There is a tale of unknown origin.
An old man says to his grandson:” There’s a fight going on inside me. It’s a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil-angry, greedy, jealous, arrogant, and cowardly. The other is good-peaceful, loving, modest, generous, honest, and trustworthy.
The boy asks, “Which wolf will win?”
The old man replies, “The one you feed.”
Meeting the angry wolf
Imagine walking down the street and being confronted by an angry wolf. He stands in front of you, feet planted firmly on the ground, the hair on the back of his neck standing up, he’s showing his teeth and growling at you.
What would you do?
You would no doubt go in to fight or flight mode, you may decide to fight the wolf, but it’s more likely you will back off, cross to the other side of the street, run as fast and as far away from the wolf as you can.
How do you feel?
Your heart will probably be racing, you will be sweating, and full of adrenaline.
Maybe you will feel afraid, and angry because this wolf is allowed to prowl the streets. Where is the protection from this wolf, where are the police who are meant to patrol these streets? This fear and anger may be with you for the rest of the day, and even into night-time. You may go to bed and not be able to sleep, continually thinking about your confrontation with the wolf, and thinking about all the different scenarios that could have happened. What if he had attacked you, and hurt you physically as well as mentally?
From now on you may be afraid to walk that street again, afraid of another encounter with the wolf.
Meeting the peaceful wolf
Now imagine walking down that same street, and a kind peaceful wolf was to come along and walk beside you. Imagine you decided to sit on a bench and this wolf came up and rested his head on your lap. He licks your hand, and you start to stroke him in return. As you scratch behind his ear, he tilts his head and pushes it further into your hand. He looks at you kindly and you genuinely believe he is smiling at you.
What would you do?
The chances are you would be relishing this moment, both you and the wolf would be interacting with each other. The more the wolf moves his head, the more you will stroke it.
How do you feel?
You may well start to feel a connection with the wolf, you may begin to feel compassionate towards him, a sense of joy, maybe even a sense of love towards the wolf.
It may be hard to leave the wolf, but the feelings from this encounter may stay with you for the rest of the day. When you go to bed you will sleep soundly, the compassion from the wolf still with you.
The following day you may walk that street looking for another encounter with the wolf and may even walk the streets many times and have many encounters with him, each one as enjoyable as the first.
Imagine you are the wolf?
Now imagine you are the angry wolf, snarling at everyone you meet, feeling hatred towards the people around you. How do you think that anger within you will affect other people you meet?
It is said that the anger within you is likely to affect other people you come into contact with. Those people carry that anger and pass it on to other people they meet. It is believed that the emotions you pass on to people around you will in turn be passed on to others and could be carried through three degrees of separation. This means your anger may be passed on to people you don’t know or have never met, Your anger could result in a complete stranger having a bad day, or even in extreme cases committing a crime.
It is likely that people may avoid you, not want to be friends with you. The people you are likely to attract are other angry wolves, all pooling their anger together.
But what if you were the peaceful wolf instead? You smiled at people around you, were friendly in your interactions with people, maybe even striking up a conversation with someone.
Just like anger, kindness also affects others around you. when you are kind to someone, they are more likely to be kind to someone too. As with anger, kindness can go through three degrees of separation. Your kindness could help a total stranger, someone you don’t know or have never met, to have a wonderful experience. In extreme cases, it could turn someone’s life around.
Studies have shown that kind people attract others towards them, they build stronger, more loving relationships with family, friends and work colleagues.
Of course, as the grandfather said, there will be two wolves inside of us all. There are times when the angry wolf will be stronger and other times the kind peaceful wolf. We all have good days and bad days, happy times and sad. But imagine right now you had a choice; –
Which wolf would you feed?
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