, "Oh, look at that flaw. Whatever, it's ok, no big deal" butt can sound as extreme as, "OMG, look at that! I want to shut myself indoors, and never be seen again!"

Plastic surgery is an outside-in attempt to alleviate this stress through physical transformation. It may or may not work for some. That's why it's important for people to consider adjusting their lens or doing some inner work. 

This is inner exploratory work to take a mental inventory to gauge how healthy are our levels of self-esteem and self love (too high or low). There are many ways to do this: psychotherapy, journaling, questionnaires, philosophical inquiry, soul searching, self-reflection, and or meditative contemplation etc...

On 12/20/2019 at 2:19 PM, krusjp0 said:

Maybe for some people, plastic surgery brought their life-changing happiness, but it has not been the case for me.

It's one thing to seek a satisfactory & realistic result and another to chase after perfection. The difference is one race or game has a finish line and other doesn't. When it doesn't it can become an unhealthy distraction or addiction. This distraction can give us temporary relief to avoid sitting with the painful thoughts and stress. But when we find ourselves escaping too much despite negative consequences on the rest of out lives: family, social, career, health and finances that we have to see it's a problem.

There was a point in my life where the self talk about my appearance was very negative, and very self-conscious about my perceived flaws. It was exhausting, and could get easily triggered if I saw an unflattering photo or reflection of myself, or I came across a beautiful photo of someone else. It was really distressing if someone made an innocent remark, or an intentional insult about my appearance. It could make or break my day, and I got very stressed.

To escape the stress, I would then start taking selfies, making measurements, photoshopping and analyzing, and then researching what I could do. The research into the surgeries became an escape in and of itself. Even when good-looking people complimented me (social approval) including significant others, I would not feel satisfied. 

Then I decided to take break and make the time to do a lot of inner work on myself to find the root of this self-talk, which was usually unquestioned thinking / programmed beliefs from some silly conflicts from childhood.

Inner work has helped me a lot in having a more realistic and healthy perception of myself, and how I set and go about my beauty goals going forward.

The short answer IMHO, only the way you perceive yourself is what makes you happy, not plastic surgery. Plastic surgery only helps if you have the lens and ability to appreciate the results.

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I'm in no way a plastic surgery connoisseur, but I've done three separate (small?) procedures and a couple other non-invasive stuff like lasers. I can honestly say I stress less about how I look now. 

But not because I necessarily look much better. Most of the changes are very small and sometimes they make a certain flaw look better but create more. Or, like my face lipo, I looked much better for many 4 months and then I didn't eat properly and regained all the fat back in my face.

I think plastic surgery partly kinda made me feel like I'm not stuck for life with all the flaws I have and with enough money I can alter those flaw at least somewhat whenever I decide to. Another part is that by being immersed in the support groups, I learn that everyone has something they see an imperfection in themselves so I don't really take my own physical flaws into account for my confidence anymore.

I also now see these surgeries as investments. Because I live in Thailand where people really have increasing degrees of "lookism" where how well you are treated and how much opportunities you are given is related to how close you look like a certain ideal image (i.e. for girls: pale skin, very thin where curves aren't really necessary, elongated and v-shaped face, not super short and not super tall). So now I do it, not because I'm insecure anymore, but so I get more opportunities. In a way, almost equivalent to making your hair nice and putting on a professional, polished attire for the workplace to be respected and taken seriously.

I think it's important the understand the 'why' you think you need more surgery. If you always have a sort of list of what you want surgery on and you do all that (plus the fixing/re-do procedures) but afterwards you see more "flaws" to be fix, it might be an inner thing that you have to come to terms with. For me, I have a very specific (albeit very long) list of what I want to improve and that list hasn't changed. It might be important to be honestly look at if this is more than physical changes. It could be a body image dysphoria or perfectionism as well. Above all, I think it's important to also work on non-physical things. I found that helps my self-esteem a lot.

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  • 1 year later...

I am not primarily here to use plastic surgery (directly) to become happier. I am here to use plastic surgery as another way to improve my appearance in order to further my career and increase my income.


However, the researchers did find a big difference between men's and women's salaries when it came to grooming. Controlling for factors such as age, race, education and personality traits like agreeableness and conscientiousness, they compared how interviewers rated people on attractiveness, how they rated the same person on grooming, and that person’s salary.
In other words, the study suggests that grooming is important for both men and women in the workplace, but particularly for women. Changes in grooming have a substantial effect on whether women are perceived as attractive, and their salaries. In fact, as the charts below show, less attractive but more well-groomed women earned significantly more, on average, than attractive or very attractive women who weren’t considered well-groomed. (The research doesn’t say how much of these extra earnings were then blown at Bluemercury or Sephora.)

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