One evening, a very wise, old Indian chief was speaking with his grand-son about life, telling him about the internal battle that goes on inside all people. He said, “My son, inside all of us there exists a constant battle between two wolves. One wolf is very evil. It forces you to deal with anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and a self-centered, destructive ego.The other wolf is good. It helps you to experience joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, faith, self-respect, and to develop a giving, constructive ego.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The wise, old Indian chief replied, “My son, the one you feed.”
We all face feelings of anger, jealousy, guilt etc from time to time. Some of us more, and some of us less than others. However, we can actively choose NOT to. We are the only ones who can change our attitutes and our ways of perceiving things: For some the glass is always half empty while for others it is always half full.
Of course some of us are stuck in difficult situations at work, in our family life or with our partners, but does that give us any reason to hold a negative attitude towards life? Maybe all these things are happening for a reason, so we learn from these situations and grow. If we are stuck in a job we hate with a boss we hate even more, why not use the energy we spend lamenting about it to actually improve the situation and either try and improve the situation at work or find a new one?
Admittedly, some situations in life we can’t change. We can’t change the fact that one of our loved ones has a serious illness. We can’t change the fact that our husband just left us with 3 young kids at home. But what we can change is the way we see things. How we choose to perceive these situations. Maybe some of these things happen for a reason in our lives. The serious illness might just be a reminder that we shouldn’t take anything for granted, that we should be grateful for what we have every minute of each day, that we need to forgive others and ourselves for past mistakes. Research has shown again and again that illnesses such as migraines, cancer, chronic back pains etc can all be a result of too much stress, avoidance of conflicts, bitterness (ie. the inability to forgive) to just mention a few examples. The truth is that most of us attract these illnesses ourselves. A soul that is unhappy will manifest its symptons on a physical level eventually.
So it is up to us to hold a positive attitude towars life. It’s up to us to understand that we are the sole responsible ones for our happiness and no one else. We can choose how we think about problems and how we deal with them. We can choose to be grateful for the things we have. As the wise Indian chief in the story said, we can choose to feed the good wolf within ourselves and cultivate more of the good things such as joy, love, peace, forgiveness and gratitude.
If it wasn’t for our challanges we faced, we would probably not have achieved anything worthwile. If it wasn’t for our failures, we wouldn’t appreciate the sweet flavour of our success as much. If it wasn’t for obstacles and numerous rejections, we wouldn’t be learning to trust and follow our inner voice. If it wasn’t for the darkest nights we faced, we wouldn’t admire the miracle of dawn.
Soon it’s Thanksgiving in the US. While we don’t celebrate this in Europe I think it’s one of the greatest holidays. To have at least one day a year where people gather together and announce what they are grateful for. But why just limit this to once a year when we can practice gratefulness each and every day in our lives?
Stay tuned for a new blog entry devoted just on being grateful!
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