NROP: Love Thyself; Surgical changes to your body and mental health.

What I want to remind you of today is that to truly love another (and to feel the love of others), you must first love yourself. On this day – February 14th – I wish that you fully embrace yourself and that you feel the love coming from within. Only then will you be able to accept and appreciate the love from others, as well as give the beautiful gift of love to others.

Imagine walking through a street with unknown to you stores on your left. They are all selling the same thing and you are in the market for that ‘thing,’ but you are not sure if you should purchase it from Store A, B, C, or maybe P. What factors help you decide?

I would venture a guess that you would probably remove Store A and C from your list of options because there are no customers there. There is one person in line at B and four at P. My observations say that you will most likely choose P because you want to see why more people chose it over B – clearly, they must be onto something. However, some people will choose B because of the shorter wait time. Plus, there is something appealing about a dark horse, right?

A few weeks ago, I saw the following video and thought that it perfectly illustrates the concept of – there has to be someone to start the trend and others will join.

Sasquatch music festival 2009 – Guy starts dance party

So, love yourself and others will follow!

With that said, let us dive into today’s News Related Opinion Piece.

Most people – if not all – want to change something about their bodies at least once in their lives. What causes that? Whether we like it or not, there definitely are standards for what people generally consider visually appealing. At times, we are painfully aware of those. However, what we conveniently forget about is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (beer holder?). It might sound prosaic, but there is a lid for every pot and you will find one that fits you. Unless the lid has magically shattered into a million tiny pieces and now you cannot buy a replacement without buying it in a set with another pot.

We are often our own worst critics and apply a totally different scale to ourselves than to others. There is always something we could make ‘more perfect.’ While I think it is normal and completely OK not to love everything about your body, I also believe that it is not only OK but encouraged to acknowledge that you have some great assets, too. Liking something about yourself does not mean you are shallow and/or self-centered. It just means that your eyes are open.

What is NOT OK is a persistent obsession with your looks. One way or another, it will lead you down a rocky path. So, you can either make peace with the way you look now and learn to accept the various imperfections, or you can try to tweak some things here and there and hope that you will be satisfied and know when to stop. Are you really willing to take that gamble?

We live in the era of body positivity (‘Hey, I weigh 700lb, but I love my curves! Haters gonna hate!’), but that does not mean that bullying and judging no longer exist. Since I like to analyze things, I enjoyed dissecting various aspects of judgments. I am aware of the fact that other people’s opinions about you can definitely be hurtful and even harmful at times. When hearing these ‘not-so-pleasant’ comments, it is important to remember that while some of those judgments might be close to the truth, others are totally off-base. It is up to us to either take them to heart (and do something about it) or put them in the trash can.

Like with anything else, there is the possibility of there being at least a grain of truth/a pinch of good intentions in the opinion of others. No, I will not laugh at you and call you fat, but if you ask me for advice, I will share my two cents and maybe invite you to join me on my next walk. After all, if we truly love someone, we want the best for them. Right? The same applies to you – if you love yourself (and your body), you will want what is best for you. Trust me – not being able to move much and having to stay in bed all day is no fun in the long run. It will have a major impact on your body AND mind.

One of the things that I have learned while working in plastic surgery is that it is possible to apply all the changes to your body that you want and STILL not be able to accept and love yourself. Sometimes, we are the only ones that see imperfections in our bodies. How many people do you know that think they are ‘too fat’ while others around them think they are just fine? Those folks think that if only they went under the knife and got rid of an x amount of pounds, they would be happier. For some – that might actually be true. For others – it will only cause more issues (ex.: the never-ending chase of being ‘just a bit skinnier’ and surgical complications). The same holds true for breast augmentations – some women keep getting bigger and bigger implants, never reaching happiness. (Have you ever watched ‘Botched?’ Read about the show’s ‘15 most outrageous patients ever.’)

After a while, you get a feel for people who want the surgery for the right reasons and those that will never be fully satisfied. Some doctors will actually work hand-in-hand with psychologists to make sure that the potential patient does not have any underlying mental contraindications. Working on your mental health (root cause) might be a better idea than undergoing a surgical procedure with all sorts of risks (band-aid). You would think that plastic surgeons do not care and just want to get paid for requested services. However, that is not always true. The best specialists have you in mind, too. They want you to be happy and satisfied. They want to make your life better. They do not want you to regret your decision, to leave them 1-star reviews, and/or to sue them.

