by: Jennifer Chrisman
There is a Native American tale that tells of a young boy speaking with his grandmother. She tells the boy that she has the spirit of two wolves living and battling inside of her; one his vengeful and unkind, as he sees all the world as a threat, and the other is loving, secure, and nurturing.
The little boy asks his grandmother, “Which one will end up winning?” and the grandmother replies, “Which ever one I feed.”
We all have this pull inside of us: We can either nurture our fears and insecurities, or we can nurture our trust in love, kindness, and acceptance. This is not a new concept.
There is an endless amount of information out there about connecting with your inner self and finding happiness from within.
However, all that information can feel overwhelming and even discouraging. If you’re anything like me, you may find yourself still aching from a broken heart, or beating yourself up for the chocolate-chip cookie you just ate, shortly after reading about finding forgiveness, gratitude, and self-love.
What I realized was missing for me in my quest for self-improvement—and what kept pulling me back to my old, familiar negative thinking, feeding the insecure wolf—was faith.
In order to make the meaningful changes that allow us to release the grasp of our fears and limiting thoughts and beliefs, we have to be willing to believe in the positivity—believe that we deserve to stop beating ourselves up and looking for an external solution to “fix” us.
It’s not enough to just think it. We have to believe it.
The limiting beliefs of our fears are deep-rooted, and so we need to meet them from our gut level. We need to really believe that it’s okay to step out of our darkness and connect with our light instead.
Okay. So, how do we do that?
We need to find evidence of that love around us.
The world we see is a reflection of our inner experience.
When we see love and light, we are connected to love and light inside of us. And conversely, when we see the inadequacies around us, we’ll connect with that inside of ourselves.
Look around you. Where can you find evidence of the light in your life, the light within you?
This concept was never more evident for me than when I had my son. Whenever I veer off course—when my old, familiar, fearful thoughts creep up to tell me how I’m not good enough, I don’t have enough, or how everything is going to fall apart—I think about my son.
When I look at him, I’m able to so clearly see the beauty and the purity of the human soul. He doesn’t have to do anything to prove, or earn, his lovability; I certainly don’t look at him and think, “Gee, if he lost a little weight, I’d love him more,” or “When he meets that financial goal, that’s when I’ll love him.”
These thoughts don’t even cross my mind when I think of him, so why would it seem logical to say them to myself?
We all started out in the same place, with a full capacity for love and loving. We weren’t born into this world with fears of failure, or being emotionally walled off. Children know no limitations until we point them out to them.
There was once a time in your life when your dreams knew no limitations, when you were free to take risks, and even if you fell down, you were able to get back up.
That light is still in you. It doesn’t ever go away; fear just overshadows it.
Fortunately, fear is a learned response that has built up over time, which means that we can unlearn it!
When we allow ourselves to realize that the fear isn’t real, we get to make a different choice. We can choose to find the love instead—to feed the loving wolf.
I know that when I look at my son and I see that loving energy, it is my loving energy reflecting back at me.
Take a look around. Where do you see your loving reflection shining back at you? What inspires you? Where can you look for a reminder to stay connected to your belief that you deserve a life of love, and that the love and all possibilities are already inside of you?
How can you stay present and aware of which wolf you are feeding?
About the Author: Jennifer Chrisman is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist practicing in Los Angeles, where she specializes in using Mindfulness based approaches to help her clients find more meaning in their life. To learn more, you can check out her website here, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.