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Defining Yourself

Over three days I attended a conference led by Ashley Kirkwood and her wonderful team that absolutely stripped my soul bare. The experience has forever changed me. One of the MANY things I realized came when Ashley said, “no experience left behind, we just leave the pain behind” regarding defining our expertise. I couldn’t breathe. See, due to the pain associated with past pastoral affiliations and assignments, I divorced myself overwhelmingly from my ministry skills.

I left the good … Godly shifts and experiences behind along with the bad. Yes, the baby was thrown out with the bathwater. The problem with this is I lost a big part of who I am… I shrunk myself, becoming a prisoner of the anxiety disorder I developed from being hypercriticized by individuals loving the way I spoke/preached/taught yet listening not to be freed or grow but rather attack what I said because it made them uncomfortable and, or demonstrated I could not be “controlled.” For context, I was the first African American, the second woman, and the youngest minister in every church I served. I have always found it interesting how I was called to create safe space whether in sacred or secular settings, yet rarely felt safe myself.

The biggest gift from this past weekend was gaining the motivation and courage to loose myself from the residual control I allowed such experiences to have over my life. I already thought I was free as I’d invested in doing the work to heal yet clearly residue remained. During the conference, it became clear that the slug line and verbal business card for my business no longer fit. In other words, I have been defining myself in the past. Yes, I am a therapist, a minister, trauma specialist yet neither reflects where I am GROWING to. They inform how I do what I do, and always will as they shape my ability to really see you and hear your heartbeat. With that said, please allow me to reintroduce myself. I am Tamara R. Jackson, owner of HopeFull Therapy and Consulting, LLC. I am a Gratitude Specialist. I provide transformational training to adults and organizations teaching gratitude as a means to transfigure trauma into limitless growth potential. Taking you from STUCK to UNSTOPPABLE in every aspect of your life! "

For Reflection

How have the experiences in your life informed how you show up in the world? Are you defining yourself or are other events controlling you?

May Your Hope Be Full,


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