One of my dreams when I started the Affirmation Experiment was to find a close friend of mine — someone I’ve known for years — and see if affirmations would work for them.
The Mule and I have known each other since grade school. We’ve been close friends for over a decade now. I know how he thinks. I know how he acts.
If affirmations make a difference in his life, I’m going to know about it.
That’s why I’m so thankful he joined the experiment, and even more thankful he’s sharing his story with you. He went balls out with his affirmation and chose something above and beyond what he thought was capable of.
If he’s successful, I’ll know for a fact that affirmations are one of the simplest, most powerful psychological tools on the planet, because they will have transformed both his body and mind.
But a fair warning:
The Mule has a very dark sense of humor. Expect some salty language and at least one death joke.
But The Mule doesn’t bullshit.
I love him, and I hope you do to. Enjoy!
I am The Mule.
I have been good friends with The Unknown since I was in high school, and he encouraged me to join his new experiment, write a little about myself, and generate an affirmation. In exchange he has agreed, in the event of my untimely death, to wait until the moment the dirt falls on top of my casket, then literally dance on my grave in front of horrified onlookers.
Here’s what I think you should know about me:
I am a classic introvert. I feel no strong urges to be unique or stand out. I rarely look for meaning or purpose in my life. My hope is that my life will end the way it started: covered in placental blood with no name and no memory of what happened.
For the most part I’m pretty good at the mechanical aspects of being alive. I’m in my early 30s, I have a job I enjoy, I earn very good money, I have an attractive and caring wife who also has a job she enjoys, and we have no kids (which at the moment is great). I get to go on vacations, pursue hobbies, and generally do what I want. I’m exactly where I’d like to be if you look at my life on paper. I objectively have nothing to complain about.
So what do I need an affirmation for?
Well, this is about Self-Understanding, not Self-Help, and I am very interested to understand something about myself.
I have depression.
I hate using the phrase “I suffer from depression” because it implies that I feel some kind of pain, emotional or physical. What I have isn’t painful, or insufferable.
What is happening is that I’m slowly, day after day, year after year, losing my ability to feel at all.
It’s some scary shit. I’m reminded of a quote from Gandhi: “If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”
Depression is different for a lot of people. Here’s what it’s like for me:
Experiencing strong emotions, good or bad, is like a cocaine high for me. I am constantly looking for ways to get a fix, but as life goes on it’s harder and harder for me to experience emotional highs or lows.
Food is the biggest fuckery. Sugar and caffeine give me brief blips of dopamine, so I am addicted to those items. Because of that, I’ve been gaining about a steady 10 lbs year after year for the last decade.
Do some math and I’m very overweight. I’m right at the edge of “too fat to… [fill in the blank].” Any fatter and very specific, very sitcom-cliché things will start happening:
- I won’t be able to buckle an airline seatbelt without extensions.
- I will no longer be able to buy clothes at a regular department store.
- I will have to choose between having my ass crack within the rim of the toilet seat, or my dick and balls, but not both at the same time.
What is made worse is that it’s also limited my enjoyment of other things that bring me happiness, like hiking, biking, traveling, etc., which creates an apathy spiral. This is different than “A Pathy Spiral” which is a sex position that involves a vibrator, a pinwheel, and two teaspoons of the existential tears of a mime.
Depression also has subtle effects on my mood and my ability to build and maintain relationships.
Because emotions can feel like crack, it can actually feel good to be angry, and that can make outings with friends turn into a game of “Don’t piss off the mule.” I know that it’s wrong, and I know it’s not fair to others around me, but the alternative is to sit quietly and not engage, which feels just as awkward. My wife has to deal with it the most, and when we hang out with friends, she never really knows if I’m going to be “Angry Mule” or “Shy, Boring Mule”.
Ok. So I’m aware this all sounds like bullshit. I’m aware that a lot of these issues could be depression, but Occam’s razor says it’s also likely I’m a lazy cunt.
And the more I think about it, maybe I really am a lazy cunt and I’m just fishing for excuses. Maybe I eat too much and don’t exercise and blame it on me being depressed.
Maybe if I just lost weight, I’d be a happier person. I can’t deny this is a very real possibility.
So in the spirit of experimentation, I’d like to build two affirmations. I will read these twice a day; once in the morning and once at night. They are the following:
- By the end of the year, I will no longer have depression.
- By the end of the year, I will lose 100 lbs.
Achieving either one of these would greatly improve my life, one in psychological ways, the other in physical ways. And since the likelihood that both of these are linked, I feel it best to shoot for both.
At the moment, they appear unattainable, but that’s the point of the experiment, isn’t it?
So here’s to the affirmation experiment. We’ll take it one day at a time.
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