to an upcoming book entitled:
The Uplifted Face
by Harvey W. Austin, MD
NOTE: Each book chapter is also available in .pdf file format and may be viewed, downloaded and pages selectively printed using the free Acrobat Reader. Be sure to use the most recent version to avoid any error messages; also provided are directions for using Acrobat Reader if you need help. If you've never downloaded the Acrobat Reader before...
For more than 30 years I have been a plastic surgeon, with the last 20 devoted exclusively to cosmetic surgery.
Over and over, as a cosmetic surgeon I have seen anger disappear because a person no longer looks angry. I have seen sadness disappear after we erase the symbols of sadness. I have seen age fall away when we erase the symbols of aging. Popular psychology tells us that our basic attitudes show up on our face, but I have had to conclude that anger, sadness, bitterness, and premature aging may be a result of the symbols on the face or body
My view of cosmetic surgery is based on the notion that each of us has an inner essence which is always young, vibrant and beautiful. Yet this essence is often hidden by a mask. The mask may be either physical or psychological, usually both. The mask may have been born with us or it may have developed over time, hiding our inner beauty. The physical mask may have symbols of aging - sagging jowls or baggy eyelids - though inside we may feel quite young. Or low eyebrows and a down-turned mouth may suggest personality traits that have little to do with our true identity or attitude. A characteristic expression, even when the face is relaxed, may make us look perpetually angry, sad, or bitter. Yet we may not feel that way at all. Or our mask may simply be unattractive. Any of these characteristics may be so strong they distract others from seeing us as we really are. And keep us from seeing ourselves rightly.
While we think traditionally of a mask as a face covering, some of us have body masks. Cosmetic surgery can remove the physical mask, whether face or body. It works by altering the symbols, revealing our underlying essence. The true face is revealed! The true body is revealed!
Afterwards we not only look better ("more like the real me"), we feel better about ourselves. As our body shifts, our psychological mask falls away also. We become more whole. In this manner spirit follows form.
We suspect such a psychological transformation occurs because the feedback alters. No longer does the bathroom mirror tell us that something is "off." No longer do others unconsciously react to our symbols of "offness" or dysharmony. Instead they now relate to our new harmony. We begin to get the message from our mirror and from others that we are O.K. These messages gradually replace old messages and create an ease of acceptance.
My experience has led me to conclude that cosmetic surgeons are thus in the profession of transformation revealing what is already present, but hidden. Change the symbol and you change the person's experience of the world.
If you have considered cosmetic surgery, as I once did, as the province of movie stars, the ridiculously wealthy, and the terminally vain reconsider. Cosmetic surgery has become more profound than merely fixing flaws. It has become an effective means of transforming lives by revealing essence. It can be life-altering.
You may read this book because you are considering cosmetic surgery and have mixed feelings. Or perhaps you are concerned because a friend or loved one is about to have it. I will give you everything I know, everything I suspect and everything I have dreamed.
Harvey W. Austin, MD ©2000
Harvey W. Austin, MD
Berlin MD 21811
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