Cara Delevingne may seem like the girl who has it all, but in a new essay written for TIME's Motto, the supermodel/actress reveals that she too had a long journey toward self-acceptance and loving herself, saying that she "wasn't genuinely happy" for a long time.

Beginning with a brief discussion of her modeling career and how she "worked hard to be accepted by the fashion community in ways beyond my physical appearance" due to being 5'8", Delevingne also talks about how she found herself "surrendering to the industry's approval process."

"I felt like I needed validation from everyone," she wrote. "As a result, I lost sight of myself and what it meant to be happy, what it meant to be successful. I think it all stemmed from a deep-down feeling of wanting people to like me and love me."

And while she says it's taken time for her to learn these lessons, in the end she's become a better, and subsequently happier, person for all of it.

"I still have so much to learn, but I have realized that beating myself up, feeling guilty and regretting past mistakes will only hold me back," she finishes. "After all, no matter how many people like you and your work, it doesn't matter if you don't like yourself." Read the full piece here for some surprisingly sage wisdom.

[h/t Motto]