One of my favorite stories is the “Two Wolves” parable. An old Cherokee chief told his grandson that there was a fight going on inside of him between two wolves — an evil wolf, and a good wolf. He explained to his grandson that everyone has this same fight going on inside of them, between our negative traits and our positive traits. When the little boy asked which wolf will win the fight, the chief replied, “The one you feed.”
We all have this fight going on — but nowadays, it tends to be between our anxious wolf, and our trusting wolf. We have both an anxious, critical, downspiraling voice, and a trusting, optimistic, calming one. Everyday, every moment, we have a choice. It has to be a conscious choice of feeding the voice that will support us, while ignoring the other one. For example, I was recently talking to a young girl who is dating and trying to find work she loves, and she said to me, “Everytime I go for an interview or go on a date, I have this disappointing negative mindset that I’ll never find work I love, or someone that’s right for me. I have trouble getting up and keeping my enthusiasm going.” I asked her to make a list of all the things that are working in her life — starting with her health, her heart beating, her lungs allowing her to take a breath, her Master’s degree that she just completed, and her creative mind. Right there and then, we started to write a list of all the things that she takes for granted for herself. I reminded her, “So many things are working. But you’re pushing your timing, and you’re judging the fact that things have not yet fallen into place.”
This is something we all do. When things aren’t going the way we want them to go, we automatically move into our feelings of anxiety, judgment, and worry — and inevitably projects into our future.
What we need in these moments of negative flooding, is a consistent practice that reinforces the positive. This practice is paramount to any person’s success and well-being. Even when we say we’re sad or worried or lonely, we’re feeding the nasty wolf. We need to make a habit to feed the wolf that is wholesome, loving, self-supporting, and trusting. Here are three keys to help you reset:
1. Think of 5 things that went right today.
Get a pen and paper, or find a friend who you can verbalize it to. Either way, it’s crucial to remind ourselves of the good things in our lives. Our voice carries power and our unconscious hears what we are saying, so by recording the good things in our lives, we start to put the unconscious on the right track. Do it before bed. It will set you up for your next day, or do it whenever you find a moment to pause.
2. Make an active list.
Write a list of what you would like more of. Be specific — in your finances, your relationships, your health, your creative work, your social life, and in your overall expansion of your life. Start anchoring what you want more of, and record it with a pen and paper. You have to inform your unconscious of what you want, so it can bring it to you. It’s like setting your sails to go to your destination.
3. Get an accountability buddy.
You’ll need a support system that you can rely on when your bad wolf is speaking to you and howling. Get a support buddy that will help you feed the other wolf, so your bad wolf ends up dying of starvation (wouldn’t that be wonderful?).
If there’s one thing my mother imparted to me and my sister when we were young, it was that even when things looked like they were not working out, it was essential to trust that life was for us, and trust that we are not alone, and that there is a plan for all of us. I grew up knowing that no matter what, we have to trust ourselves, and the universe, and know that the force is working with us and for us. So get your good wolf to howl that to you, day, noon, and night!
Please share with us how you tame your bad wolf, and feed your trusting wolf! And remember, you are the master of your own wolves!