I made a mistake today. Let myself think that I deserved to belong in the World of Self-Esteem.

In a moment of savage impulsivity, I broke through the Shackles of Body Image and ran freely through the Pastures of Positive Self Regard. I don’t know why I let myself escape, don’t know why I wasn’t more vigilant. Sometimes I forget that the shackles are not there to hurt me, but to protect me.

As I raced through the pastures, I found myself warmed to the core by the Sun’s Rays of Self-Respect. Encouraged by the euphoric feeling suddenly enveloping me, I treated myself to tastings from the vibrant Fruit of Self Love that grew wild and rampant around me.  I took thirsty gulps from the translucent Waters of Self Worth and napped in the shade of the Dignity Tree.

But my carefree romp hastily ceased as I found myself face to face with the Perfection Creature, a snarling, haughty beast that appeared simultaneously monstrous and adorably petite.  She hurled Spears of Black and White Thinking at me, accosting me with my own Self-Sabotaging Weapons. Try as I might to defend and protect myself with my Confidence Armor and Reframing Shield, I was no match for the piercing blows of her Arrows of Comparison. As each Comparison made contact, my Confidence Armor disintegrated piece by piece until it disappeared completely, leaving me unprotected and vulnerable, bleeding scarlet droplets of Inner Peace.

As the Perfection Beast scampered away, I laid on the cold ground, closed my eyes, and covered myself with the sole comfort I could find: a rough Blanket of Self Doubt. And I wished with all the strength I had left that I could return to the Shackles of Body Image: the one place I felt truly safe.

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Rachel Cohen is a firm believer that sharing her life experiences and struggles will help others change their lives. Special ed teacher by day and writer by night, Rachel is dedicated to making other women feel less alone through her poetry, blogs, and magazine articles. Rachel is also a proud advocate for women with endometriosis, by arming them with the accurate information necessary to take control of their own disease and get the proper medical care they deserve. She lives with her husband and two children in New York. Rachel can be reached at