When Demi Lovato stepped onto the red carpet at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, she felt nothing short of "beautiful." 

It's a honest admission from the "Heart Attack" singer who has struggled with self-esteem and body issues for much of her teenage years.

But in an emotional Instagram post Monday morning, Lovato reflects on how far she's come since her first appearance at the annual award show.

"I remember the day I wore the dress in the very first picture. I remember asking for spanx to flatten my stomach because I use to feel so heavy and ‘fat'," she writes. "Now looking at this picture, you can clearly see my hip bones."

She adds, "It makes me sad because I wasted so many years ashamed of my body when I could've been living the happy and healthy life I live today."

Demi Lovato, MTV VMA's 2014

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

But in true Lovato fashion, the 22-year-old singer uses her experiences as a positive, teachable moment for fans and Lovatics.

"It TRULY just goes to show you that your perceptions can lie to you," she writes. "OR they can make you learn to enjoy life."

Lovato stepped out wearing a low-cut red gown with a thigh-high slit that showed off her steps Sunday night at the VMAs. When she looks at her outfit today, Lovato feels great.

"Fortunately looking at the picture of myself in the red dress yesterday, I not only feel so grateful for the love and support I've had from fans, friends and family, but... I also feel.. beautiful."

Bravo to the talented (and gorgeous) Demi! 

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