I’ve recently been reminded of this story, as I’ve seen versions of it in a couple of books I’ve read within the past few months. Last fall, a friend in a forum told me this story right when I needed it (thanks, Villow, wherever you are!), and I’d like to pass it on:
The Two Wolves
“An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.
“I have struggled with these feelings many times,” he continued. “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
“But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
“Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”
Which wolf do you feed?
When you spend time thinking of what you don’t have and lamenting the injustice of it all, which wolf are you feeding? When you spend time thinking of the things you do have with gratitude, which wolf are you feeding? How much time do you spend doing each of those?
It is not always easy to change a well-established habit, but my way of thinking, and yours, are habits, and can be changed. Observe how you are thinking, and instead of getting caught up in judging yourself for thinking that way (that doesn’t help) simply think differently. All of these things are possible. Not succeeding the first time is not a good reason not to try again.