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Monday, February 12, 2024

Dr. Teresa A. Smith: Bouncing Back Through Her Own Transformation, Helping Others to do the Same


by Cyrus Webb


"Change is challenging."

That is something Dr. Teresa A. Smith aka Dr. TAS knows all too well. She addresses that topic in her book TRANSFORMATION, however, it is an ongoing lesson. 2023 has had its challenges for many, Dr. TAS included. As she continues to come out of the other side she is helping others learn from her own lessons in the new book TRANSFORMATION: The Bounce Back. 

Dr. TAS, it’s great to have you back in Conversations Magazine. Let’s start off with talking about this year. If you had to describe 2023 for yourself how would you do it? 

Thank you so much for having me back in Conversations Magazine. Reflecting on 2023, I would describe it as a year of deep self-reflection and humility. It began with me grappling with an undiagnosed illness that kept me in pain and sidelined for three long months. However, I'm grateful to share that my health has greatly improved. This year has served as a bridge between my past and my future, offering me the opportunity to confront any lingering concerns or emotions that might hinder me from living an authentic life I truly honor. It's about breaking free from the confines of living by others' expectations and embracing activities that align with my internal compass and external goals rather than out of a sense of obligation.

So much of your platform has been about helping others. What has it been like for you to remember the importance of taking care of yourself? 

It’s true that much of my platform has been centered around helping others, but I've also realized the vital importance of taking care of myself. Overcoming my own trauma has been a transformative journey, and realizing that I haven't cared for myself properly was tough. If not for my belief in resilience, I might have found myself curled up in a corner, overcome with shame and self-pity. However, I firmly believe in the power of forgiveness, both from a higher power and from oneself.

 Sometimes, we become our own worst enemies, piling unnecessary stress upon ourselves. Perhaps, we do it out of the belief that it's easier than negotiating with others. I have learned that there's a limit to how many hits we can endure before we find ourselves down for the count. So, I must take the first step if change is to occur.

So many people, especially women, feel they have to put others first. We both know that’s not the proper order. Has that been difficult for you, putting yourself first? 

Every day, I face the ongoing struggle of putting myself first. In the past, I prioritized taking care of others before even considering my own needs. I vividly recall a recent experience with a faculty member I was working with who was trapped in a perpetual cycle of stress and overwhelm. I observed her closely during a Zoom meeting and noticed the range of emotions flickering across her face, including frustration. It became clear that she was teetering on the edge, struggling to balance multiple deadlines. 

During a conversation about her work performance, we delved deeper into her inability to prioritize herself. It was a breakthrough moment when she cried, releasing the weight of unrealistic expectations and beginning her journey toward a Bounce Back. This story serves as a reminder that society often socializes women to endure, take hits, and be unbreakable superwomen. But it's time to transform this mindset because we are not superheroes, and our well-being matters, too.


Transformation: The Bounce Back is not the book you thought you would be releasing in 2023. A lot of our readers might find themselves in a place they didn’t expect to be as well. What has helped you to adjust?
 

Cyrus, "Transformation: The Bounce Back" isn't the book I initially planned to release in 2023, and I understand that many readers may find themselves in unexpected places as well. Adjusting to these unexpected turns has been an ongoing process for me. I approach it with intentionality and mindfulness, constantly questioning the realism of my expectations. Whenever I sink into the quicksand of unrealistic demands and expectations, I pull myself out by sprinkling positive self-talk and affirmations into my mindset. 

Admittedly, it's a challenging journey. Adjusting may also mean letting go of relationships that were once considered mutually nurturing but were one-sided. It's the price we pay for prioritizing our own well-being. It's not selfish—it's about self-preservation. I've realized that I no longer have the luxury of merely existing; I must embrace life fully and authentically.

Social media is a big deal for us both. How have you used it in your work? Social media plays a significant role in my work, providing a platform for me to share my message and amplify the voices of other like-minded creatives. It's an ever-evolving space, and I'm continuously adapting and finding new ways to connect and inspire through various social media channels.

Being an influencer or person in the public is not easy. It comes with a lot of responsibility. Has that been something easy for you to embrace? 

Becoming an influencer or being in the public eye is far from easy—it carries immense responsibility. Although I didn't set out to become an influencer, my primary focus has always been helping others overcome trauma and offering hope through practical strategies. Embracing the role of an influencer has made me aware of the responsibility that comes with it. I strive for transparency, letting my audience know I have both good and challenging days, just like everyone else. It's how I choose to face and handle those challenges that can make a real difference in my life and the lives of those around me. My goal is always to show up authentically.

You and I talk a lot about the importance of being kind to yourself. How has that helped you when it comes to the expectations you place on yourself and what you’re able to do? 

Our discussions on the importance of self-kindness have been truly transformative. Being kind to myself takes on various forms, and it has been eye-opening to explore this concept. Practicing self-kindness has profoundly influenced my expectations of myself and what I can achieve. Admittedly, it requires considerable effort, which can be disheartening at times. Yet, I've learned not to second-guess the importance of being kind to myself. 

I ask myself, "Are you truly being authentic when you are kind to others but neglecting your needs?" The answer is a resounding "no." To prevent myself from constantly feeling overwhelmed, I've prioritized taking care of myself and ensuring that I am in a good place before extending care to others.

You give the reader a lot of work in TRANSFORMATION: The Bounce Back. What do you hope the book does for them? 

In "Transformation: The Bounce Back," I offer readers a significant amount of introspective work, but I have specific hopes for what the book can do for them. Firstly, I aim to normalize what readers might perceive as abnormal behavior or experiences, letting them know they are not alone. 

Secondly, I want readers to understand that unexpected setbacks happen to all of us. 

Thirdly, I want to foster a community of individuals committed to transforming their current circumstances. Above all, I aim to provide a safe space within the book’s pages for readers to explore their true selves behind any masks they may wear and emerge stronger and transformed.

Sharing one’s story is not easy. What advice would you give to others about the importance of using their story to help others? 

Sharing one's story is undoubtedly challenging, but it carries immense importance. My advice to others considering sharing their stories is this: Never be ashamed of your life or your story. Each of us plays a crucial role in this complex journey called life. Your story might be precisely what someone else has been waiting for, allowing them to experience a complete transformation. Remember, both you and your story are necessary; never diminish your worth or the power of your narrative.

What are you looking forward to during the rest of the year? 

This year, I look forward to making intentional changes, closing the doors on aspects of my life that no longer nourish my true self. Living a balanced and authentic life, fully immersed in my personal expectations, will affirm my resilience and ability to bounce back. That is the most important accomplishment.

Thank you for your time, TAS. How can our readers stay connected to you? 

Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and work with your audience. To stay connected with me, readers can visit www.Linktr.ee/DRTAS, where they can access all my social media platforms, YouTube channel, information about the Transform With TAS Show, my website, and purchase my books.


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