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5 Tips for Self-Prioritizing with Dr. Corey Yeager


Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Corey Yeager joined us to discuss tips for self-prioritizing and the conversations we should all be having with ourselves as part of our healing journey. Also the psychotherapist for the Detroit Pistons, Yeager’s first recently published book How Am I Doing? explores these 40 conversations in depth, which we he talks about on the show! Read on for his advice on how to become comfortable with being independent.

5 Tips for Self-Prioritizing with Dr. Corey Yeager
The Fundamental Question

Dr. Corey says the first question to ask yourself is: who is the most important person in your life that knows you best? While most people may say their parents, spouse, or best friend, the real answer lies in yourself. These people can know you very well, but there will always be things that they will never know about you, and the only person that deeply knows all your stories inside and out is yourself. This line of curiosity and questioning will force a reflection of who you really are, your self-prioritizing, and how well you may actually know yourself. It’s good to be curious and discover ourselves. Everybody else is on the outside looking in, and as Dr. Corey describes some people have larger portions of us than others, there’s really not anyone else who has the full picture but you — recognizing it isn’t selfish, it’s just the truth! “If we can begin with that cornerstone of understanding, then we can move into a better frame or perspective on who we are, how we came to be, and where we’re headed,” said Dr. Corey. 

Be Your Own Best Friend

Maybe this is something the introverts out there are experts on, but find comfort in your own company. Once we can first establish the fundamental question of no one else knowing all of us except us, we can then move towards befriending ourselves on a deeper level. Before anyone else, you should be your best friend! Knowing the full potential of our individual will allow for more success in further social interactions; you need to be a good you before you can assume another good role like in your career, as a spouse, a parent, etc. You can become the best version of yourself and all those other things because you deeply understand who you are, know your boundaries, and sit with your thoughts and understand them thoroughly. Once you have a deeper sense of who you are at your core, then others will begin to recognize the better version of you. If you’re a beginner at familiarizing yourself with, well, yourself, start in bite-sized approaches to build your comfortability. As social humans, we do such a great job at satisfying everyone else in our lives that we often put ourselves on the back-burner, but it’s time to change those priorities! 

Spend Time Alone 

Dr. Corey is adamant on having the occasional “Corey Day” — a day dedicated to himself and only himself which his family knows that he means business when it comes to his alone time. It’s so easy to implement this into your normal routine — weekly, monthly, or whenever you need it — as a good refresher or break from the stressors in your life. Oftentimes, we get nervous to spend time with ourselves because the person looking in the mirror knows all the secrets, which Dr. Corey says we BS ourselves when we don’t engage with them. So take the initial step to hangout with yourself to help get to know yourself better, and once you do that, you’ll begin to move about the world in a new observant way. Whether it’s running errands on your own, going to the movie theater, or relaxing in the comfort of your home, doing the individualized work is critically important to later shift towards your own social network and influences in your life. Communicating with your loved ones that you need your space and time on your own is not selfish at all, it’s taking the necessary steps to heal the overwhelm you’re experiencing. Just like parents may designate a date night for themselves away from the kids, each individual is entitled to do the same, with no permission needed. Give yourself permission! It’s your life so it’s time to take control of what you need for self-prioritizing and to support yourself, and your loved ones will understand that if they truly care about your needs. 

Don’t Feel Guilty About Not Answering

Because we are naturally empathetic towards others, it’s easy to experience guilt when we aren’t placing others first in our lives. Don’t feel guilty for self-prioritizing and protecting your sacred space. Guilt is something we all have to work towards unlearning in some capacity. Through your social network, establish that you’re taking time off the grid for yourself, or designate one close person to communicate that for you. There should be no obligations to answer the phone when it rings or the door when someone knocks — it’s just an indication that someone would like to speak to you, but it doesn’t mean you must do so. You’re just being told that someone has questions to ask or an offer to make, but if you’re not in the mindset for that, it’s totally OK to decline to answer. There’ll be time to message or call back when you’re ready. It’s not selfish, it’s making sure you take care of yourself first and foremost. 

Lean Into Personal Growth

Dr. Corey has a great metaphor to live by: “In life we must be rivers, not ponds. A pond is stagnant water that sits there and gets messy, but a river is ever regenerating, ever flowing and evolving. I seek to be a river. I want to keep moving, I’m not going to stop.” If we picture ourselves as ever flowing water, we can begin to find success in all areas of life. It’s crucial to note that success is not about greed, it’s a thought process of wanting to be better today than you were yesterday — the whole point of life is to improve! Don’t listen to those envious about where you are around you because as long as you think something is right for you, that’s the goal you should be prioritizing. Along the way, you’re bound to run into obstacles and feel discomfort, which we too often lean away from because we don’t want to experience pain. Understandably so, we all hate those downfall moments, but if we can begin to reframe it into a way of thinking that the discomfort could be an indication that we are growing as individuals, then lean all the way into it! It’s telling you that it’s time to grow into a new space that you wanted, and through any expected pain, there’s only beauty and greatness on the other side. Discovering the discomforts is an opportunity for personal growth and self-prioritizing. Never stop; keep going and seek out the conflict because once we arrive, that’s when we start to get complacent with our surrounding systems. Once you reach a certain point, always look for what’s next, moving with intentionality.

Dr. Corey Yeager's tips for Self-Prioritizing

Catch more tips from Dr. Corey by listening to the full episode!

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