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The Mind Body Connection Part II: Identity

November 25, 2019 - Rhys Branman, MD

Woman's Face Picture - Cosmetic Surgery CenterOur faces are our foremost identifiers. Pictures on your passport, driver’s license, and photographs focus on the face. From a social point of view, you are represented by your face. Because your facial expressions reflect your life experience, some have called the face the “personification of one’s soul.” Patients seeking procedures such as rhinoplasty, a facelift or other cosmetic facial surgery do well to consider how it may affect your sense of self. Rhinoplasty in particular has been found to affect identity the most. This is why we cosmetic surgeons are always reiterating that a patient should have realistic expectations.

Facial surgery in particular can affect one’s sense of self. One’s appearance is closely connected to personal identity. Of course, our sense of identity grows and evolves over the years, but there are three essential aspects to identity that link your ego, your body, and your presence in the world. Any definition of identity must include:

  • Equality –  a sense of congruity between the inside you and the outside you

  • Continuity –  a stable, recognizable relationship of the inner and outer you, as well as a congruent relationship between yourself and your social identity.

  • Difference –  a uniqueness from others that also includes a connection to your social groups

Because facial surgery can have an effect on emotional stability, and in order to be satisfied with your cosmetic procedure, you must think about the psychological significance it will have on you. One study by researchers has suggested answering questions like these to help you decide how you will feel:

  1. What makes now feel like the right time for surgery? Why now?

  2. What are three wishes about the impact on your life of a successful outcome? Answer this question on a pure fantasy level without being realistic.

  3. What are three realistic expectations of the impact that successful surgery will have on your life? Can you imagine any possible disadvantages to a successful surgical outcome?

  4. How do you expect key people in your life will respond differently to you after the surgery? How about strangers?

  5. Does your (the body part to be corrected) remind you of anyone you know? Family members? Whose eyes or whose thighs do you have?

  6. Have you noticed that your desire to have the surgery varies from day to day or week to week? Is it greater with certain events, moods, or reactions of others?

  7. Have you ever had any indications that others see you differently than you see yourself?

  8. What percentage of peoples’ first impression of you do you believe your (body part to be corrected) accounts for? What percentage after they get to know you?

Questions 2 and 3 will help you get some perspective on how realistic your expectations are. Question 4 and 5 may help you access those concepts of connection to your social world.

At Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center we want you to be the very best you possible. We also want you healthy and happy! Come see us for a consultation if you are seeking facial surgery; we have your best interests at heart.

Dr. Branman

Please call Melinda to set up your consultation 501 227-0707

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