Gina Mei
March 26, 2015 3:25 pm

When Rachel Hollis posted a photo of herself wearing a bikini to her blog’s Facebook page, she didn’t think much of it. She assumed it would get the normal amount of likes, and that would be that. But instead, her photo — and its inspiring caption — became a viral hit, and we’re feeling all kinds of awesome about what she had to say.

And her message clearly struck a chord, because the photo has racked up more than 385,000 likes since she posted it last weekend. Hollis, an event planner and the woman behind the popular blog, The Chic Site, was floored by the response.

“People have been so positive and writing the most beautiful, inspiring things,” Hollis told Cosmopolitan, “I’m totally humbled by everyone’s reaction.”

The fact that the photo has gone viral so quickly shows just how much Hollis’ words and photo resonated for so many women. The picture is candid — after attempting many “pretty” and “posey” photos, she ended up laughing at how awkward she looked in them, resulting in this final snapshot — and her genuine laughter is part of what makes the picture so wonderful. Hollis looks totally happy, regardless of her so-called “flaws” (of which we see absolutely none) — and it’s ridiculously empowering.

The pressure to achieve the “perfect body” is as strong as ever, especially for new mothers. We live in a culture where celebrity moms are pressured to lose pregnancy weight and get their bodies “back to normal” ASAP, or else get torn apart by tabloids and the media. It’s tiring and completely not OK, and all women (new moms included) should be allowed to feel proud of what their bodies are capable of! Hollis had just run her first marathon the week before her photo was taken, and she wanted to share how strong and powerful it had made her feel.

“I had been working so hard training for this race and I felt so proud of my body,” she told Today, “[I’m] never ever going to be like a Victoria’s Secret model, but I think I look good and my husband wants to make out with me, so I’m doing something right.”

Hollis’ picture (and accompanying caption) is a much-needed reminder that all bodies are beautiful — that we should be proud of all the amazing things that our bodies can do, rather than scrutinize how they look. This is why it’s so important that we celebrate bodies of all forms, of all women, of all experiences. We can often get so caught up in hating on our bodies, that we forget to appreciate how incredible they are. Hollis’ picture is proof of that.

“Women want real,” Hollis said to The Huffington Post. “They want to see things that are aspirational but it needs to be tempered by the truth. It’s fine to show lives on social media with blown out hair and cute outfits but we need to be honest about the hard stuff as well. The truth makes us feel like we’re not alone . . .  the truth makes us think ‘Me Too! I feel that way too!'”

We couldn’t be more grateful that Hollis dished out the honesty in such a rad way.

(Image via.)

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