This woman bravely decided to shut down the haters with this bikini picture

This woman bravely decided to shut down the haters with this bikini picture

Meet Michelle Elman.

Picture: Instagram

The 21-year-old recently decided to share a picture of herself in a bikini - something she said is one of the most difficult things she has ever done.

Elman has been through 15 surgeries, had a brain tumour, a punctured intestine, an obstructed bowel, a cyst in her brain and has lived for the last 21 years with a condition called Hydrocephalus. But, she said, the "scars have always been the hardest part".

The Londoner, who is also a body confidence coach, told i100.co.uk, she decided to take the brave step in order to start a conversation about body image - particularly for people, who like her, have scars they feel self-conscious about.

For many years, I would sit on Google and type in questions like 'how do I tell my boyfriend about my scars' and nothing would come up. There was no one talking about it.

She'd been put off wearing a bikini since childhood after receiving a range of reactions "from disgust to pity". She thought she'd be put off for life, with her scars "making already awkward moments in your adolescence even more uncomfortable".

But things changed this year. While she acknowledged that her scars made people feel uncomfortable, she said she could no longer allow "other people’s disgust [to be] my own".

Elman told i100.co.uk she'd learned to appreciate her body through enduring long recovery periods from surgery, which often left her bed-ridden. "Every morning that I can put my feet on the floor I am grateful because for many months, and in many instances, even that wasn't possible...

"Now, I am at a place where there is only love and gratitude, I love my body whole-heartedly and there are no conditions on that."

The vast majority of responses to her post have been positive, and even though some have been spiteful, Elman has batted them away with fierce positivity:

She now wants to spread the love, get everyone to show off their bodies in bikinis, and make this "the summer of scars". She writes on Instagram:

My belief is that no one should have to feel ashamed of their body, whether you have stretch marks or a C-section scar so... THIS summer, let’s stand up and be proud of our scars and what they represent - a story!

Check out Michelle's website: MindsetForLife

HT BuzzFeed

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