What does it really mean to be an expert? Most would assume this is a person who has dedicated a significant portion of their life to deepen their understanding of a particular subject or trade. Once they have mastered said knowledge they are now what some would deem to be the authoritative voice on the matter. So my question to you is, do you consider yourself to be the expert in your own life? I want to share with you a time where I had to show up as the expert in my own life’s experience.
While in graduate school, there was a gentleman in my class who was known for having an issue with keeping his hands to himself. Most people, including the professors, ignored his behavior. Well the day finally came and this person crossed a boundary by touching me inappropriately and without my consent. I was furious! I emailed the dean right away and set up a meeting to see what could be done. What was to come I never could have imagined. A grievance meeting was called where I made an appeal to a few of my peers, the school psychiatrist, a group of administrators, and the president of the college. I was asked to explain what happened and why I was calling for his expulsion from the program and university. I felt it was necessary to explain the sexual trauma I had endured as a child so they could understand the gravity of the situation. I needed them to understand why this event had triggered such extreme response. Once the floor was opened up for questions the psychiatrist, whom I expected to be the expert on sexual abuse or maybe even emotional triggers, says to me “Seeing as you’re going into a healing profession and you’re going to be touching people and vice versa, how are you going to handle that? Furthermore do you feel that becoming a doctor of chiropractic is really for you?”
Within a span of 45 seconds I felt rage, fear, and doubt all rolled into on. How dare she question my commitment to becoming a doctor based on my trauma? I asked for a moment to gather myself because I couldn’t believe this was the direction the conversation had taken. I knew I had to adjust my crown and give a lesson on what it looked like to be an expert in my own experience. I defiantly and boldly explained that it took me years of therapy and life experience to learn the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch. After a full and impassioned speech, there wasn’t a single dry eye in the room. Being questioned like that did not make me feel confident or supported but I knew in that moment I had to stand up and be the expert of my own life’s experience. Because giving up as suggested just wasn’t going to be an option.
We often times don’t question the advice or recommendation of a professor, doctor, personal trainer, or nutritionist because we see them as the expert. A doctor may go to school to study the human body. However, they did not study your body. Did you catch that? If not read it again. A person can study about a subject for their entire life but they will never be the experts when it comes to you. So the next time you are tasked with taking advice from an expert, especially when it comes to your physical/mental health and well being, first consult with the primary expert , YOU! I challenge you to question others more critically and trust your gut instincts. Make sure the person you are entrusting with your health and wellbeing will honor your values and welcome your opinions. Just because a person is an expert in a particular subject doesn’t mean they have full authoritative power over you and all of your collective life experiences. Always remember they have only studied what you have lived. Stand in your truth and be your own best advocate and expert.
Dr. Jennifer C.P.
My name is Jennifer Castile Powell, I’m 34 years young, and I was born and raised in Chicago IL. I am a wife and dog mom to a sassy senior beagle named Winnie the Pooh. She is the love of my life. From a young age I knew I had a passion for serving others and I was obsessed with the human body and how it work. I decided becoming a doctor was the only career path for me. I received my bachelors in biomedical science and nutrition in 2012, followed up by my doctorate of chiropractic in 2017. In my free time I enjoy powerlifting and competing in local meets. I also enjoy spending as much time with family as I can. I want to cherish every moment. Especially while the kids are young and still think I’m the cool and