If you don’t look like supermodels on the runway or in advertisements, it’s easy to be critical of your body. In fact, when we grow accustomed to seeing idealized depictions of the female body, we may come to believe that there is something wrong with us for not looking the same way — and that sentiment can seep into the minds of women and girls of all ages.
Just ask Rachel Spencer, who HuffPost reports took to Instagram this week to share a side-by-side photo of her 13-year-old self and her 26-year-old self to demonstrate the importance of body confidence. According to HuffPost, the confidence and success coach shared an image that shows her younger self covering her stomach in a swimsuit and her current self showing off her body with the caption “Self Love Queen.”
Her lengthy caption detailed why young Rachel was ashamed of her body because boys bullied her, which HuffPost says made her no longer want to go to the pool, let alone show off her body. Exacerbated by the media’s representation of women’s bodies, HuffPost says Spencer shared she felt at age 13 that she needed to change the way she looked.
“Why was a 13 year old worried about cellulite??? Because the media told her it was bad. That SHE was bad and needed to change,” she wrote.
But, Spencer finally managed to overcome these feelings with a little self love.
“There’s a big difference between the closed off, hiding, young girl on the left and the carefree, happy, open girl on the right. ❤️And that difference is self love.❤️” she wrote, according to HuffPost. “I taught it to myself. I had to. I had to find a way to be happy. The process wasn’t quick. I’m still working on it at 26 years old.”
Spencer concluded her post with a message to anyone who is still uncomfortable with their bodies, says HuffPost, saying that every body is a beautiful body.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”