When is the last time you sat down and simply thought about who you really are at your core? Chances are that it’s been a while—or never. Sure, the concept may sound a little odd at face value, but one man is determined to make self-reflecting less hokey and more accessible.
Life coach and Detroit Pistons psychotherapist Dr. Corey Yeager (yes, the Pistons have a therapist) recently appeared on the Men’s Health Instagram Live Series Friday Sessions to talk about the importance of self-care and creating sacred spaces for yourself. Dr. Yeager’s book, “How Am I Doing?: 40 Conversations to Have with Yourself,” was recently released, and details how to improve your mental health, honor your story, and explore who you want to be.
It may sound like a complicated concept, but the first question in the book, which Dr. Yeager describes as a cornerstone question, is relatively simple: “Who is the most important person in your life?” If your answer is like most men, your answer likely reveals a lot about your overall mental health and well-being.
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“Too often, we frame [the answer] as everyone else other than ourselves,” Dr. Yeager said in conversation with Friday Sessions co-host Dr. Drew Ramsey. “My wife, my kids, my parents…all those people are really important. But that means oftentimes we come sixth, seventh, ninth on the list.”
He added, “All too often, we are pouring into others and our glass is a quarter full. So how does it make sense for me to pour everyone else’s glass full and mine not even me halfway [full]?”
Putting yourself first is a crucial part of showing up as your best self in all areas of life, according to Dr. Yeager. To truly put yourself first, the doc says you first need to explore and understand all facets of yourself by looking deeply at your full self.
“As human beings, we avoid the mirror. Because that man that looks back at me knows all…The only person in the entire world who has all the stories of Corey is Corey,” Dr. Yeager said. “I’m the only one. Getting comfortable and curious with who I am and the man that stares back at me is really important. And we don’t have a lot of practice doing that.”
Self-care isn’t about being self-centered
Dr. Yeager recognizes that many people may think his perspective veers into being self-centered. Yet, he insists there is a key difference.
“It can be a blurry line (between being self-aware and self-centered]. But what I’m asking us to ponder or engage with is recognizing that the line may be blurry, but taking the time to engage with self is critically important,” he said. “Because if I know myself better, that means I get to show up in the world as a better version of myself.”
Dr. Yeager hopes this self-interrogation—and, subsequently, his book—helps men get to know the core of all their various personas, like their “career persona, lover persona, father persona, and so on” so they can show up most effectively in life.
“I get to choose which version I present to you,” Dr. Yeager said. “But the core of me stands strong and steadfast and non-changing. That doesn’t mean we don’t evolve over time because we do. But the core part of me as a man should be very sturdy—and it can’t be sturdy if I don’t engage with it and I don’t understand it.”
To truly engage with these big questions, Dr. Yeager advises men to identify their “sacred space,” which is the space where you feel most you. This may be nature, the gym, or even your favorite chair. Then take time to get to know yourself as you are now—and look forward to who you want to be. Maybe even pick up Dr. Yeager’s book and ask yourself some of those reflective 40 questions. And, Dr. Yeager says, remember to never feel guilty about taking time to reflect.
“It’s not being selfish. It’s tuning in. It’s recharging,” he says, adding, “Those sacred spaces allow us to plug in and recharge our batteries.”
Hear some more of Dr. Yeager’s wisdom by watching the full conversation below:
Katie Dupere is an editor and writer in New York City specializing in identity, internet culture, social good, lifestyle and beauty topics.
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