Are You Really "Doing It For Me"?

MakenzieR on 11 May 2011 at 3:00pm

For those who’ve had or even considered having an aesthetic procedure – from the seemingly innocent Botox to a full on Mommy Makeover – you probably spent some time reflecting on how you would feel afterward. Most likely you also thought about why you were doing it to begin with, and came up with “to feel better about myself” or “to be the best version of me.”

Psychologist Dr. Vivian Diller studies beauty and self-image psychology, and she suggests that those are easy answers that may be based in truth, but cover more significant motivations.

In a thorough and thoughtful Huffington Post piece, Dr. Diller discusses her protocol for assessing a patient’s desire to surgically alter their body.

If there’s a procedure you’re considering, get a little introspective and use some of the questions Dr. Diller asks her patients:

  • What are you hoping to change?
  • Is it a feature that preoccupies you but appears normal to everyone else?
  • Does the feature cause you to obviously stand out?
  • Does it cause pain or get in the way of everyday function?
  • Do you want to change something in a specific area, or hope to look like an entirely new person?
  • Why now? Have you recently been through a major life event? (Death in family, divorce, menopause, job loss, etc.)
  • For whom is the procedure being done?
  • Are there pressures from others? Was it a suggestion or gift?
  • How do you expect the surgery to change you?
  • Do you hope to emerge resembling a specific beauty icon?
  • Are you trying to recapture a younger version of yourself?
  • Are you looking for an easy way out of caring for yourself?
  • Do you think plastic surgery is a one-time thing?
  • Do you assume loved ones will react positively to the change(s)?
  • Is it affordable given your finances?

Everyone seeks out plastic surgery for his/her own reasons. Who doesn’t want to look the best they possibly can? If you don’t ask yourself the right questions now, surgery, like a tattoo, is a life-long decision you may come to regret.

Why do we get plastic surgery?

Some relevant comments from the RealSelf community:

“I encourage you to ask yourself if you have some deep seated need to punish yourself.  Occasionally I encounter people with a history of emotional or sexual abuse as children or young adults who seem to be attempting to master their trauma by having surgeons recreate another trauma.  Does this apply to you?” LA Oculoplastic Surgeon Dr. Kenneth Steinsapir in a Q&A

"“I really advise you to think hard before having any procedure done. Ask yourself this, ‘can I live with myself if the surgery does not turn out well, or can I afford more surgeries to fix it if it does not turn out well?’” Breast implant reviewer "ajsk4eva."

"Motivation -- what is your motivation for have this procedure performed? 
 Know what you want to change- Make sure you have a clear idea what you want to change. 
 Research about the procedure and make sure that what you are looking for can be achieved by surgery.
 If you are not 100% committed to the surgery, don't do it." Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Anil Shah in a Q&A

"Ask yourself the tough questions. What am I doing this for? Will this nose job really save my marriage? etc. etc. Plastic surgery on the right person can have amazing effects on improving self esteem and revitalizing the way one feels about themselves. But surgery on someone who has underlying personal issues is unlikely to solve their problems and may make them worse off." Bevery Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jason Diamond in a Q&A

Photo credits: mensatic on and centralasian on

Comments (3)

I really did do it for myself, hoping to feel better and look better. I also had in mind that I would look so much better to my husband...not that I was actually bad looking anyway. I look worse and feel worse. I wish I would have read certain things prior to the can I afford to have more surgeries to fix it if it doesn't turn out right? The answer is "no" to that question and it didn't turn out right. I look like I have been in a fist fight where I got punched in both eyes 24/7. I hide in my house and only go out if I really have no other option. When I do have to go out, I spend at least 45 minutes trying to cover up the problem with makeup but I also wear sunglasses so people don't see my eyes which is not always an option because i also need reading glasses. I am on meds to help with depression and anxiety...not at all what i had planned on for life after surgery. I spent all my money (and the time I had allotted) on the first surgery, thinking it was the ONLY surgery. I was ever so wrong and now and ever so regretful. I don't even look like myself anymore and people do make comments that I really don't want to hear. I feel like my life will never go back to normal. Since I signed all the waivers prior to surgery, it's like i have no rights and no chance of getting my money back for another doctor to fix this problem.

I am so sorry to hear about your disappointment. I noticed you found a good community within the site of people sharing experiences like yours. I strongly encourage you to write your own review (of your doctor as well) so others can see your story when doing their own research. 

It seems like for every great surgery we hear about here there is someone who is equally devastated -- whether it be by the actual result or just how it makes them feel. If there is truly no option for you to have this fixed, I hope you are able to find peace with your new self. It sounds like you have a very supportive partner to help you through! 


Thought-provoking stuff here.  It would be interesting to know the percentage of "who is it for?" for all people who've had procedures.  There's likely a lot of gray area...