Does Plastic Surgery Improve Emotional Wellbeing?
Many people mistakenly believe that plastic surgery will improve emotional wellbeing and how it will automatically make them feel better about themselves. To a certain degree this is true. If you are having saggy boobs repositioned that is likely to bring greater fulfilment than someone who is making many small adjustments to their face. What is crucial is how the person having the plastic surgery feels about themselves. That is, their core beliefs about their worth and attractiveness.
If an individual has a low opinion of themselves, this is unlikely to change dramatically after plastic surgery. They will still possess the same negative filter as before and will continue to find things wrong with themselves. Research suggests that it doesn’t matter what others think of our attractiveness, rather our own perceptions of how attractive we are, are what really count. Have you ever seen someone that oozes confidence and sex appeal yet isn’t mind blowingly gorgeous? There is something very alluring about someone who seems happy in their own skin. If we don’t like and accept ourselves, no amount of positive feedback from others will alter this and it is possible to be biased regarding our own attractiveness. The more we like ourselves, whether this fits with objective reality or not – the better.
Research has also shown that people who are generally regarded as more attractive don’t tend to be much happier than people who are more average in appearance. So it would seem that improving your appearance through the help of plastic surgery is beneficial but the extent of that benefit will be determined by one’s attitude.
Many people still believe that good looking people have happier, more successful lives than others. This erroneous idea that pretty people do better is known as the “halo effect” – a cognitive bias attributing positive characteristics (such as competence, intelligence) to others due to their physical attractiveness.
Perhaps too many of us buy into the “halo effect” believing that plastic surgery will open many more doors for us. Unrealistic expectations can be dangerous however and I am surprised at the low level of psychological assessment there is for people considering considerable plastic surgery.
Ultimately, plastic surgery is a personal choice. Be realistic and also be aware that your thinking and attitude towards yourself and physical appearance count for much more than going under the knife.