Wabi-Sabi: The Acceptance of Transience & Imperfection. A World View & Aesthetic Often Described as One of Appreciating Beauty That is “Imperfect, Impermanent, and Incomplete”.

Plastic surgery goals are to improve aesthetics and or function, but there are limitations. Unlike oftentimes portrayed by the media, plastic surgery is not magical, and not everything can be reshaped or improved to the degree that patients and surgeons may want. Human tissues are not like clay, which can be precisely molded and manipulated. They sometimes lack structure or rigidity, which makes it difficult to reshape and retain a shape made in surgery, such as fat.
Moreover, tissues with more structure (such as cartilage) are slightly easier to reshape. But, unlike clay, the new shape can change over time because human tissues are made of living cells that have their own agenda (DNA) or are dynamic in nature. Therefore, there are some changes that plastic surgery cannot do or attempt because they are considered to be too morbid (very high chance of complications). For instance, a few easy examples to understand are the height of a person, the width of the chest, or the shape of the skull. We cannot practically change them. We have to learn to love ourselves with some of our “imperfections,” which in turn make us unique. A personal consultation is the only way to tell if you have realistic aesthetic goals.

Dr. Rivera-Serrano aims for perfection as the only way to get great results but does not strictly believe in it, given beauty is subjective and perfect ratios may lead to inorganic looks, everyone looking alike, and lacking true attractiveness and uniqueness. Edgar Allan Poe once wrote, “there is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion,” while actually paraphrasing Sir Francis Bacon in the essay “Of Beauty.”

Patients looking for absolute “perfection” should abstain from having plastic surgery procedures, given there will be a high risk of disappointment. In contrast, Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. It’s a world view and aesthetic often described as one of appreciating beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature, in humans, and it is prevalent in all forms of Japanese art. If you are not familiar with the Wabi-sabi Japanese aesthetic concept, you should check it out! Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect, and therein lies the beauty. Plastic surgery can help, but learn to love yourself and your inner circle with your and their imperfections.

Can you imagine a world where everyone looks the same and is wearing the same clothes? A world where all trees, plants, buildings, etc., look “perfectly” symmetric and identical? All cars have the same shape and colors. It would be inorganic, artificial, and boring. Learn and dare to be different, be respectful of others, and be proud of it!