Recently I came across a great quote by Shakespeare ‘nothing is either good nor evil, but thinking makes it so.‘ The more that I reflected upon these words written over 400 years ago, the more I realised that people fail to learn the lessons from the past. If these ideas have been around for so long, why has humankind failed to embrace these concepts and put the power of the mind to better use. This whole idea could come under the whole ‘your thoughts create your reality’ perspective.
The Two Wolves Story
When I came across the story of the Cherokee and his grandson, the message was wonderful. So simple and yet so powerful. Says pretty much all I wanted to say in a few sentences, and no fancy quotes or stories required to back it up.
So what do you think of the story? get it? It’s pretty simple really. We create ourselves. We become what we chose to become. As George Bernard Shaw said ‘Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself’. Some people will argue that we are shaped by our life experiences. Yes that is true to a point, BUT, we are 100% responsible for how we chose to let those life experiences shape us. In every given moment you have a choice.
You can chose to feed the evil wolf or chose to feed the good wolf. It is your choice in every instant, in every life situation, in every challenge, every time life chucks a curve ball, every time the shit hits the fan.
Every time you feel inferior, every time you feel jealous, every time you feel anger, every time you feel resentment…..STOP. Think about it. Say for example you feel inferior because your friend is making more money than you, or your friend is stronger, fitter, better looking, successful. Is your friend actually making you feel inferior? Even if they are flaunting their success, money etc….even if they explicitly say to you ‘you are inferior to me’, you ALWAYS have a choice. You can chose to allow yourself to feel inferior, to feel anger, to feel resentment OR you can chose a different emotion. Emotions do not just come out of nowhere, you create them by your thoughts. Can you control your thoughts? Of course you can.
“Circumstances don’t matter, only state of being matters”
Can you control your state of being? Some will say NO and they will come up with a list of reasons. How the hell can I control my state of being if my house is in negative equity. How can I control my state of being if I just lost my job? How can I control my state of being if my lover just left me? These are pretty valid reasons for feeling miserable, and a wee bit of self pity is allowed, actually it’s important. You have to sit with your emotions too, allow yourself to feel the emotions that your thoughts have conjured up. Put a timeline to it though, or you will very quickly slip into a habit of feeding the evil wolf. So how do you snap out of it? How do you stop feeding the evil wolf?
1) Feel the emotion – sit with it for a while, cry your eyes out. To really work through this, and to get into a habit of feeding the right wolf you really should sit with the emotion. In the short term it may seem easier to try to numb the pain by getting drunk, training your guts out etc…. or it may seem easier to ignore it. Problem here is, it will come back and rear its ugly head…that evil wolf will be back. You may think, well if I pay attention to it, then am I feeding the evil wolf? Yeah ok, you may be feeding it a wee bit….but you are only giving it a teaser….a false sense of security…just enough to let it think that it’s got hold of you. When you move on to the next steps, which you can only do if you have done this one….then you will start to slowly starve the evil wolf.
2) Identify the emotion – is it anger, resentment, jealousy, frustration etc…?
3) Identify the thoughts that led to the manifestation of that emotion – remember its your thoughts that create your emotions
4) Identify where the thoughts came from – what was the incident that made you think the way that made you feel that way.
5) Remember – in every instant, in every situation…you have a choice – now look at the situation again… could you think about it differently? YES you can, you always can…no one or nothing else controls what or how you think. So look at the situation…change the way you think about it and the emotion changes too.
6) Chose to feed the good wolf – chose better feeling thoughts….it’s that simple. Find some way, anyway, to think differently. Think differently = Feel differently. This takes practice. Here is an important point. Be mindful not to just put a happy face sticker on it. You have got to do the groundwork. Yes there is a case for saying ‘fake it till you make it’, that philosophy does work for some things. When it comes to emotions though, a little groundwork needs to be done to change the thoughts that create them. Remember this;
“A belief is just a thought you keep thinking”
You CAN change the way you think. Do that and you change your beliefs. It starts with you. We all have so many beliefs about ourselves, some of them good, some of them not so good. One by one start changing the negative ones. Start feeding the good wolf. It’s your choice, take responsibility, take control, create yourself. Do that and your whole world will change. Think about this;
“When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change” (Wayne Dyer)
Start TODAY, and start with YOU