We hear the phrase "self-esteem" all the time, but what does that really mean? Isn't it a pivotal part of how we see and interact with the world around us? If our world is a reflection of us, then self esteem is our paintbrush.

Imagine it's one of those rare days where everything seems to "go right". Have you ever had one of those? You get up rested, you smile at yourself in the mirror, you actually like what you see; you master your domain effortlessly. People seem friendlier and want to be around you.

Contrast that with the opposite, one of those "Other" days, you slap at the alarm 4 times, finally rolling out of bed 10 minutes late, hanging your head "Oh yuck, another Monday!" You stumble into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee, snap at the kids, kick the dog...well ok not really...but you get the picture.

Have you noticed one of the key elements involved in both experiences is how you are feeling about yourself? How you perceive everyone around you is colored by that all encompassing factor; your self esteem.

So high self-esteem is truly one of the most important and valuable commodities you can possess. If how you treat yourself is a measure of how you treat other people, then we all need to learn to treat ourselves very well indeed!

Why am I writing about self-esteem? Well as one of my favorite mentors John Di Lemme says: "I believe in the power of story telling:"

So here is my story:
At the age of eight, I was taken from Boston and transported to a remote compound in Northern Maine where I spent over the next ten years in what I can only refer to as a cult. Freedom of speech, self-expression, free will and independence were forbidden and resulted in harsh punishment, even exile. My self-esteem was crushed by years of systematic and repeated mental and emotional abuse. Yet my internal compass stayed the course and I finally mustered enough courage to leave the cult in 1989 and joined my younger sister who had escaped to Washington where I was briefly reunited with my brother who I hadn’t seen in five years.

This was my first time in the real world – I didn’t even know how to use a pay phone. I worked a string of odd jobs, putting myself through school where I earned an Associates degree in computer science. Since then I have worked for fortune 500 companies such as AT&T and Nextel Communications as a systems engineer and project manager.

Though I had attained financial and professional success, I still had to wrestle with the emotional chains I carried and that ever-debilitating hangover of low self esteem. In an attempt to free myself from this haunting past, I dedicated myself to writing my story and published my first book, my autobiography "Firewalker.” The process of expression through writing became a burning drive; it was something I HAD to do, for myself and for you. At my lowest points in life (there’s been more than one), a powerful and imaginative warrior was always there to rescue me. Now I know that warrior was me! Even when I only saw myself as a worthless, helpless victim, that voice within me dared to ask questions, challenge negative thoughts and fuel me to imagine a different set of circumstances.

Writing became my personal healing process and is now a universal testimony to the dream warrior that lives within every single human being. Through this process I developed a deeper understanding of the significance of self-esteem in our lives. My autobiography is entitled Firewalker, not only because I have literally walked on burning coals (I had the amazing experience of actually doing a fire walk,) but because I had to walk through fire in order to help myself and to show you that there is no tragedy you cannot conquer.

So now, among my other projects, I am dedicating my time to creating a website on the theme of high self-esteem called high-self-esteem.com and how it affects not only ourselves, but the world we touch as a whole.

Author's Bio: 

Lyca Shan, also known as the Black Belt Dreamer, is a published author, speaker successful career woman and the founder of Firewalker Enterprises. For Lyca, becoming "The Black Belt Dreamer," did not happen without first encountering struggle, tragedy and then undeniable triumph. Having been raised in a cult from a very early age, Lyca’s personal experiences of oppression, abuse and isolation are offered as real-life examples that every individual has the power to transcend any situation – no matter how hopeless it seems. Focusing on helping others overcome their experiences of hardship and trauma, she delivers the message that “Every person is born with the inner strength to rise above their individual circumstances and find happiness within themselves despite their environment!”
She has been featured on Talk America Radio, her autobiography “Firewalker” is available on Amazon.com. You can learn about her latest course “Becoming a Black Belt Dreamer ~ Unleash The Dream Warrior Within!" at: http://www.selfempowermentsystems.com