There are a lot of articles going around that talk about how to clean up your life and your stress. I see a lot about avoiding toxic people. I agree! If there is someone in your life who is constantly bringing you down and causing you stress, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with them. Removing the negative will lead to adding a positive. Just like integer operations, hooray!
But what if cutting that person out of your life is not an option? NOW what?? Here’s what I suggest:
Have you ever heard the story about the two wolves? I heard it from Dorothy, Jaime’s mom. I think you should read it! Here it is:
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
“Which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied,
“The one you feed.”
Ooooo that last part always gives me chills! I love this story because it can be applied to soooooo many situations. Two people could have almost identical lives on the outside. But on the inside, they could be completely different. It all depends on what they make of it. How they choose to feel that day. Which wolf they decide to feed. Maybe they both get sick and miss a day of work. The one person could say “well it sucks to be sick, but I have been praying for a day of rest lately. I guess I got it. Woo!” while the other says “Oh crap, I’m sick again. Now I have to miss a day of work. Why does this always happen to me. I can’t catch a break! Life is the worst!” Given one situation, there are soooo many different mental roads to take.
Does that mean when awful things happen, that we aren’t allowed to feel our feelings? That we need to just suck it up and get over it? Well that’s just silly, you silly goose! Feel your feelings, absolutely. Growl. Grieve. But when something isn’t a super huge deal, but it definitely seems to bother you, remember those wolves. Ask yourself what those negative feelings are doing for you. Are they helping you or the situation? If not, take some deep breaths and begin to feed the other wolf. Picture what you want. Envision yourself feeling calm and collected. Unaffected by that asshole. Tell yourself why this is important for your well-being.
And remember! This is a practice. We can’t just read this story one time and expect to remember it and follow it perfectly every time we’re stressed. Come back to the story. Print it out. Hang it up! Read it when you’re angry.
I love you!