Tattooing is becoming more and more common. In fact, data from Statistics Brain indicated that some 14 percent of people in the U.S. have at least one tattoo. No longer just the province of specific subcultural niches, the art's growing ubiquity means you can see tattoos anywhere from the bar to the boardroom.
Especially among younger adults, tattooing can be a fun and exciting rite of passage or act of youth rebellion. But many people find themselves cursing the decisions of their youth as they venture deeper into adulthood. In fact, studies have been conducted into the main factors contributing to tattoo regret, and some researchers may have uncovered just what it is that transforms showiness into shame.
The social factors
A study reported by Time found that one of the biggest factors that seemed responsible for nurturing tattoo regret stems not from the recipient of the tattoo, but the people around them in their lives. According to the study data, people who grew up around people with tattoos were, as you might imagine, less likely to feel strangely toward tattoos or harbor any tattoo stigma. However, there was also a direct relationship reported between the number of tattoos a person had and the pressure they felt from their social circles regarding their tattoos. Not surprisingly, greater feelings of stigmatization tended to lead toward more instances of tattoo regret and, ultimately, the quest for removal.
Making it mean something
So what is it that leads most people to feel silly about their tattoo decisions later in life? According to Time, it's lack of meaning. We all want to feel like our tattoos have meaning to us, and if a decision to head to the tattoo parlor is little more than a whim, such capriciousness is far more likely to catch up to you later down the road. Time reported that in 2008, 16 percent of Americans surveyed said they experienced tattoo regret, and for many of those, their tattoos were spontaneous, with neither the choice to get inked or the actual tattoo itself holding any particular meaning for them.
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