Katie Maloney-Schwartz has conveyed an “important” message about positive body image.

On Thursday, the 35-year-old actress penned a lengthy and “important” message about body positivity on Instagram, sharing that “some” people found “unflattering.” She shared a pic, which was originally posted by castmate Raquel Leviss on her Story in honor of the reality star’s birthday.

The Vanderpump Rules star wrote, “Now it was alerted to her that this was ‘mean’ and to me that I should be pissed. Neither of those things are true. When I saw this I was like omg I look really happy, like that is a genuine smile right there. I’m not blind, I can clearly see the expression I’m making has given me about 12 chins.”

Katie recalled how people used to constantly talk about her over the years, She wrote, “I should be ashamed of my body, calling out weight gain, weight loss, that I need to dress for my body,” adding that the constant talks about her appearance messed with her head.

She also explained that in the past, worrying about how she looked in photos made her not want to take pictures with her friends and family, which eventually made it difficult to “just enjoy the memories.”

The Harper’s Globe actress said, “But not anymore. Being about to look at the photo and not feel shame and only happiness because I look so happy here is really showing me that the work I have been doing is improving my self image.”

“Self hate/criticism is more damaging than that of others,” she added. “So really be kinder to yourself, it’s not easy some days, I have good and bad, but I’m working at it.”

Raquel also penned an equally heartfelt tribute to Katie. She wrote, “I love you for standing up to this nonsense people can be so cruel.”

“I saw this photo and it make [sic] me smile cause it’s so candid,” Raquel added. “When I posted this, I kept thinking how effing cute your beaded heart bag is with that dress. I think you’re so beautiful!!!!”

Katie has always been open about embracing her skin, as she has long been an advocate of accepting her body as she has gotten older.

She previously told PEOPLE, “I think it’s just accepting change, and accepting that it’s okay.” Our bodies have done nothing but grow and change and grow some more since we were born. Knowing that it’s okay — I don’t need to look a certain way or I don’t need to be the same size as I was when I was 25.”