The Two Wolves Within: Choosing Which One to Feed [& The Power of Conscious Choice]
Many years ago, I heard a story that’s stayed with me ever since.
It was this:
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 wolf 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.”
I love this story.
It carries a deep meaning that resonates with our human existence because it reflects the ongoing internal struggle we all face within ourselves.
It surfaces the constant battle between our positive and negative parts with their emotions and qualities, something which most many people don’t see, nevermind speak about.
The Evil Wolf and the Good Wolf represent the contrasting aspects of our inner selves.
The Evil Wolf embodies negative emotions that can lead to destructive behaviors and harm ourselves and others.
And the Good Wolf embodies positive emotions which contribute to our well-being and foster harmonious relationships.
This story acknowledges that we all possess both good and evil within us, and it recognizes the struggle between these opposing forces, which can oftentimes feel constant.
By naming this struggle, the story prompts us to reflect on our own thoughts, emotions, and actions and how they might be creating our reality and experience of life.
When the grandson asks, “Which wolf wins?” and the grandfather responds, “Whichever wolf you feed.” he is reminding us that we have a say in how we shape and experience our lives.
We can choose to feed our evil wolf by indulging in negative emotions, dwelling on past mistakes, anxiously awaiting potentially negative futures, and judging others or our circumstances. By doing so, we foster these negative emotions and qualities, encouraging them to grow. A life lived by indulging this wolf will lead to a predominately negative life, leading to negative outcomes and general dissatisfaction.
Feeding the good wolf, on the other hand, involves cultivating positive emotions, and taking action aligned with compassion, empathy, love, and connection. By consciously nourishing these positive aspects within ourselves, we contribute to our personal growth, wholeness, and the well-being of those around us.
The story reminds us that we can consciously shape our own character, which will influence how we see the world around us and how we show up to it. It reminds us to be mindful of the thoughts we entertain, the emotions we nurture, the choices we make, and the actions we take.
By consciously choosing to feed the good wolf within us, even when it’s hard, we move closer to inner peace, and from there, life is a much lighter and more enjoyable experience.
If you’re as profoundly taken by this message as I am, you’ve already got the message. And now, soften into knowing that this is part of what it means to be a human, and keep asking yourself which wolf you will choose to feed.