I saw this yesterday on Facebook. It’s one of those ‘photos’ that get shared around. Some get more shares than others, but this one seems to have captured the hearts of many people including some of my friends.
So, why does it touch so many of us? The simplicity of the metaphor, perhaps. The innocence of the question by the boy, perhaps. Or the resonance that the ‘punch line’ has. I know when I read it, I had a kind of physical reaction to it. I felt myself take a sharp intake of breath. One to listen to, I thought to myself. This ties into something that I’ve been thinking a lot about this week, about how our emotions influence what goes on in our bodies. Think about some of the sayings we have about some of the reactions we have to external stimuli, ‘it touched a nerve’, ‘I felt it in the pit of my stomach’, ‘it’s a gut reaction, but…’, ‘it made the hairs stand on end…’ Well, this one for me made me draw breath, because it felt very close to home.
How many of us can say that we our own worst enemies? I know I am. We can be extremely tough on ourselves, with voices of self-doubt, self-loathing and general nastiness. This is the food that feeds the ‘evil’ wolf, and makes him grow. It is well known psychologically, that when we think negative thoughts, this influences the way we behave, which then drives the actions we take. It’s called a negative thought cycle. Cyclical, because, guess what? When we live down to those low expectations, those actions, this reinforces the inner voice of the evil wolf, who says, “see, I told you. You’re useless!” and this fuels a deepening of the cycle.
By the same logic, it is possible to change it into a positive thought cycle. By feeding the ‘good’ wolf. Of course knowing about it is one thing and doing it is another, it takes practice to break a habit. I thought I’d use the Cherokee saying as an inspiration and ask myself – when I catch myself – which wolf am I feeding?