Three women raising glasses of red wine at dinner party, smiling

There has been an interesting dichotomy going on in America for some time when it comes to plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures.  It is a confusing double message, aimed almost exclusively at women, that says on the one hand that a woman’s physical appearance matters more than almost anything else she has to offer, and on the other hand, that she shouldn’t be so vain, insecure or financially irresponsible to actually pursue cosmetic improvements beyond makeup or clothing.  Obviously, neither message is true.  But women can get caught up in battles not only with themselves but also with those who are closest to them when they decide to pursue cosmetic treatments.

If you are considering “traditional” plastic surgery such as a facelift, Mommy Makeover, breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tuck or just something minimally invasive such as Botox or a chemical peel, you might find yourself having a hard time explaining your interests and desires.  Hopefully, this article will give you some food for thought whether it be in taking a hard, honest look at yourself, or in simply giving you some bullet points as you navigate conversations with your loved ones.

  • Talking to Yourself
  • Talking to Your Spouse/Significant Other
  • Talking to Your Mother
  • Talking to Your Kids

Talking to Yourself

First and foremost, the decision to change your outward appearance – no matter if it’s in your choice of lipstick or in your choice of breast size – should be your own.  If you are considering other people’s views, opinions or judgments of you as major factors in your decision process, then you should sort out those issues before doing anything else.

That being said, sure, you want to be seen as attractive to other people.  So it would be impossible to block out all thoughts of other people’s perceptions, but if you can trick your mind into a mental exercise that assumes for a moment that you are alone on the planet temporarily…then ask yourself if you would still be unhappy with your nose/breasts/tummy/etc.  If you are, then you are.  If there is something you can do to quiet that internal running dialogue of criticism, then why not do it?  But if you generally hate yourself and have a laundry list of things you’d like to change, you’ll likely still feel that way after plastic surgery.

Before you can convince anyone else that cosmetic treatment is right for you, you’d better know it yourself.

Talking to Your Spouse/Significant Other

Here’s where things can get a bit dicey.  You can feel free to ignore all the naysaying girlfriends, co-workers, even your mother; it’s your body and your money, so in the end, it’s really none of their business.  But when it comes to an intimate relationship and a joint bank account, you might have some work to do.

One of the most common disputes between partners when it comes to plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures is indeed the money.  There, I said it-  this stuff costs money.

First, you’ve got to be honest with yourself about whether you can afford the procedure you want.  If getting that treatment will be financially hazardous to the family, then it’s probably not the right time.  Start saving.

But if your partner’s main argument is that, yes, you have the money but it would be a “waste” of money to spend it on your procedure, then you might lovingly point out all the ways in which it’s important to you and how it might benefit your relationship.  Speak from your heart.

If your partner is comfortable with spending a similar amount of money on things like new kitchen countertops, an inexpensive used car, a vacation or furniture, compare how much more this treatment will mean to you and your sense of well-being and contentment.  Just make sure that it’s true.

Talking to Your Mother

Don’t tell your mother anything. Okay, okay.  Depending on your relationship, you might still have to talk to your mother.  Of course, she thinks you are perfect in every way and may try to stop you from changing anything about her “baby.”  Albeit you’re a woman, you’re still her baby.

While it’s always hard to disappoint your parents, this “talk” should be honest, because really, you are a grown-up.  They had their chance to be in charge, but it is up to you now.  Some people are successful at pointing out to their moms that where to “draw the line” when it comes to improving appearance is a pretty slippery slope.  High heels, lotion and makeup are okay?  Eye cream, self tanner and shaving are okay?  What about laser hair removal?  What about laser acne treatment?  What about fixing an awkwardly big nose or replacing a breast after cancer?  Who is to say what is over the line?

If you choose to share your decision with your mom, demonstrate to her that you are an adult who has done sufficient research, and again, speak from your heart about why you want the procedure.

Talking to Your Kids

This is a tough one for many parents, because they don’t want their own decisions about outward appearance to somehow trigger insecurities in their kids.  Of course, it all depends on their ages. If they are young, a simple, “Mommy went to the doctor, but I’m all better now” will probably suffice.  If you have older sons, a simple, “Mom had some ‘woman’ issues she had to take care of” will definitely suffice.  Boys don’t typically want to know any more once they hear that.  It is when patients have older daughters that they tend to worry the most.

But if I had to guess, you’ve probably already let slip to your daughter your dissatisfaction with whatever “it” is.  Whether in a heavy sigh while looking in the mirror, while talking to your friends, during your verbal insecurities about going to the pool…somehow, she probably already knows.  So why not fix it so she doesn’t have to hear about it or see your angst any longer?  You’ll be giving her a solid example of a confident woman who focuses on contentment and purpose.  And in a world that tells her she should be perfect in every way without even trying, isn’t that what every young woman really needs?

In Conclusion

For all die hards on either side of the anti/pro plastic surgery debate, this discussion is probably not for you.  However, if you have thought about plastic surgery but have needed help focusing on your decision process, I hope this article has helped you.  Plastic Surgery doesn’t have to be about making a decision that’s right or wrong/ good or evil/ life changer or a money drain.  Plastic surgery can be a great way to enhance the areas of your life and your body that you can’t change on your own.  Plastic surgery can be a powerful an investment in yourself.


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