Q: I was born good looking. When I was a teen, something unfortunate happened to my face, causing the mandible to grow much larger on one side of my face. It appears larger on one side and makes me look older as a person. I became obsessed with finding a solution to return back to my original face. I’m still good looking but want to improve this slight defect. What would your suggestion be? To accept my face the way it is and move on? Or look for a treatment to resolve this?
Accepting Your Appearance Versus Getting Plastic Surgery
A: You didn’t ask specifically about plastic surgery, but I don’t think there is any other way to treat your condition. That is, I don’t believe there are foods, exercises, or medications you can take to change the way your jawbone has grown.
I’m a big fan of accepting our flaws and weaknesses, and surrendering to “what is.” For instance, my husband and I can’t have children because of infertility issues, and we’ve chosen not to purse fertility treatments. Instead, we’re focusing on other aspects of life that make us happy – and we’re volunteering with Big Sisters of the Lower Mainland and Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, to mentor kids who live in single parent homes.
That said, however, your appearance is different than our medical condition. Your face is one of the first things people see, and it may affect how they treat you. And, research shows that good-looking people get paid more money and are hired for better jobs than average looking people. Your appearance may also affect your self-esteem and confidence levels.
But, everyone has slight defects in their appearance – nobody looks perfect! And since you left your question on my article about overcoming perfectionism, I wonder if you’re seeking something impossible.
So, should you accept your face the way it is, or research plastic surgery options? It depends on how “bad” your face looks. Do kids and puppies run away screaming when they see you? Probably not (if they did, I suspect you’d already have looked for treatments!). Do your family and friends tell you your “much larger” mandible is barely noticeable? Then maybe you’re being overly sensitive to your appearance. You yourself said it was a slight defect.
Sometimes we’re more sensitive to our perceived flaws than other are. When I have a zit on my face, I think everyone is staring at it…when in reality they’re more concerned about the zits on their own faces! We are super sensitive to our own faces, and we barely notice others (unless we’re comparing ourselves to them).
The bottom line is that I can’t tell you if you should accept your face the way it is or look for plastic surgery options. Only you can decide what is best for you. But, I think you need to look at your reasons for wanting to change your face. A truly strong, confident, happy, and healthy person does not put much stock in his face, because he knows that who he is is far more important than what he looks like. You need to make sure you’re not seeking plastic surgery or other treatments because of low self-esteem, because changing your appearance will not increase your self-esteem.
I encourage you to write down all the reasons you want to change your face. Is it holding you back socially or professionally? Does it affect your romantic life or ability to relate to other people? If you want to change your appearance because you don’t look perfect, then I think it’s better to learn how to accept your face the way it is.
If you want to look into different types of plastic surgery, read Thinking About Getting Plastic Surgery? The Best Place to Start.
Better yet, read 8 Things You Never Knew About Being a Beautiful Woman. It says “woman” in the title and throughout the article, but it applies to men, too!
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.