A Tale of Two Wolves
"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 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 contemplated what his wise and experienced grandfather had told him and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee lovingly replied, "If you feed them right, they both win. You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner, waiting for me to become distracted and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and he will always fight the white wolf. But, if I acknowledge him, he is happy and so is the white wolf and we all win.
For the black wolf has many useful qualities: tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong will and great strategic thinking that I have need of at times; qualities that the white wolf lacks.
But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength, and the ability to recognize what is in the best interests of all. The white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they would soon become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not part of something greater, something good, something of life.
Feed them BOTH and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention, and when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace, my son, is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or woman who is pulled apart by the war inside them has nothing."
I have dealt with a massive amount of anger all of my life. I have been told to "let it go" and that my anger "will only destroy me" and that "anger is evil". I have come to the realization that none of those things are the answer when it comes to controlling my anger. If I want to control it, just like controlling a wild animal, I must harness it.
I chose to harness it by imagining a labeled jar on a shelf. When I'm angry, I take a moment and mentally hold the anger in my hands. Then I carefully place it within the jar, knowing that it is there for me to use when I find myself in situations that call for courage, motivation, and tenacity. Harnessing my anger has allowed me to feed the black wolf and care for it so that it won't turn on me and destroy me.
I was very angry during adolescence. There were things that happened to me that were out of my control and my strong sense of justice lit the fires of fury. Those fires burned hot for a long time. And just like any large fire that burns too hot and out of control, I became exhausted by it and others feared to come close to it. It left me tired and alone.
After learning how to harness my anger and put it to use, I was able to focus on the goals that I wanted to achieve. I used the stored anger to fuel my motivations; school, work, physical fitness, communication skills, relationships, building a successful business, and some other pretty significant works coming down the line.
How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine the quality of your life. Don't ignore your feelings and DON'T demonize them. There is a reason you feel the way you do. Pay attention to that reason and bank the emotion for when it is useful.
When there are so many negative outlets out there looking to destroy us, I encourage you to find some positive outlets that will stoke the flames of your passions. I'd love to know how you deal with your demons in a positive way. Please share and comment! I LOVE hearing from my #IGNITEdCrew! As always, #BeHardToKill!