Many of my female patients have shared similar sentiments about their breasts after breastfeeding and the effect on their confidence. Even their ability to wear simple t-shirts and backless dresses without having to pull their breasts into position because the skin hangs is something many struggles with.
Again, many women battle with their imperfect bodies and feel comfortable undressing in front of their husbands. This also extends to the more intimate part of relationships, where women of all ages feel self-conscious during intercourse with a partner because they either don’t like the way their private parts look or intercourses is not comfortable let alone enjoyable. So many women share their stories of only knowing how to ‘fake it’ or are unable to relax and enjoy this time because they are stressed about the discomfort or feel embarrassed.
It makes me sad when I see young girls who avoid playing a sport or living an active lifestyle because they are so self-conscious of their bodies; disproportionately large breasts. Unable to fit into fashionable clothing is another struggle these young girls face.
I don’t want women to look in the mirror and see something that makes their stomach churn or avoid the beach with their kids because they don’t want to be seen in a swimsuit, as they’re unhappy with their bulges and wobbly bits. I don’t want women to hide from a camera because they do not like the side profile of their nose.
When it comes to overcoming insecurities, women are not alone. I meet many men who struggle with their own bodies and feeling self-conscious. There are men I see who may be fit, healthy and seemingly body perfect but have excess male breast tissue. For this reason, they avoid anything that involves taking their shirt off.
Imperfect in business
It breaks my heart when I meet beautiful men and women who are so afraid of losing their jobs as they approach their 50s – 60s because they genuinely fear they will be labelled ‘too old’. This follows with the fears of being unable to get another job, as they are deemed not young, fresh and vital.
I meet men and women who have had acne scars since their adolescence, which has affected their self-esteem to the point they avoid going out or getting pictures.
Plastic surgery is not about vanity. It’s more powerful and transformative than that.
These are real people with real problems. Plastic surgery is not just for the glamorous world of American soap operas, nor is it just about vanity and superficiality. It’s a real problem not being able to accept your imperfect self for all of what it has achieved. It’s a real problem that we can’t see that the world doesn’t see anywhere near as much of what we see of ourselves. But oftentimes it doesn’t matter what the world sees. It’s how we feel about ourselves.
Our husbands love us more after bringing their children into the world even if that process has aged and made our former bodies no more. Our friends love and accept us as we are, so they never notice the hang-up we have about our imperfections.
And while we can say how we look doesn’t matter – although true in principle, it’s rarely the case in the world we live in. We are more visual than ever before, while the advancements in medicine have allowed us to do so much more in regards to health, wellness and beauty.
I have the true privilege to meet so many women and men from all walks of life who share their stories and struggles with me.
I want to help these patients feel good about themselves so they can live their lives to the fullest. I want them to enjoy sport and social activities like everyone else, have great sex and feel confident irrespective of their appearance. To enjoy the beach with their children or feel they belong in their profession regardless of age.
I hope to give my patients freedom and happiness
I want them to be able to live free of insecurities so they can devote that energy to enjoying life and making the most of every opportunity for social, professional and personal fulfilment. The majority of us don’t want to be perfect or even expect to be perfect – we just want to be happy and lead our lives with passion and purpose. But it’s hard to do this when something about our appearances or our physical being holds us back from that feeling.
I am not encouraging us to just settle for the status quo and not aim for more (unless that’s what makes you happy), nor am I telling everyone to undergo plastic surgery as an answer.
I am merely advocating for men and women to give themselves permission and give each other acceptance and understanding for wanting to do something for themselves.
If what we wanted or expected was unrealistic then it is to be discouraged. However, we live in a world where what was unthinkable is now possible, such as the incredible evolution of phones and what they can now do.
It is possible to age gracefully
It is safe and possible to perform a breast reduction, labiaplasty, tummy tuck and reduce signs of scarring and contour your face and body. So, if all these advancements are designed to improve our quality of life, why should we avoid it because of public perception, pre-conceived ideas or judgement? Taking the steps to improve one’s self is not superficial, artificial and unnatural. It’s an act of strength to help overcome insecurities.
It’s just like saying let’s go through childbirth or surgery without pain relief because it’s not natural and we should just accept the pain and wear the stripes as a badge of honour. We should be more progressive and at least give people the informed choice so they can make up their own minds.
A note from someone who’s experienced it
So the point of this blog was really to empower more men and women who may be like the people I meet daily—someone held back by an aspect of their physical appearance, which is impacting their overall happiness and wellness. I want them to have the courage to take a leap of faith and do what they need to do in order to get that mojo in every aspect of your life.
The majority of people in those shoes rarely regret the decision. In fact, many of my patients reveal that if they knew the difference it would make to their lives, they would have done it sooner.
While for some of us working on our psychological and mental well being may be more important, addressing the physical concerns that bother oneself can make such a powerful difference. And life is too short not to get the most out of every moment. Why waste any of it feeling critical or self-conscious.
I know. I’ve walked those shoes. And had I known what I know now, I would have done so much earlier. As Oprah says, “if you are honest and can see what’s affecting your life and happiness and do something about it, it can change your life.”
Inspire By Dr Anh blog series
Dr Anh shares her life lessons, advice and opens up about her journey to social, professional and personal fulfilment in her candid blog series. Read her other blogs below.