#TransparentTuesday -How I Finally Detangled My Worth From My Appearance

Editor’s note: These posts were written back when my brand name was Remodel Fitness. I’ve decided to include them here without editing them, in the interest of…well… transparency. 😉

#TransparentTuesdays: I used to think of my own hotness as a terrible burden.


Seriously. I was pretty damn close to the standard for traditional white-girl hotness, all things considered.

I was thin, I had big boobs, and I had a face that was fine without makeup but sexy as fuuhhh when I learned certain tricks like contouring and eyelash extensions.

Due to my self-perceived hotness “potential,” I somehow got it in my head that it was my responsibility to the world to look as hot as possible.

I don’t know who I thought this responsibility was to, but I took my job very, very seriously. In high school I learned how to straighten my hair, I mastered celebrity makeup tricks, I wore push-up bras, and I held my belly in as tightly as possible at all times.

I “hid my flaws,” and “played up my assets,” just like every fashion magazine told me to.

The problem is that this felt very stressful. I sometimes felt terrified that someone would “find out” I wasn’t perfect, or find out I was “tricking” them. I wasn’t dressing or looking that way because I wanted to. I was dressing and looking that way because I felt like I had to.

Why?

Because I felt like if I didn’t look that way, I was somehow… robbing the world of my hotness.

Specifically, I felt like I was robbing men of the experience of seeing me all done up and perfect.

The idea of breathing deeply and letting my belly go, or walking around without makeup made me feel guilty, like I was taking away someone else’s rights. I have no idea where that idea came from, and I know it sounds completely crazy.

But guilt is tricky like that.

So I found myself doing whatever it took to somehow “hold up my end of the bargain,” despite the fact that I didn’t even know what the bargain was, or with whom.

I now know that the guilt I was feeling stemmed from a belief that I needed to somehow earn my keep, or become more deserving of my place on earth.

I had been born to a great family, a comfortable socioeconomic situation, good health, and many gifts. I felt like I had been “too lucky” and that it wasn’t fair.

It felt as though the universe had put me on earth and was like: Here, I’ll stack the deck in your favor. In exchange, please be sure to give back.

I felt like I was indebted to someone or something for my cushy life and my good genetics, and I was just trying to give back. Somehow (due to the society we live in maybe), I got it in my head that the best thing I had to offer as my way of “giving back” was how I looked.

I would like to say that I suddenly realized I don’t owe anyone anything for my being here, but that’s not quite true. I work with many clients to understand that they don’t need to earn their keep and that their value is intrinsic, and I do believe that’s true. But that wasn’t what set me free from the shackles of my own self-determined debt.

What changed for me was that I started “giving back” in other ways

And those ways started to feel both more important and valuable, and also much more aligned and authentic.

When the thing I had been “giving back” was a lie, like how it felt when I was wearing makeup and holding in my belly, I always felt depressed and empty.

When I started living my life in a way that felt like I was giving back to the universe in an authentic and meaningful way, I also started feeling alive, purposeful, and guilt-free.

The truth is, I do still feel like I owe the world for my amazing life. Only now it doesn’t feel like a burden, it feels more like a wonderful opportunity. And this time, my payment comes in the form of my work, my integrity, and my life force.

It comes from me doing my best every day as a coach, a friend, a creator, and a human.

Every day I “pay the debt back” by being happy, following my dreams, helping people, sharing my light, and believing in the best in everyone.

My words and actions have become my gifts and offerings to the universe, and I no longer feel like my security depends on me pretending to be something I’m not.

That is why I was finally able to let go of the false importance of my appearance.

That is how I was able to finally detangle myself from the idea that my appearance determined my worth.

I’m very curious to hear if any of this resonates with anyone.

Do you feel guilt, or a desire to pay a debt? If so, how are you paying and to whom?

Hit reply and let me know, or post about it on Instagram or Facebook! Use the hashtag #TransparentTuesdays

<3

Jessi Kneeland Get strong. Feel confident. Look amazing.

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