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Relationship Between Cosmetic Surgery and Self-Esteem

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We all have insecurities, whether they are unnoticeable, right on our faces, or beautiful according to everyone else. Usually, when we don’t like something about our appearance, there isn’t a lot anyone could say that would change our minds. Some people’s insecurities are much worse than others, causing them to become obsessed and fixate on how much they don’t like one thing about themselves. This is why boosting confidence is a major reason a lot of people decide to have cosmetic procedures. 

There are many different reasons why individuals will choose to have plastic surgery or a cosmetic procedure, but low self-esteem is one of the largest ones. However, looks aren’t always anything, and although cosmetic surgery may make you feel more attractive and confident, it doesn’t always improve your self-esteem. 

Self-confidence Vs. Self-esteem 

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Self-confidence and self-esteem are related, however, there is a difference between the two and it is very possible to have high self-confidence and low-self esteem. Self-confidence refers to the way you present yourself to other people as well as how they perceive you. For example, you may dress in a way that shows off your body, because you are confident in the way that you look. It doesn’t matter if there are certain parts of yourself you don’t love, you are showing your confidence by making the decision to wear certain things. 

Self-esteem, on the other hand, has more to do with how you feel on the inside, and it is not visible to other people. Having high-self esteem means that you feel good about who you are as a person, and a lot of it is about loving yourself. Having low-self esteem can come from a lot of things, and even your appearance can make it difficult for you to truly love yourself. However, a lot of improving your self-esteem comes from making changes to the way you think, so changing your appearance can only get you so far. 

When we talk about plastic surgery raising your self-esteem, what it is really doing is making you more confident in yourself. Feeling more confident about your appearance can translate into feeling good about yourself as a whole, but this is not always the case. 

Trying to Fix an Inside Problem by Changing the Outside

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Many people seek cosmetic procedures that change things about their appearance as a way to improve their self-esteem. They think that if they feel more confident in their appearance it will make them feel happier on the inside. While a boost of confidence is always helpful for your self-image, changing a physical attribute to improve an internal issue does not always work the way you want it to. 

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If you have rhinoplasty because you hate your nose, you might feel better when you look in the mirror. However, if most of your self-esteem issues come from feeling like you are not good enough, changing the shape of your nose is not going to help you in the long run. 

In some cases, cosmetic procedures can help improve your self-esteem. For example, if you have a scar from an abusive relationship, every time you look at it you will be reminded of how that person treated you. In a case like this, having a scar revision procedure to remove the scar may actually help your self-esteem by not reminding you of something terrible from the past. 

Does Plastic Surgery Actually Boost Self-Esteem?

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A study conducted in 2012 spent 13 years observing 1,5000 teenage girls, 78 of which became plastic surgery patients in their teenage years. The young women who did receive surgery were found to be much more likely to have issues with anxiety and depression than the others. Additionally, the surgery patients’ symptoms increased over the period of time at a higher rate than the non-patients. Other research shows that women who receive cosmetic surgery often feel happier about their appearance, but not necessarily happier overall. 

In another study, researchers followed 98 women and two men they found in 8 surgical practices across the United States. The study lasted for two years but did not have a control group. Before cosmetic surgery, the patients filled out a questionnaire about their body image, satisfaction, self-esteem, symptoms of depression, and more. On four more occasions throughout the next two years, they filled out the same questionnaire. 

A large majority of the patients reported that they were satisfied with the surgery, and 93 percent reported that they would do it again. However, the study also reported no significant difference in their self-esteem or depression system. Additionally, patients who had a history of anxiety or depression were less likely to be satisfied with the results. 

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In Conclusion

The truth is, plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures can greatly improve how you feel about yourself if the physical attribute was the true source of your insecurities. If your low self-esteem is being caused by something on the inside, cosmetic procedures are probably not going to solve your problems. 

Before deciding to change things about your appearance, dig a little deeper and make sure that there isn’t an underlying cause for how you feel about yourself. Low self-esteem may motivate individuals to undergo cosmetic procedures, but that does not mean that it is actually going to make them feel better about themselves. 

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Roni Davis
Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area

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