Unfortunately, you cannot always trust a person when they say: “I want xyz.” When a kid says that, you evaluate the request thoroughly. Surely, they are too young to make an educated decision. Well, the same goes for adults when it comes to drastic/irreversible things they have never tried, like plastic surgery.

Gender reassignment surgery seems to be a lot more common these days than they were a couple of decades ago. There are entire teams working on making everything go smoothly. Some of those teams include mental health specialists who want ‘the best’ for the patient. But, there has been a constant push for giving these patients what they want. If a psychologist questions a potential patient, they are labeled as ‘transphobic.’ Additionally, with cancel culture being trendy, such a professional could lose their job even. If we question people about ‘minor’ plastic surgery procedures, we should definitely insist on vetting transgender patients. Not because we do not agree with their decision, but because we want them to love themselves just as we love ourselves.

Jazz Jennings – a male by birth, a woman by choice is a great example of how sometimes we think we know what will make us happy, but when we achieve it, we find out that we are still not at our desired destination. Like many others, Jazz thought that her life would be sunshine and rainbows once she became a woman. However, after transitioning, Jazz continued to struggle with depression and she turned to food for comfort. Now, she is unhappy about her weight. Surely, if she only loses a few pounds…

  • How (if at all) are you celebrating Valentine’s Day today?
  • Do you feel like you love yourself enough?
  • Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought that if only… xyz, you would look better/you would be more popular with the ladies/men?
  • Have you had any plastic surgery done? (I realize that might be quite an intimate questions, so only share if comfortable.)
  • Do you fit into the stereotype of your assigned at birth gender?

Stay golden,

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53 thoughts on “NROP: Love Thyself; Surgical changes to your body and mental health.

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              1. On the subject of ‘meetings’, one piece of advice I received from a work colleague was to “ensure that my calendar was always full, otherwise you’ll find you’re constantly interrupted.” I never took that advice myself…

                … and discovered soon after that this chap had decidedly ‘old-school’ views on prose composition: double-space at the end of every sentence; hard returns at the end of every line; fully justified (with spaces inserted everywhere in futile attempts to balance out the odd word breaks that full justification all too often creates); indents achieved with multiple spaces instead of tabs. Goodness knows how much time he wasted on such things. Occaisonally, his articles passed my desk, whereupon I was obliged to reverse all of his idiotic insertions (so as to comply with the house style), wasting my time. I did try to return the favour by advising him of a better way, but he brushed me off with “this is how I like to do it.”

                Isn’t it good that we’re all different? 😉

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Double-space at the end of the sentence is annoying. What I do to edit that kind of content is copy and paste into Grammarly, have it flag it, accept recommendation to change to one space and then copy back to the original place where it belongs. So annoying. Hah, I remember entering spaces to make things look ‘even.’ But, I do love justification. My eyes start to twitch when the right side of the document is not even (my blog posts are a testament to that; thought I think they don’t just as justified in the Reader).

                  I was going to suggest that he just didn’t know any better – I didn’t. But knowing that you tried to teach him and he refused… *shakes head*

                  Good? I don’t know. Annoying at times? For sure.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. Many people think that fully-justified text ‘looks more professional’. However, many studies have shown that left-justified text is more easy to read. One of the main reasons is that with a jagged right edge, it’s much easier for the eye to track to the beginning of the next line.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. The same reason (almost) everyone still uses the anachronism known as QWERTY (rather than a more appropriate layout such as Dvorak): habit and that thing that free-market fundamentalists deny exists because it punches a hole in their main argument: product inertia.

                      The research‡ showing that left-aligned text is easier to read was done using eye-tracking technology and was conducted relatively recently. Most traditional publishers simply haven’t caught up (and probably never will until the old fogeys in charge die out, as is the case in many fields).

                      ‡ I’ll try to track it down if you like, but it’ll have to wait, I have a lot on my plate right now.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    2. I don’t know. Why I do admit that I use QWERTY because that’s the only thing I’ve ever known, I think that justified text is the only right way to go.

                      Oh, I understand you have a lot of arrangement to make, so take your time. And I believe you because I think I remember reading that at some point myself. It’s just… it looks cleaner to me, so I happily stick to it.

                      Liked by 2 people

  1. Happiness is dancing in the sunshine 😁 A good piece and a timely reminder (since they’re about to start selling us “perfect bathing suit bodies”) that you can’t get happiness only from an external fix. God knows I tried. I’ve avoided plastic surgery, though: my eating disorders and BDD makes it contraindicated. I’m tempted though. I fall into the “if I could fix X, my life would be perfect” camp you mentioned.

