Woman posts inspirational message after strangers 'pointed and laughed' at her beach body
One sad truth about life is that no matter how confident you feel, there's always going to be a troll there to bash you down.
But - if you have the self-awareness to realise that their ignorance shouldn't be your problem, that's when you're truly winning.
This is exactly what one woman taught people on the internet when she stood up to a group of men who mocked her when she wore a bikini on the beach last week.
Shelley Proebstel was visiting Mount Maunganui Beach with her friend on January 12 when she was cruelly ridiculed by strangers who pointed and laughed at her physique.
Rather than get upset though, she took to Facebook to write a post on her Bald and Beautiful page, educating the men on the damage they were doing.
"To the guys who pointed and laughed when I took my sarong off today at Mt Maunganui Beach, bearing my soul (my bikini body) to the world, I just want to say (excuse my language but) F*CK YOU," she wrote. "It’s because of d*ckheads like you that people are so incredibly insecure about their body image."
She continued: "It’s because of people like you that women especially don’t feel safe or confident or comfortable to go out in society in something like a bikini, or a crop top, or a short dress, or with their midriff showing. It’s because of people like you that people starve themselves and make themselves sick in an attempt to maintain a ‘model-like figure.'"
"It’s because of people like you that people wear long sleeves all year round because they are scared to show their arms. It’s because of people like you that people become anorexic, obese, bulimic, self-harm, commit suicide … I could go on. No, you are not responsible for the entirety … But YES, you have to take some responsibility."
To finish up, Shelley encouraged others to have the self-confidence to ignore the haters and hold their heads high, saying: "So next time you see someone like me on the beach in a bikini or in a situation similar, before you laugh and point, take a moment to think about the damage you may just do. Because not every person, young or old, male or female, will have learnt to have the thick skin, or the resilience, or the self-confidence, that I do to brush it off."
"I won’t lie, there was a split second that I almost quickly covered up again, and then I reminded myself of all I have learnt on this journey, and I held my head high and stuck my belly out and wore that bikini with pride."
In addition, in another post, the New Zealander clapped back at commentators who accused her of "promoting obesity", telling them she does yoga, walks long distances with her dogs, does dance classes and works out in the gym three times a week.
"I am a lot fitter and healthier than a lot of 'skinny' people. My weight has nothing to do with poor life choices (regarding exercise or nutrition) but also, it’s none of your f**ken business why my weight is what it is!" she said.
The New Zealand blogger's decision to not be shamed into covering up was celebrated by hundreds of people online, who flooded the comment section with praise.
"You are Beautiful x well done you for not caring about what you should look like to people...I love girls/woman who are comfortable in their skin x GOOOOOO You x, [sic]" wrote Facebook user Maraea Ririnui.
She was joined by Raiha Tepu-Takuira who put: "I simply don’t see what’s wrong with this photo. All i see is confidence and beauty. [sic]"
Good on Shelley for standing up to the haters. The next time you're feeling insecure on the beach, think of her and pull off that sarong!