Do Tattoos Make Us Feel Better About Ourselves?

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For my last blog post I wanted to write about something I was really interested in. I thought about our current generation and our love for body art, mainly tattoos. It is very rare to meet someone that does not have at least one tattoo these days. It has become pretty normal, but still taboo if excessive. I have a tattoo myself and plan to get more the future. It was something I enjoyed getting, and I like the look it has given my body. I decided to research and see if this want for tattooing had something to do with the brain. If only some of us had this trigger in the brain that made us want to continue modifying our bodies.

I found and article in Psychology Today titled If Tattoos Could Talk. This article discussed how this is something humans have been doing since the beginning of time. This article said tattoos may have been done in the past to ease pain, and could also be done to conform to society or to show when someone is an adult. Tattoos make you look like a more interesting person. People also get tattoos to show certain religious or magical symbols which help strengthen that person. This is article also talked about tattoos and self-esteem, and that stood out to me. When people get a new tattoo they tend to feel better about themselves, maybe even more attractive. Could this be a real self-esteem issue?

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I could not find any articles that talked about tattoos and self-esteem and the cognitive level, but I still wanted to explain the brain and self- esteem. An article in the Huffington Post titled, This is Where Self-Esteem Lives in the Brain, gives a little information about the topic. A recent study has shown the self-esteem is in the frontostriatal pathway of the brain. This pathway connects the medial prefrontal cortex, and the ventral striatum. These have to do with self-knowledge and our feelings of reward. This makes sense for some people that gets tattoos to boost self-esteem. If someone has self-knowledge that is low, which can mean a low mental health state or a low thoughts of one self, that same person may get the tattoo as a reward.

This blog post is not to say that everyone that gets a tattoo has low self-esteem. I think people have many reasons for getting inked and low self-esteem is one of many. The self-esteem option was just the one I was most interested in. Since tattoos are gaining popularity I hope more research will be done to see why people decided on this particular option. I someone is getting a tattoo for self-esteem reasons will they ever have enough?

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Regardless or your reasoning for any body modification. If it’s not harmful to yourself or anyone else I say tattoo on!

6 thoughts on “Do Tattoos Make Us Feel Better About Ourselves?

  1. amarti22

    I have never been a big fond of tattoos in general, but Im not completely opposed to them. I just have always thought that normally when people get a tattoo they get a meaningful representation of an event in their lives, but I have always thought that if you’re going to get a tattoo you might as well get something completely irrelevant and out of the blue because the eventful thing you are most likely to remember regardless of having that tattoo or not. So I guess my question is, for those who get something random, how can this help their self-esteem; like what aspect of the tattoo actually give you psychological peace.

  2. Bri

    What an interesting blog post! I don’t have any tattoos but I plan on getting my first one this summer and getting many more after. It was interesting to read about how it may be linked to self esteem and I appreciate that you found a different article that explains self esteem in the brain. Is there a correlation between the number of tattoos someone gets and their self esteem level? It would be interesting to explore further!

  3. ellietruffa

    As someone who plans on getting tattoos, I find this to be very interesting. I definitely think that the relationship between self-esteem, the brain, and body modification should be explored further. I know after break ups, I tend to change my hair, or do something else to help reinvent myself and increase my self-esteem. So it definitely makes sense to me that tattoos or the getting of them can help increase people’s self-esteem. For me, getting my nose pierced was much of the same idea. Afterwards, my self-esteem only increased, and I felt like a more interesting, intriguing person.

  4. mcao

    Super interesting post! The connection between tattoos and self esteem is fascinating in the aspect that when people get meaningful tattoos or tattoos that have stories, most of the time they are symbolic and empowering to the person. I have a few tattoos and they each have a personal meaning and tell a story and I got them as reminders of and to myself. And regardless of if it’s a random tattoo and you’re right, tattoos might just empower the person because they feel happier covered in tattoos. I wonder what caused the social view shift from viewing tattoos historically viewed in a more negative light (jail, crime, pain, hardships) to a more positive, culturally accepted thing (movie tattoos, watercolor flowers)? Regardless, now it’s a personal form of expression, of art. And I am all for doing whatever you want to do with your body as long as you are willing to live with the responsibilities it brings!

  5. Samantha Worman

    Erica,
    I really found this interesting. I remember when I was in high school and I saw the first girl in our class get a tattoo. She was really into in and showed it off a lot. Everyone really liked her for getting it. Clearly she has a huge boost in self-esteem with that. When I think about my own tattoos, I have never thought of self-esteem before. Many of mine are private and covered. Most people don’t know that I actually have nine instead of the two that they can see on my wrist and finger. I liked the psychology today article that talks about how tattoo’s are symbolic and ease pain. The majority of mine have very specific meanings to me and I don’t care of others don’t understand them because they are for my personal use. Great job on your last article! It really grabbed my attention!

  6. mdeasis

    This was an incredibly interesting blog post. I have 3 tattoos currently and plan on getting a lot more later on. I can definitely relate with the self-esteem thing because I definitely feel a boost of confidence every time I get a new one. I have three that mean a lot to me but I know a lot of people who get tattoos solely for the art of it. I liked how you associated tattoos with confidence and this would be a wonderful topic to explore even further!

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