    I’m female by birth and by gender, but not in a particularly stereotypically “girly” way. I’ve always been grateful that I identified as heterosexual and cisgender. It makes my life easier: being in the minority, and being on the entry side of change, that’s a big ask with a great many challenges.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happiness is happiness.

      I thought of you as I wrote certain parts of this article. I’m glad to hear that you remain strong on this journey.

      It is absolutely OK for girls not to be ‘girly’ 100% of the time and boys not to be ‘boys’ 100% of the time. We’re all people with different interests and opinions.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting post Goldie! I think I would choose either store A or C as I wouldn’t have to queue and I’m an impatient guy. So whichever store is nearest where I wouldn’t have to queue.
    As for the plastic surgery thing, I can’t understand why anyone would want to do this to themselves. Why are people so obsessed with their physical appearance? Everyone gets older, their bodies change, their looks start fading, it’s just a fact of life. For someone to love themselves they have to actually love who they are, internally. The external looks are just packaging. Sure, it’s great if you’ve got good packaging but the content is what counts, not the packaging. I think there’d probably be a lot less mental health issues if people concentrated on who they were rather than on how they looked, but there you go.
    Happy valentine’s day!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Hahaha, yes, I, too like to avoid queues. However, I do sometimes stop and wonder why there are no lines in a specific place. Of course, there can be all sorts of reasons for that.

      I hear you and agree. “For someone to love themselves they have to actually love who they are, internally.” Perfectly said. I see elective plastic surgery almost like clothes. It’s simplistic but gets the point across. No matter what you put on, if you don’t belong in that group, you will feel like a fraud.

      And 100% on the mental health issues comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Goldie; I always appreciate how balanced you are in these types of posts. It’s a breath of fresh air, to be honest. One can disagree but still remain balanced and kind. Loving kindness is definitely the word here.

    My personal views on things like plastic surgery are radical and can be quite divisive so I keep those sorts of thoughts for in-person conversations where misunderstandings are easier to defray. I am not ashamed of my beliefs, but folks on the internet, if you don’t hold to the popular narrative, can be quite cruel. I’ll take loving kindness over cruelty any day. Like you mentioned, it should be in love that we speak the truth, not divisiveness.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I appreciate your kind words. With posts like this, I always hold my breath, expecting to get attacked viciously by someone who takes something out of context or refuses to engage in discourse. However, most of the time, even if someone disagrees, we have a calm conversation about the topic and I love it.

      And I totally agree with and understand your second paragraph. Maybe one day we will all meet… at the Golden Conference.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Good thoughts. A lot of times there’s a tendency to box these hot button issues away from everything else, but you’re right to point out that we should not ignore things we have learned elsewhere when considering these issues. A book recommendation I have to throw out there is “As Nature Made Him” by John Colapinto, about an early transgender surgery and its repercussions.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The pictures in the link that you shared are quite hilarious.
    But, we also have to remember that these people are attention seekers and quite extreme.

    What if you had a cleft lip (is it called that?) or burn marks.
    Yes, partly it can cause physical issues, but mainly it just isn’t very pretty.
    What if your child had it? Wouldn’t you somehow save the money for a surgery?

    Someone I know has done a breast reduction.
    Partly because it was killing her back, but also because it is the first thing that noticed about her.
    It was also very difficult for her to find clothes that fit properly.

    I am personally bothered with my right eye, which is drooping a bit.
    And if I had the money, I would go ahead and fix it.
    And while I am at it, I would probably do something about the bags under my eyes too or some of my scars.
    These smaller moderations, would make me look better.
    So yeah, why not? (If I had that kind of money, which I don’t at the moment, haha)

    But despite all that, I am not unhappy with the way I look.
    But I do take certain measures to enhance some of my features (daily face massage to prevent sagging skin, good skin care, quality shampoo, plucking eyebrows)

    As for the gender thing, I have never cared much for it.
    I definitely do think life is easier as a man. Physically at least. Certainly cheaper (a decent bra which supports your back when you have a little more than usually, is quite expensive).
    But since I was born a girl, I am fine with living as a woman as well.

    What are your thoughts on plastic surgery?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “These people are attention seekers and quite extreme” This is true. However, there are many who are not as far gone as these people, but well on their way…

      Oh, absolutely – reconstructive surgery can be life-changing. Breast reduction can at times be considered ‘medically necessary’ because of some of the things you mentioned about your friend. The pain is real.

