Which wolf will you feed today?
You may not have heard this Native American parable but I believe it's particularly helpful right now as many people are struggling with feeling low, unmotivated and helpless during this Winter lockdown.
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.”
When life is difficult, it's important that we become aware of which wolf we are feeding.
Feeding the negative thoughts, especially first thing in the morning, only results in us seeing the world as full of pain and difficulty. Morning time is a really good time to set the tone for your day.
Instead of checking your phone or allowing negative thoughts to take hold, keep a piece of paper beside your bed and write 3 things that are good right now in your life and 3 things you can look forward to today. These do not need to be big things..it may be as simple as ‘My bed is warm. I’m looking forward to coffee. My children are well. I’m OK right now’.
If it helps as a reminder, write ‘Which wolf am I feeding?’ on a post-it and stick it somewhere prominent at home or put a recurring reminder on your phone so that you can break the habit of negative thinking.
We create our reality with our thoughts and thoughts can become habitual.
If you have got into the habit of negative thinking, it may be a relief to hear that you can change this.
Awareness is step one and then you can choose the thoughts you would prefer to have.
This is not about denying your feelings or expecting yourself to feel positive all the time. It does, however, bring awareness to habitual patterns of thinking that may be impacting on your mental health in more ways than you realise.