I have been thinking about the old Cherokee parable lately.
In the story, a grandfather and his grandson are talking and the grandson asks his grandfather what will he grow up to be. The grandfather replies by telling a story about two wolves.
He says to his grandson "There are two wolves fighting inside every one of us. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about the answer for a moment, and then asked his grandfather: "But which wolf will win?".
His grandfather simply replied: "The one you feed".
This has been on my mind a lot lately as I keep on spotting the manifestations of the fight between two wolves in my day to day life again and again. Whether it is through the actions and words of others in my life, the posts I read online, or in the inner struggle between good and bad feelings within myself, in the words that may just spill out and feed the bad wolf in myself and others.
I am far from perfect, but I try my damnest to feed the good wolf. To think positively, to look on the better things in life, to concentrate on the happy moments, however fleeting they are. The warm cup of coffee to start my day, the beautiful sunshine outside, the little hands around my neck the moment I step back home after a long day at the office.
To me it just feels so utterly exhausting to concentrate on the negative and on the bad. And I wonder, when people do feed the bad wolf, and let themselves wallow in anger and resentment, does it not get physically exhausting? Does it not just spend you and eat you inside, take the joy out of life, and make just everything that much harder to bear? It is physically exhausting being around people like that, so I wonder how very tiresome it must be for them.
Like I said, I am not perfect, and often feel like I want to lash out. And sometimes I do. But I also try to contain the emotions, and sometimes, when I feel angry at someone else and at their actions, try to see it from their perspective. And if I have someone lash out at me, rather than lash back out at them, sometimes it is more constructive to think what might I have done in a better way. Perhaps communicate better? Perhaps understand their situation in life better?
Life is far too short to wallow in negativity, and to let the bad wolf win. I would much rather feed the happiness, joy and kindness in me. Because that is what life should be all about.
Have you heard the parable before and what did you think of it?