I so don’t want to get out of bed yet, so I thought we’d hang out a little longer in our pajamas and start the week off with one of my favorites fables! So grab your pillow, cozy up to the fire, cuz it’s storytime, Monday Morning Mantra-style.
One bright winter day, a young Cherokee was out for a walk with his grandfather. Pausing to rest against a snowy winter pine, the grandfather looked at his growing grandson.
“A fight is going on inside me,” the wise old Cherokee said. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil, unhappy, and ugly. He is anger and greed. He spreads lies and deceit and pain.”
The grandfather paused. Gazing misty-eyed into the sea of trees, he continued.
The other wolf is beautiful and good. He is friendly, joyful, loving, worthy, humble and kind. He spreads inspiration wholeheartedly and has a deep vision beyond ordinary wisdom. But they are in constant battle with each other.”
Glancing back to the young boy he finished “The same battle is going on inside you, my son, and inside all human beings.”
The boy thought a moment. After a moment, he looked back at his grandfather and asked ” Grandfather, which wolf is going to win?”
The Grandfather smiled and grabbed the boys hand, leading him past the snowy pines.
“Whichever one you feed.”
*pause for a moment of dramatic reflection and misty-eyed realization*
Okay, so full disclosure? I have a hell of a time being positive twenty-four-seven. In fact, I count it a successful day if I whine fewer than six times about the weather, don’t hang up the phone in a really obvious huff, and manage to only discreetly roll my eyes at the person in front of me in the airport security line (what do you MEAN you didn’t know liquids over 3 ounces couldn’t be carried on? Have you been living on Mars?!). Feeding the bad wolf here, people, and I’m not proud of it.
And if the story is true and all we have to do is feed whichever wolf we wanted to win, the more we feed our good wolves, the stronger and more self-sufficient they become (which is to say if you practice being nice, it will be easier to be nice.) See! Dad was right! Practice makes perfect, y’all!
So if you’ve ever yelled and said no you probably could have smiled and said yes, or rolled your eyes and crossed your arms when you could have shrugged your shoulders and opened your mind, here are a few ways to remember to feed the good wolf:
Four Ways to Feed your Good Wolf:
1) Count to ten.
Because the fastest way for me to get into a fight is to interrupt someone while they are arguing with me. I try to count to ten which gives me a little time to a) listen to everything they have to say and b) give my brain a second or two to calm down and decide what’s really important. And usually, when I give myself a little more time to digest some information, I have a more mature and appropriate response. Plus, how much do you hate to be interrupted when you’re talking to someone? I know. Me too.
2) Remember that there are only so many hours in the day.
Are you ready to lean on your horn at the woman that took your parking spot at the grocery store because you were there first? Nothing you can do about it, so instead of spending thirty minutes recounting to your boyfriend how some lady totally cut you off and ruined your whole day, spend thirty seconds letting it go and twenty-nine and a half minutes talking about the things that really matter.
3) Be proactive.
Do you think you really will DIE if the slow walkin’ granny in front of you on the escalator stops and takes a rest? Tap her on the shoulder and say soooo politely with a really apologetic smile “Excuse me, do you mind if I just sneak around you?” Late for a flight and the family of ten that is in the security line is going to take until next Tuesday to get through with all their carry on luggage and wayward kiddos? Hail a TSA agent, explain the situation and see if they can do anything to get you into a different line. The only one who can change your mood is you. So do something about it and don’t give yourself a chance to feed the bad wolf.
4) Remind yourself that you always have a choice.
You can feed the bad wolf if you want, because it’s easier and you will feel that instant gratification. But, like that third piece of pie or that last Grey Goose, it feels terrible right away AND will still feel terrible a few hours later. Instant gratification and puking your spiritual guts out? Or delayed happiness and finally fitting into your positivity jeans?