Which Wolf Will You Feed?
I was recently reminded of a Native American parable:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
The story’s message is an important reminder of the powerful role that our thoughts and emotions play in the essential quality of our life.
Life gives us plenty of challenging situations to feel like a victim or blame events or people for our experiences. The problem is the longer we stay stuck in the anger, resentment or self pity, the more we actually give our power away by believing that our emotions are the result of anything other than our own choice.
When you can recognize negative thoughts and emotions happening inside and choose not to indulge them, you make the life changing decision of which wolf you want to feed.
The evil wolf wants you to believe that your peace and happiness rest outside of you so it hungers for dismempowering emotions such as envy, regret, guilt and anxiety. The evil wolf is the one that habitually catastophizes in uncertain situations, procrastinates and it can also be that negative voice in your head that tells you you’re always falling short (again).
So do you really want to feed this wolf? Maybe you’ve been feeding him already?
It’s worth noting that it’s not simply about ignoring the evil wolf, on the contrary we want to do the work of acknowledging him too, always bringing compassion and curiosity to our feelings.
We make a conscious choice to nourish the good wolf with peace, joy and faith by practicing gratitude, appreciation and deep self care.
When you care for both wolves in a healthy way, the fight inside you dissolves and you can hear the voice of your true self guiding you to choose what is for your highest good.
You take your power back when you learn to redirect your energy in the direction of what matters most to you.
What we pay attention to grows stronger.