Many of you have seen Robbie Tripp’s Instagram post about his wife, Sarah, which recently went viral.  In the post, he professes his love for his wife and her curvy body.

“I love this woman and her curvy body. As a teenager, I was often teased by my friends for my attraction to girls on the thicker side, ones who were shorter and curvier, girls that the average (basic) bro might refer to as “chubby” or even “fat.” Then, as I became a man and started to educate myself on the issues such as feminism and how the media marginalizes women by portraying a very narrow and very specific standard of beauty (thin, tall, lean) I realized how many men have bought into that lie. For me, there is nothing sexier than this woman right here: thick thighs, big booty, cute little side roll, etc. Her shape and size won’t be the one featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan, but it’s the one featured in my heart. There is nothing to me more sexy than a woman who is curvy and confident; this gorgeous girl I married fills out every inch of her jeans and is still the most beautiful one in the room. Guys, rethink what society has told you that you should desire. A real woman is not a porn star or a bikini mannequin or a movie character. She’s real. She has beautiful stretch marks on her hips and cute little dimples on her booty. Girls, don’t ever fool yourself by thinking you have to fit a certain mold to be loved and appreciated. There is a guy out there who is going to celebrate you for exactly who you are, someone who will love you like I love my Sarah.”

The post, which has been picked up by Good Morning America, has received both praise and criticism.

This husband, Robbie, unapologetically expresses his love for his wife and her curvy body. While I applaud Robbie for standing up to the narrow-minded ideals of beauty, my interest was less focused on Robbie’s love for his wife, and more so on Sarah. And Sarah’s ability to practice her self-love which allowed Robbie to more fully love her, and express that love.

Let me explain.

It is easier for others to love us when we love ourselves. Many men and women wait around hoping that someone else’s love will make them love themselves or feel complete. While that may seem promising, it doesn’t really work that way. We must first love ourselves in order to allow others to fully love us. And for us to fully accept that love.

If we truly believe we are unloveable (awful, ugly, etc.), it’s too difficult for us to accept that someone else truly loves us (believes we are good, beautiful, etc.). Instead, we tend to second guess their honesty and incentives, which undermines trust in a relationship. And that makes it difficult to successfully move forward.  

Based on what Robbie expressed in his post, it’s clear to me that Sarah loves herself. That is not to say she doesn’t struggle with insecurities like the rest of us. Or that his love hasn’t helped her increase her own self-love. However, as a result of her practice of self-love and her husband’s support, her husband is able to love her fully and for Sarah to fully accept that love. 

While she exudes confidence, her self-love did not come without challenges. She openly shares her struggles and successes on her blog and through social media, with her 257k Instagram followers. This inspiring woman agreed to answer some questions and share some words of wisdom with us. Read the Q&A session below!

Q. What does being body-positive mean to you?

Sarah Tripp: Being body positive means loving and accepting your body because it’s yours. It’s about departing from what society and the media portray as “beautiful” or “sexy” and realizing that your shape, your size is both beautiful and sexy. It’s about being confident in who you are, celebrating what you love about your body and accepting what you don’t. Being body positive is as much about being healthy and feeling good as it is about being confident and looking good.

Q. What motivated you to become a body positive activist and share your experiences with self-esteem and body image?

ST: I started Sassy Red Lipstick in 2013 and after blogging for about a year and a half, I realized two things: first, I was just another fashion blogger in a seemingly endless sea of fashion bloggers and I needed to find my niche. Second, I wanted to do more than just post pretty things on the internet, I wanted to have a positive impact on the world.

I soon realized that being a curvy girl is what set me apart from other bloggers and that celebrating my size would not only allow me to carve my path in a traditionally thin industry but also allow me to empower other curvy women. I started posting openly about my body love journey and haven’t looked back since. In the years since, I’ve been fortunate to gain a worldwide following of women who follow me for style inspiration because they see I’m a relatable size and I understand what it’s like to be a curvy girl in fashion.

Q. What has been most important to you in developing and maintaining a healthyself-love tips self esteem and body image?

ST: It’s all about taking little steps and promising to love yourself today more than you did the day before. Any self-love journey is filled with ups and downs. There are good days and bad days. The goal is to focus on the positive and push away the negative. It’s like anything in life, I suppose.

I also am such a big proponent of doing the important things in life to feel good, not just look good. I know that when I feel the worst about my body and myself, it’s because I’ve been working on my laptop in my pajamas all day, eating poorly, and not being active enough. But when my meals are healthy, I go to spin class, and I get ready for my workday, I feel great. It’s all about tuning in to what makes you feel the best and then you’ll naturally just look your best.

Q. How does your husband and other people you love support you in maintaining/developing a healthy self-esteem and healthy body image? 

ST: I’ve been very open about my husband’s prominent role in helping me to love and accept my body. Robbie has loved every inch of me since the day we met and has always celebrated my curves. Up until I met Robbie, I really had no idea that guys loved girls with thick thighs and love handles. There are so many single curvy girls out there who think this same way, feeling hopeless because they’re not the typical size 2 that every guy around them wants to date.

Not true! Robbie helped me realize that my body was beautiful and sexy and that has given me so much confidence. Whenever I’m having a down day, he makes me list three things that I love about myself. They don’t even have to be about my body, they can be any attribute. The key is focusing on the positive, focusing on the things you love about yourself and letting go of the rest.

Q. How do you handle negative messages from society and the media about unrealistic standards of beauty?

ST: It’s really disappointing to see such limiting views of women and their bodies in the media. People just don’t realize that the models they’re seeing are usually a size 0 or below and the average American woman is a size 16! It’s such a misrepresentation and fuels these really harmful ideals to girls/women that they’re not good enough. Fortunately, we are making great strides in recent years with women like Ashley Graham paving the way for plus size models to be featured in mainstream ads and opening doors for curvy women everywhere. We still have a long way to go but it’s been great seeing so many companies like Aerie and Target use models that represent all shapes and sizes.

Q. What challenges have you had to overcome on your journey to self-love?

ST: The only real battle in a journey to self-love is the one in the mirror. It’s so important to push off the tendency to think negative thoughts and get in the habit of being positive and loving. There will be days where you will feel gross and heavy and unattractive but it’s all about realizing those are just negative thoughts that don’t define you.

Overcoming your own doubt and low self-esteem takes time but it’s the most worthwhile thing in the world. It’s taken me years to get where I am today, a place where I love and accept my body and celebrate it. Overcoming speed bumps in the road to self-love is difficult in the moment but achieving a state of happiness with yourself is worth the uncomfortable struggle. Believe in yourself, believe that you have worth, and that it is not tied to any number on a scale or label in clothing.

Q. What is the most common question women come to you with and how do you respond?

ST: I receive so many messages from women asking me how I have so much confidence and how I learned to love my body. I always try to remind them that I’m human and I have good and bad days just like anyone. I tell them that I have made a conscious decision to love my body and that each day I try to love myself a little more. I remind them that I am always here to be their cheerleader if they don’t have someone like Robbie in their life who celebrates their body and makes them feel loved. There is no easy answer to questions about how to love your body more, it’s all about uplifting one another in the journey.

Q. If you could share one piece of advice to women, what would it be?

ST: Having great style is as much about confidence as it is about style. Remember that loving yourself is the most powerful and attractive thing you can do. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, just focus on being the best possible version of yourself!