It’s not easy living in a world full of beauty standards, and Tess Holliday gets that. The 34-year-old took to Instagram to share a lengthy message about why it’s crucial for everyone to love themselves wholeheartedly no matter what they’re going through.

“I snapped this yesterday after my workout because I felt cute!” she captioned a photo of herself at the gym followed by screenshots of hateful and loving comments from strangers. “I never share these photos to prove anything, but it’s a conscious choice to share the ways I move my body because it de-stigmatizes the notion that plus-size folks aren’t healthy/active.


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Then she raised an important question. “For me, I workout because it helps me in many ways, but what about those that can’t [like] non able-bodied folks or those that have illnesses that prevent them from doing so?” she wrote. “Does that mean that they aren’t allowed to love their bodies? Are we only granting self-love these days to those that are perceived as ‘healthy?’ I’m told often that it’s my obligation as a public figure to educate folks that physical health is more important than self-love.”

Tess’ motto is that no matter what each person’s circumstance is, they should thrive to accept themselves as they are despite what other may say or think. “But really, my only obligation to y’all is to live a life as authentic and transparent as possible. I will continue to show that loving your body in whatever state, is vital. You can work out all you want, but if you hate yourself, no amount of weight loss will fix that.”

The curvy model also added that she understands how difficult the process of achieving self-love is, but she knows firsthand that it’s possible. “I have tried to shrink myself metaphorically, to be invisible, to not stand out or take up space because I was so ashamed of my body. Why? Because I didn’t know it was okay to love myself, AS IS. This kind of self-love doesn’t happen overnight.”

She concluded, “If you take anything away from this, be kind, always be the bigger person (in my case that’s easy!), treat others with compassion and realize that you deserve to love yourself as is.” Well said, girl!