Tale of the Two Wolves
A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?” The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed.
I was recently introduced to this parable and instantly fell in love with it. I love it because it is a simple message that speaks heavy truth. Everyday we encounter opportunities to either feed the negative dog or the positive dog inside of us and the choice is ours.
A few weeks ago, I went out to dinner with a good friend of mine and she was talking about facebook. She asked me, "Did you see this post? Did you see that picture? Did you see this? Did you see that?" Question after question my response was, "No". She looked at me confused. Her expression said, "It is ok to miss 1 or 2 posts but how could you have missed all the others." I shared with her that I had made a decision several months ago to remove all social media and news feeds from my phone. In that moment, her jaw dropped to the floor and she demanded I prove it, by showing her my phone.
While looking at my phone she asked with concern, "Where are all your apps!?" She looked at me like my phone was broken and needed to be replaced. I repeated again, "I removed all social media and news feeds from my phone". It took her several seconds to remove the expression of shock from her face and process what I had just told her. Still confused but a bit more calm and composed she asked me, "Why would you do such a thing?”.
By this time, I couldn't help but to laugh internally. I had totally shifted her paradigm of worldly views and though she was still confused, she was now willing to try and understand my perspective. I explained to her that I am trying to better manage the influences around me. That the news, social media, tv and gossip all have a tendency to feed the negative dog within me with fear, greed and hatred. Though I feel that there can be some positives, these things are also very unpredictable. As a result, I have needed to set up strict boundaries for myself regarding how and when these types of thing will influence my life.
I asked my friend, “How many times do you think you check your social media or news feeds per day?" She responded by saying “On average 3-4x per day". I said, "I would beg to differ on that and say you check it more like 12 times per day." Here is the thing, for many of us checking social media has becoming subconscious brain activity. We have trained ourselves to look at it without even realizing we are looking at it. Similar to our breathing. Every few seconds we breath but we don't think about every time we need to take a breath, we just do it. Our society, our culture, our habits have trained us to do the same with social media and news feeds. When we don't even realize we are doing it, we have no control over what we are feeding our brains. For many people, their social media news feeds are not the most positive source of information. They don't add value to the people that read them. They are typically rants about how someone sees the world unfairly. When we are exposed to it, time and time again, we are feeding our brains with negativity without even realizing it. We are feeding the negative dog.
By choosing to remove social media and news feeds from my phone, I chose to start feeding the positivity in my life. Rather than checking social media while in a waiting room or during down time, I choose to carry a book with me. I choose to watch thought provoking TedTalks, podcasts or audiobooks. I choose to feed the positive dog inside me with enrichment, kindness, bravery and love.
My challenge for you this week is to find one way to feed the positivity in your life and one way to remove opportunities to feed the negativity. Everything starts with awareness. Which dog will you feed?