Our negative thoughts can create anxiety, anger, resentment, jealousy—an array of emotions. Negative thinking is normal. However, if this way of thinking becomes incessant, it can lead to depression and self-destructive behavior like addictions, derailing us from what we want most in life. At minimum, negative thinking saps our energy, erodes our self-confidence and can put us in a bad mood. Certainly, many would agree that our thoughts come and go so quickly that it’s seems impossible to notice them, but with awareness and an attitude of self-compassion, we can redirect our negative thoughts to more positive ones.
Two Wolves is a Cherokee Indian legend and illustrates the most important battle of our lives – the one between our good and bad thoughts. Here is how the story goes:
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.”
Our thoughts can be our own worst enemy. That is, if we let them. Think about how you may be “feeding” your negative thoughts by allowing them to rule your mind. Next time you have a negative thought, catch it and ask yourself, “What is this thought doing for me?” You will find that the answer is that all they are doing is disempowering you. You can immediately feel more empowered by focusing on something good in your life and cultivate the practice of gratitude.
We can create greater peace, confidence and a more positive outlook by learning how to manage our thoughts. After all, this battle can be won because we have the power of choice!
Which wolf are you feeding? Remember, you always have a choice…
- The Legend of Two Wolves by Celestial Elf (animated video of the Two Wolves story)
- The One You Feed podcast