Gina Mei
April 01, 2015 5:27 am

Last week, Rachel Hollis’ bikini photo and its accompanying caption went viral on Facebook for the most wonderful reason: its totally empowering message of self-love. The post featured a gorgeous candid photo of Hollis on the beach, along with some inspiring words on how important it is that we love our bodies for what they can do, not just how they look. Hollis proclaimed that regardless of any “flaws,” she was proud of her body — that, in fact, those “flaws” were what made her body so beautiful. The post has received over 460,000 likes to date, and for good reason: it’s ridiculously badass.

I wear a bikini because I’m proud of this body and every mark on it,” Hollis said, and women the world over nodded in agreement (because heck yeah!). Her post — which encouraged women to love and flaunt our bodies, “stripes” and all — caused thousands of women to respond with words of thanks, declarations of renewed self-appreciation, and bikini shots of their own. And now, Hollis wants to return the favor.

In a lovely video for the “Momfessions” series on her blog, The Chic Site, Hollis expresses how touched she is that so many have responded so positively to her post. The video features a few of Hollis’ favorite comments and photos that she’s received — each an empowering reminder that all bodies are beautiful, capable, and worthy of love. It’s a mega-inspiration in its own right, and the perfect complement to the original message behind her photo.

“People keep asking me my reaction to everything that has happened,” she says in the video, “and I am so overwhelmed, because this is not anything that I did. This is something you did.”

Twelve thousand people have commented on that photo, and have posted their own pictures,” she continues. “Women and men of every size and shape, from all over the world, from different backgrounds, are standing up and saying ‘Who I am, right now, today, is enough. This is what the real me looks like, and it is enough. . . This is my body and I am grateful for it, and I am beautiful.'”

As if the original caption weren’t already inspiring enough, this new video is an extra reminder how essential it is that we practice self-love and kindness, always — and we couldn’t love it more. The video encourages us to share our own “beautiful scars,” and to tag any social media posts with #RealAndChic as a means of keeping the body love movement alive.

“I am so inspired by all of these women,” Hollis told People Magazine this week. “People keep saying I have inspired them, and that’s completely backwards because I am the one who is so impressed and amazed about what everyone is doing.”

“I wanted to have a chance to reach out to all these women who are posting photos, and I wanted to read some of the quotes that have been really meaningful and have really touched my heart, because I think that this needs to be celebrated,” she continued. “As much as I didn’t intend for this to become a movement, it has, and so I want to celebrate those women who are carrying that torch forward.”

We remain as grateful as ever to Hollis for lighting it in the first place.

(Featured image via video.)