Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder - Plato

If we but open our eyes and look around us, we can see beauty in abundance enriching our lives every day – the beauty of a frail flower opening its petals for the very first time, the beauty of a bee frantically collecting pollen to carry to its hive, the beauty of experience lines on wise faces, the beauty of decay in autumn leaves scattered under centuries’ old oak trees.

So maybe beauty lies not in the eye of the beholder. Maybe it lies in the perception, the intuition, the gratitude with which we survey the world around us. Maybe it lies in the joy we experience by truly seeing what is right in front of us. Maybe it is in the awareness of the beauty we all are.

Society would like us to believe that for something to be beautiful it must conform to specific standards, guidelines, ideals. But maybe beauty is in your eyes, your smile, the words you use, the actions you take. Maybe, if we opened our eyes and looked with full awareness, beauty will enrich our lives.

Some people are beautiful, not because of their looks, but because of the purity of their hearts, their kindness, their warmth – the way in which they touch our souls.

I believe that truly seeing the beauty around us, is a gift. A very precious gift. Appreciating the beauty of people and things should not be squandered. If we make a habit of seeing beauty around us, every day, we become to understand that there is beauty in even the smallest of little things, and our lives become beautiful too.

I am asked at times, whether I am not perpetuating a frivolous world, focused on creating the perfect face, the perfect body when I practice cosmetic surgery – be it surgical or non-surgical. A world where the pursuit of beauty is empty, and often at great emotional cost.

I can honestly say that I have been very blessed that in all my years practicing as plastic surgeon, I have not had a single patient who have come to me because they wanted a perfect face or a perfect body. None of my patients ever request or strive to be more beautiful. Instead, the request is to restore, to improve – not looks, but a sense of well-being, of doing something for one self, and for one’s loved ones.

Maybe this is the reason why this quotation by Gaspare Tagliacozzi always resonates with me: “We bring back, refashion, and restore to wholeness the features which nature gave but chance destroyed, not that they may charm the eye but that they may be an advantage to the living soul, not as a mean artifice but as an alleviation of illness, not as becomes charlatans but as becomes good physicians and followers of the great Hippocrates. For although the original beauty of the face is indeed restored, yet this is only accidental, and the end for which the physician is working is that the features should fulfill their offices according to nature's decree.”

Many scientific studies have been conducted to study the perception of beauty, and without a doubt, it is true that, throughout the centuries, more attractive people, at all ages and all walks of life, are judged more favorably, and treated better. These studies have also proven that many factors play a role in personal attractiveness – the way we dress, the way we act, the way we carry ourselves.

So, what makes one attractive? Evolutionary psychology holds that faces are indeed indicative of a person’s qualities as a life partner, of health and of genes and even of character. More symmetrical faces are perceived as more attractive, and the “average” face is perceived as more attractive too – rather than the more distinctive face – and this probably holds for everything: we are more comfortable when we see an average dog, or an average bird – as these are easier to process.

However, our perception of beauty can land us in trouble. “In myth, beautiful women are disruptive of men’s reason, even causing them to go to war. We now know that there’s truth to the idea that men make worse decisions when exposed to female beauty,” writes Eric Wargo in his cover story titled “Beauty is in the Mind of the Beholder”, published by the Association for Psychological Science in the Observer in 2011. He goes on to explain the impact the observation of beauty has on our brains.

It is therefore quite natural that we would strive to make ourselves more attractive – not necessarily to the opposite sex only, but to society in general. And many of these factors are under our control – the way we dress, the way we cut our hair, the way we behave. We can be healthy – by eating healthy, observing our weight, by staying fit – a healthy person is more attractive than an unhealthy one. Even a smile, a gesture of kindness, makes us more attractive.

Eric Wargo concludes: “Be beautiful – or, as beautiful as you can. Smile and sleep and do whatever else you can do to make your face a reward.” According to a new study… attractive people are judged more accurately – at least, closer to a subject’s own self-assessments. “People do judge a book by its cover,” the researchers write, “but a beautiful cover prompts a closer reading.”

And so, by performing cosmetic surgery procedures – surgical or non-surgical, and supporting this with medical grade skin care, I play my role in making a person more attractive – not necessarily beautiful. And I hope, and believe, that my touch will not only enrich a face or a body, but also a soul.