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Blog - The cost of being beautifulBy: Dina Pecana and Joy Sosoban

DO YOU BELIEVE GOD CREATED US BEAUTIFUL? The grateful Psalmist believe, as he eloquently expresses to the Lord, “I thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made. I worship in adoration – what a creation! (Psalm 134:14, The Message version).

How simple and peaceful life would be if we saw ourselves as marvelous creation of God.”The scriptural evidence is quite clear that God has created us in His own image and likeness (cf. Genesis 1:26-27, 31) and that is a good thing,” says Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL, spiritual director of the light of Jesus Community and Elim Community.

But our soul’s eyes are blinded from this truth because we choose to see beauty only on the surface, never looking deeper, as media and the world teaches us to do.

Dissatisfaction and restlessness with our bodies, our looks, the desire to be “easy on the eye,” aging, and the quest for the “fountain of youth” are some of the consequences of this prevailing worldview.

Thus, plastic and cosmetic surgery has become an option for many. “You realize that you are aging. Sometimes, you realize there’s a need for enhancement,” explains plastic surgeon Dr. Marlon Lajo about what triggers prospective patients to seek consultation.

But more than enhancing what you already have, cosmetic surgery also can help improve a person’s self-esteem. “Beauty has a lot of impact on the individual… it helps to bring (a person) confidence,” says Dr. Leonardo Abogado, who is also a plastic surgeon.

In fact, there was a young girl from the province who came to Manila for a procedure. When she went back home, her mother got worried because she felt her daughter transform from an insecure, introverted girl into one who was very outgoing and confident. “It only shows how a simple cosmetic procedure can open options (in patient’s life),” says Dr. Marlon Lajo.

When the proverbial question – to go under the knife or not – arises, it is important for one to make an informed, decisive choice. “You have to discuss with the patient the pros and cons of the procedure and the possible complications (that may arise),” says Dr. Marlon Lajo

“Nowadays, there are a lot of specialties (in the medical field) that are merging. Those in the (field of) eye, ear, nose and throat (EENT), they also do cosmetic surgery. But the confine their work to the face, precisely because that’s their training as EENT. Dermatologist, on the other hand, do mostly liposuction (removal of fat deposits via surgery). They do skin rejuvenation, skin whitening but I don’t think they’re train to do the nose or the eyes,” clarifies Dr. Abogado

To undergo cosmetic surgery is a major life decision. That is why it is important to know how it can affect every aspect of one’s life, particularly the morality of such a decision. While the Catholic Church does not prohibit Catholics from having plastic surgery, moral theology offers the following guidelines for consideration (source: www.catholic.com):

1. Plastic surgery would seem to be warranted if it would provide a significant therapeutic benefits in some regard, either physical (e.g. reconstructive surgery to restore function or utility in cases of an accident or birth defect) or psychological, provided that the procedure does not damage some other equal or greater good and provided that it is not intrinsically immoral;

2. Plastic Surgery would seem to be permitted – even without significant therapeutic effect – provided that it did not damage a significant good and provided that the procedure is not intrinsically immoral.

3. Plastic surgery would seem to be impermissible if it damage a good greater than that to be achieved, being venial if the difference in the goods were light and potentially mortal if the difference in the goods were grave. Goods that could be damaged are varied. They might involve harming oneself – one’s physical, psychological or spiritual health – or they might involve harming others, such as being financially unable to provide for one’s family in a proper and timely manner. As always, if a procedure is intrinsically immoral, such as so-called trans-gendering surgeries (sex change operation) – it cannot be performed.

Certified, full-fledged plastic surgeons abide by a code of ethics based on the above. According to Dr. Lajo, “As plastic surgeons, we also have ethics – we don’t do sex change (operations). We also have our own ethics when we practice.”

Being beautiful does command a very high price. The question is this: Are you willing to pay the cost? The decision is up to you.