Harvey Austin
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What symbols live on your face? Classic Series...Number 7spacer gif

by Harvey H. Austin, MD

"The problem of symbols is even worse: we become what the symbols say about us."
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spacer gifOur faces are full of features. And these features are symbols. Some features, like large eyes, are symbols of attractiveness. Other features, like bags under the eyes, may symbolize unattractiveness. Even though symbols are just symbols, not truth, they still mean something to others… and to ourselves. A symbol may lie about us, saying we are unattractive when inside, we are beautiful.

spacer gifWhen one or more symbols are "off", life seems harder. How painful to see someone frown rather than smile when he first sees our face. Even though the problem lies deeply embedded in our culture of lookism, our pain is intensely personal.

Symbols lie about us

spacer gifOne of our features, say our nose, may be the family gift from our grandfather yet it may symbolize coarseness or masculinity when it shows up on a young woman. A receding chin, memory of a favorite aunt, may be a symbol of weakness. The thin lips or low eyebrows of an uncle may symbolize harshness.

spacer gifWhen we look at another person, most of us guess what they are like. If she looks cruel, she probably is, we reason. If he looks tired, he probably is, we think. This thinking goes on automatically and we "buy" our own first impressions. We are wrong as often as not.

spacer gifSymbols are embedded in our very language: "She looks like she ate something bad." "Don't give me that look!" "He sure looks snooty." "She looks down in the mouth." 

We become like the symbols

spacer gifThe problem of symbols is even worse: we become what the symbols say about us. It seems to work like this. The feedback from our mirrors and the feedback from other people act as instructions.

spacer gif So, gradually, without realizing it, our personalities shift to match the symbols. If we look sad, we become sad. If we look angry, we become angry. "It makes me mad when someone says I look mad", she declared.

spacer gifIt's a down-hill spiral. It starts with the feature, the symbol. The symbol results in psychic pain. Then we become what the symbol says. This is more painful. The pain shows on our face, intensifying the symbol. And down the spiral goes.

Cosmetic surgery alters symbols

spacer gifCosmetic surgery is about altering the symbols that tell lies about us. Afterwards, our faces and our inner beings become more harmonious and our pain begins to lessen.

spacer gifNose: An enlarged nose can over-power your face and even give a sinister look. Plastic surgeons can shorten your long nose, or remove the hump. One woman, five feet two, said, "My nose would look great — if I were six feet two — and male!" Sometimes a nose makes me look a bit silly, not to be taken seriously. We can narrow enlarged nostrils, narrow a bulbous tip.

spacer gifCheeks and Necks: Fat cheeks or a fat neck can say you are overweight, even if you aren't. The heavy-faced can have their cheeks or neck liposuctioned to give them a more sculpted contour. Some thin-faced individuals can achieve the sculpted look of beauty by augmenting the cheekbones with implants or augmenting the sides of the lower jaw to balance a thin lower face.

spacer gifChin: The chin is a major facial symbol. When soft, it is a symbol of timidity; when strong a symbol of power. When we view an attractive face from the side, the chin reaches to the "balance point." A weak chin doesn't come out that far. Augmenting it is a simple task which does more to increase beauty than almost anything. In addition, one feels more assertive. "I voice my opinion more. I feel stronger."

spacer gifOther: We can soften masculine features on a woman to have her feel more feminine. Drooping and slow-looking upper eyelids can be brightened. Familial bags-under-the-eyes can be removed. Protruding ears can be brought in closer. Low eyebrows, symbolizing anger, can be raised with a brow lift.

To look more like you

spacer gifIf we all had magic wands, most would wave it at one of our own features. Even though cosmetic surgery has no magic wands, you can find out in a consultation visit what can be done to have your symbols say the right stuff about you.

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Harvey W. Austin, MD
Box 1470
Berlin MD 21811

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