Sarah Hyland knows firsthand how difficult it can be to feel confident about one’s body while living with a chronic illness.
Sharing a powerful message on Instagram over the weekend, the Modern Family star, 28, posted a recent photo of herself wearing what appears to be a sports bra and leggings, which initially made her feel “insecure” about her appearance.
“To my fellow #invisibleillness warriors. It’s ok to be insecure about your body,” wrote Hyland, who was born with kidney dysplasia, a condition in which the kidneys don’t fully develop in the womb.
“Just remember to check in with yourself at least once a day and say thank you. Our bodies have endured unfathomable feats that our minds barely have time to comprehend what has actually happened,” she continued, before reflecting on how her own journey has affected her self-confidence.
“With inflammation, excess water gain, and medications, my skin has a hard time bouncing back. I saw this picture and HATED it but quickly readjusted my attitude and decided to celebrate it. Love yourself and be patient. We are all stronger than we think we are,” Hyland shared.
Hyland underwent her first kidney transplant surgery in 2012, but she discovered four years later that the kidney was failing.
In order to prepare for her next transplant in 2017, the actress went on dialysis for almost a year. Immunosuppressants led her face to swell, and bed rest meant significant weight loss, which prompted painful speculation and public criticism about her appearance.
Hyland has also opened up about how she’s still learning to accept every part of her body — even those parts she would normally try to hide with shapewear.
In August, the actress — who has spoken about wearing Spanx to flatten the small bulge in her stomach she has as a result of her two kidney transplants — shared a candid Instagram post as she reflected on deciding not to wear shaping undergarments at the Teen Choice Awards.
“Thank you to my ever-changing self confidence for making the decision to not wear Spanx and let my KUPA (kidney upper p—- area) shine like the bada– bitch she is. 💖💖💖💖” she wrote.
Although living with chronic illness can be challenging, Hyland makes a point of not dwelling on her difficult past.
“People who have chronic illness should take the time to say, ‘This isn’t fair,’” she told PEOPLE in September. “Take a moment to cry and be like ‘F you’ to whoever did this to me. It’s okay to feel angry, just don’t let it be all-consuming.”
The star, who initially shied away from going public with her second transplant, also shared that she has “realized the benefit of being able to talk about it” for both herself and “so that others don’t feel so alone.”
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