· So has the increase in cosmetic surgery that we have seen resulted in an increase in personal happiness? Not according to the available evidence. A recent study in Clinical Psychology Review compared college students from 1939 and 2007. The study showed a six-time increase in the number of students showing symptoms of depression and “anxiety and unrealistic optimism” in 2009 as compared to the students during the Great Depression era. Although there are no doubt a great many variables other than cosmetic surgery that influence such a large increase in depression, the evidence isolating cosmetic surgery is no more favorable. One study showed ten years after having a breast augmentation, there was a threefold increase in the number of suicides compared to women who did not have breast augmentation surgery. A review study from 2004 looked at psychological outcomes for patients who were seeking cosmetic surgery. They found that patients who were young, had unrealistic expectations, had a minimal deformity, had previous surgeries, were motivated by relationship issues, or had a history of depression or anxiety disorders were far more likely to feel worse after having cosmetic surgery. (Christian Research Journal)
From where then does self-acceptance come? To some extent, it comes from the family. However, many of us continue to struggle with self-contempt, even when coming from nurturing families.
I too was always looking for a “cosmetic” alteration, even though the change I sought wasn’t external. I had tried all sorts of therapies to change who I was into somebody more acceptable, more likeable. However, each attempt left me in greater despair.
It was only after I came to the assurance that God totally accepted me that I could begin to accept myself. The Apostle Paul also understood this and therefore prayed that we:
· May have strength to comprehend… and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:18-19)
Knowing this has given me the confidence and self-acceptance that I had lacked.