Which Wolf Do You Feed?

On my bad days whether I'm having negative thoughts about myself or my relationship or life, I try to remember this Cherokee legend, the story of the two wolves:

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life.

He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf is evil---he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.

The other is good ---he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too."

They thought about it for a minute, and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win, Grandfather?"

The Elder simply replied, "The one you feed."

On my bad days, I sometimes shock myself with what enters my mind: "You're not going to make it.." "You're lazy" "You're not good enough." This wolf looms large and scary at times. Sometimes I believe it's actually going to eat me up. I realize though that the wolves are my own creation. I can just as easily feed the wolf that is filled with compassion, humility, love, grace, good humor and action. It really is a matter of choice, even though when the wolves come we don't think it is. We actually believe that that big bad wolf is going to eat us and forget that all we have to do is stop feeding it!

Our thoughts are the single most powerful tool we can use to foster closeness in our relationships, to succeed in business or to get through a tough day. Beyond the "cheesy" notions of positive thinking, it's about shifting our attention and intention to what we WANT, not on what we don't want. In my marriage, rather than spending time thinking about all the things my husband does to irritate me (and believe me, the list is long and I spend far too much time feeding that wolf), I get power, compassion and energy when I focus on all the wonderful things he does do (and that list is just as big, if not bigger). When thinking about myself, my day is brighter, my energy higher, my joy wider when I give myself grace, remember my sense of humor and I do the things I need to do with integrity. It's a wonder why most of us do end up feeding the nasty wolf because the joyful wolf is so much easier to be around.

Think about how your day is going right now. Which wolf are you feeding?

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