This story tells of 2 wolves. It is helpful to see how feeding your emotions also change your character.
I was told this story by an old lady. I visited her when I knew she was very ill. I also knew 2 things about her:
- She’d had a hard life. Her daughter had died in a car crash when she was in her early twenties and for the past 10 years, she’d cared for her husband who’d had Alzheimer’s disease before he died.
- She also had a sister who was notorious for being a ‘drama queen’. Her sister was also now very frail but had been moved to care-home after care-home as everyone had found her too demanding.
I asked her about her life and how she’d coped with life’s hardships and how she’d managed to be such a positive influence for so many people. I also enquired about her sister although I’d not had the inclination to visit her.
She told me this story.
The story of two wolves
There once were two wolves. They lived outside in the forest but came to a remote house when they needed to be fed. Both were hungry. However, one wolf was angry. It would bite if you went near and would scratch at the door. It would pace around the house, snaring, jumping at the windows to see inside. When it saw someone, it would jump up and bare its teeth and howl for food.
The other wolf would sit – waiting patiently a short distance from the front door. It sat outside and waited even in the cold.
This story illustrates your inner emotions. The first wolf is angry, greedy, selfish, demanding, and satisfied by its stomach. The second wolf is patient, peaceful, and unassuming. You would only get to know this wolf if you wanted to.
There was only enough food for one wolf – so which one will you feed?
Learn your emotions
If it helps, then a simple list of the good emotions is shown below, with the bad emotions beneath them. It’s also worth noting that anger can easily be used to justify the good emotions – for example getting angry that you did something wrong again.
This anger also feeds the bad wolf. It’s important to feed the good wolf so that you’re not wanting to do the wrong thing again. Getting angry won’t help!
The list above is not meant to be definitive. Make a list which is relevant to you. This list orignially had some other positive values such as: Acceptance, Integrity, Courage but they were more relevant to the people attending the workshop.