I have an acronym I recommend my patients use when they’re deciding whether to surgically alter their face or body. I call it S.A.F.E.
S stands Safety. Are you going to somebody who’s board certified? Are you jumping on the newest fad or are you considering something that has had some proof over time?
A stands for Affordability. People can get caught up in the youthful craze and forget that these things are very costly and they’re not covered by insurance. And it can be a slippery slope. You know how once you redo your rug, your furniture looks ugly? It’s the same with your body.
F stands for For, as in, “Who is this procedure being done for?” Are you doing it because the woman next door to you has just done it and she looks good? Because your husband is looking at other women? Because you’re competing with your daughter?
E stands for Expectations. Think about whether your expectations are realistic. Thinking about this might even lead you away from a procedure. A woman I was working with for a long time was about to get her face done, so I said, “Just give us a little time to talk about this.” As she talked, she realized that she thought getting her face done would enable her to meet a man. And the more we talked, the clearer it became that she really just wanted to feel happier. After a couple of sessions, she started to think about what would make her happy, and she discovered that she WAS happy, just embarrassed to smile because she had bad teeth. So she ended up talking about having her teeth capped instead of have her face done.
We have to get a little more realistic that aging is a natural process. It will happen to everyone. You don’t need a psychologist to say this, but I was a model. When I was in my 20s, I was in advertisements directed toward women who were in their 30s. And there is no hiding the fact that we are surrounded by images that are unrealistic and unattainable. You cannot be that airbrushed. And if women put themselves in the position of feeling like they’re measuring against that culture, then there’s a no-win situation.