How one woman with scars is helping others learn to love theirs (VIDEO)

Mar 15, 2016 at 9:15 p.m. ET

"People with scars can't wear bikinis."

That's what Michelle Elman said last January when someone asked her why she doesn't wear a two-piece in public. Elman, who has battled through 15 surgeries throughout her short life, was horrified that she actually said that.

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"At age 7, I tried on my first bikini and after receiving a range of reactions from disgust to pity, it soon became easier to hide away and be doomed to a life of tankinis and one-pieces," she wrote in an Instagram post. "Why did I believe this? Because over the years, I have learnt that my scars make people uncomfortable."

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She's tired of letting "others" dictate what she wears, so she created a body positivity video called Scarred Not Scared to show that "every human has scars, whether they are emotional [or] physical."

"They are part of our story and we should be proud of them," she continued, adding that telling stories is important because "I had become ashamed of my body and soon other people’s disgust became my own and this was allowed to be the case because of one simple reason — I had no one to talk to about it."

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The inspiring Elman also created a safe space for people to discuss and improve their self-esteem called Mindset for Life.

"This is your special piece of the Internet where I hear you out and walk you through how to gain more confidence and start loving your body in a simple no-nonsense kind of way because let’s face it — your body is amazing, you just haven’t realized it yet!" she wrote on the site.

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

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