      Are you sure these changes would make you look better? Hopefully, you’d find a great specialist and everything’d go well. Scars can be made smaller but they will never disappear.

      I think you said the magic words: “I am not unhappy with the way I look.” That’s a very rational approach. I’m not against ALL plastic surgery. I just want people to be honest with themselves. Some people get a breast augmentation for their men and then… they split up anyway. Or he cheats on her anyway…

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Good thoughts! I have never seriously considered plastic surgery for improving my appearance or changing my gender. I did wish to be a boy at a younger age as it seemed a path to more freedom and power and fun. Then later I became the gay woman that I am and feel good with being that.
    Do I love myself enough? I think so. I am self critical but I also easily enjoy my own company and value meaningful connections with others.
    Thanks for writing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your perspective. That’s what makes this whole blogging experience so much more worth it.

      I think being self-critical is good… if you know your limits. Self-criticism drives me to do better but I don’t ever let it go out of hand too much because I know what damage that can cause.

      I’m glad to hear that you are happy with who you are!

      Stay golden!

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Ugh. This is difficult… for many reasons. Because it’s you, and because you have such a tiny audience that it don’t matter wtf I say (just kidding mate): the desire to ‘look normal’ is not an aberration. I have, for the last forty years, suffered from a facial disfigurement (resulting from surgery that was required to save my life) that has proven this to me. (As always, I may be wrong but I believe that) the reason I am alone at this point in my life is because my face does not look ‘normal’. When I was a teenager I had no trouble at all finding girlfriends; after the surgery, the situation was decidedly different. People naturally gravitate towards those with facial symmetry, and, equally naturally, are repulsed (though they will never admit it) by aberrations from the ‘norm’. I think that the movie ‘Wonder‘ portrays this very well.

    Moving on: you ask: “How (if at all) are you celebrating Valentine’s Day today?” Well, I visited my 90 year old mother in hospital on Valentine’s day. I took her a Valentine’s day card, in which I’d written “To the best mum in the world”. I doubt very much that she knew that I had done so; I was there in her room with her for an hour and a half… she opened her eyes, briefly, twice in that time, and I don’t believe she even knew that I was there. I’m certain that she would not have seen the card that I left at the foot of her bed. The next day, she passed away. That was my birthday. And so the reason I’m being so open here is probably because at the moment I’m experiencing that bizarre unreality that hits us very occasionally in our lifetimes – but not often enough to really wake us up to reality and the appreciation of what, at the end of the day, truly matters.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have such a ‘tiny audience?’ How DARE you? I considered just deleting your comment after that line. (Not really, but I enjoyed blowing it out of proportion.) Also, of course it matters what you say – anything can have an impact on anyone.

      You’ve shared your struggles regarding your looks with me in the past, so I definitely know where you’re coming from. Like I’ve mentioned in other comments – I’m not saying all surgery is bad. Reconstructive surgery can often be life-saving (physically and mentally). My focus was on people who ‘look normal’ but want to look ‘better.’

      Ah… I’m so sorry for your loss… My father passed days after my birthday. It will never be the same and so I can only imagine how it feels for you…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. An excellent post. In the end, everyone has an opinion. Humans are opinionated.

    I was lucky that when I was a teenager, I learnt early not to give a crap about other people’s opinions. I think that was from the wisdom of my grandmother who helped me get over a lot of the insecurities young people often have.

    As I’m older now and the grey has started to appear, I get people, including my hair dresser who is male, telling me I can “cover that with a nice hair dye”. No thanks. People love to make comments.

    Society and media especially has made it almost shameful for women to get older, never mind get old. We are shamed if we wear make up and shamed if we don’t. Shamed if we dress “feminine” and shamed if we don’t. As a woman, it really feels like you can’t win because the game is rigged. So I just bowed out of playing, do what I like, dress how I like, act how I like.

    On a random note: I do sometimes wonder if the obsession with physical appearance has not increased due to society’s media changes – things like social media is very “me” driven, from selfies to the perfect “curated” lives. People are on YouTube and Tiktok, on camera all the time being viewed which will of course be followed with comments and opinions.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I may be the oddball but I’m ok with that. I would likely go in one of the stores with no one else in it. I’d even pay a little more for a product if I didn’t have to deal with other people. Two months ago I would have said yes, I love myself enough but after Christmas I started doing yoga daily and through the practices I am learning to love myself more.

    Liked by 2 people

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Ellie Thompson

Musings and Memoirs - True Tales of My Life ...

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