When it comes to self-love , Instagram is not always our best friend. On a platform that boasts the most curated of photos and videos, users are more likely to see a skewed view of reality than one that they can truly relate to—which is why we love when users take advantage of the platform to get real about their journey to body confidence .
Rachel Spencer ( @mylifecoachrachel ), who calls herself a “Confidence & Success Coach,” did just that on Wednesday, when she posted two side-by-side photos to Instagram. On the left is a photo of her 13-year-old self, labeled “low self-esteem.” She sits in a bathing suit on the beach smiling up at the camera, but she’s hiding her torso with her arms. On the right, she sits proud at 26 years old, one hand on her hip, showing off her body. That image is labeled “self love queen.”
In the caption, Rachel asks, “Who taught the young girl on the left to hide her tummy before taking pictures in a swimsuit? Who taught her that at only 13 years old, her chubby little body was unworthy of a photographic memory?” She explains that the media, with its plugs for everything from “diet culture, fitness, cellulite cream,” contributed in part to her insecurities as a young girl.
Rachel also goes on to reveal that in her adolescence, she was bullied by boys about her weight—but eventually, she taught herself to love her curves and be proud of her body. She ends her story with a call for others to embrace self-love , too. “I have a message for all the women who are much older and STILL feel ashamed to show their tummy at the pool: Don’t be,” she writes. “Put on that bikini and smile. Don’t feel the need to let other people’s opinions ruin precious memories with your friends and family. Show your daughters what it’s like to flaunt their flaws at the pool. No shame. Your imperfections tell a story. Your body is beautiful. You are BEAUTIFUL.”
It’s an inspiring, body-positive message we can totally get behind.
Check out Rachel’s Instagram below.
Watch: Iskra Lawrence: How I Learned to Love My Body