By Jared Broussard, LPC

I have a dark secret known only to people who are near and dear to my heart. That secret is that I am a huge fan of professional wrestling. While I can one hundred percent recognize that wrestling is essentially just a soap opera made for a male audience, I can also see it for an amazing art of storytelling, character development, live comic book, live theater, and stunts all mixed together.

If that beautiful description of wrestling does not convince you of its value for everyone, take a short break and go watch this video.

In honor of the upcoming event known as Summer Slam, I, as a mental health professional, contend that we can use what we see in wrestling to enhance our lives. One thing that video demonstrates is a great technique for implementing in your life. It does not come from the hallowed halls of academia but from the sports arenas where professional wrestling holds its bouts with predetermined outcomes. That scientific technique is known throughout the land as kayfabe.

I know what you are likely thinking. What even is kayfabe? Kayfabe is the agreed-upon notion that the bouts and drama presented in professional wrestling are viewed as authentic, despite most parties involved knowing full well that they are not. The parties involved with the illusion include the wrestlers, the company, the referee, the announcers, and in all honesty, most of the audience.

So how does this help you? Well, other than showing you an amazing form of entertainment to enjoy and love, it also gives you a new framework to help approach your day-to-day experiences. Kayfabe in the real world allows you to suspend your own disbelief about what you are capable of accomplishing.

When your brain tells you…:

  • “You aren’t capable of doing that,” then imagine yourself as someone who is capable. Then go do the thing.
  • “You are unloveable,” then imagine yourself as someone who is loved.
  • “You are a shy person,” then go do the things that a non-shy version of you would do.

It is definitely possible to pull off these feats I know first-hand, because this approach has vastly helped me. When I started to challenge the notion of who I was, who I had to be, or what I should be, it allowed me to have considerably more space to be able to be my authentic self. For me, that meant a person who is more real with people, has more meaningful connections in his life, and has more sources of vitality and richness in his life.

I would love to say this means I no longer experience worry, anxiety, depression, and fear. That couldn’t be farther from the case. If you do not believe me, just ask my tag team partner, my wife. She gets to be there for all of my struggles.

If you think this notion seems a little made up,, in fact it mimics a lot of the work that is done in therapy. A goal in many types of therapy is to help clients have actions that match their values and beliefs about what they want in their life. Even dialectical behavioral therapy teaches the importance of opposite-to-emotion action. Overall, channeling your inner wrestler could help you behaviors that are more in line with your values and the life you hope to have.

So maybe, this week, take a step to embrace your inner wrestler and see if maybe it helps your life match your values a little more and enable you to take a step to discover a more authentic you!

Jared Broussard, LPC is a Staff Clinician in the Pathfinder program at the Menninger Clinic. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in behavioral health from Arizona State University.



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