Some of you might have heard the Cherokee story about the two wolves. I came across it again recently so thought I’d share it here.

It’s quite simple

It really is very simple, this tale of two wolves.

A boy went to his grandfather saying that he felt really angry about something another boy had done to him, but felt powerless to do anything about it.

His Grandfather replied that he, too, had experienced a feeling of hate towards another, but had come to realise that the more he focused on that feeling, the worse he felt. The other person wasn’t aware of how he felt, nothing changed, he just felt more unhappy. He described it like taking poison and wishing his enemy would die.

He then went onto describe the two wolves inside him. One that he describes as good. This one is settled and seeks harmony with those around, not taking offence if none was intended. This good wolf knows appropriate boundaries and stands up for itself only when necessary, making ethical decisions.

The other, he described, was very quick to anger and bite back for perceived injustices. The ‘bad’ wolf looked for arguments and wouldn’t let things go with a kind of helpless anger. And, worse than all, nothing ever changed.

Trying to balance these wolves inside felt like a constant battle and was very wearing.

The boy was curious as to which wolf would win.

The grandfather replied ‘the one I feed’.

You get it

I don’t need to explain it, do I? Whichever wolf you feed will win. The wolf you pay attention to will win. Whichever wolf you give energy to will win.

We do sometimes do this in a number of ways. Maybe by going over things in our head, replaying events, recruiting people who see things as we want to see them, confirmation bias where we find views to support us.

Feeding the wolf that is more resourceful will help us to make better decisions, develop and grow and be creative in life.

Through my coaching work, I’ve come to see that these wolves take many different forms, not just love/hate or pleasure/anger.

I can think of

  • anxiety/peace
  • heartless/compassione
  • unsure/confident
  • indecisive/decisive
  • fear/courage
  • frantic/calm
  • confusion/clarity
  • sadness/joy

I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t feel any ‘negative’ feelings as, in context, they’re all useful. It’s when we get stuck in them that we’ll find them less useful. If we constantly come at life through the lens of negativity, we’ll always get the same negative outcomes.

So, which wolves do you have?

I believe that our wolves change through time as life experience makes us who we are. So, which ones are with you at the moment, and which one are you feeding?

What are you doing to make sure the most helpful one stays fit and healthy?

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one thing for wellbeing - for your horse