The Tale of Two Wolves, also known as The One You Feed, is a story that reminds us to cultivate the best in ourselves. We are all born with a host of attributes, both positive and negative; it’s up to each of us to decide who we want to be. Whether it’s how we treat others or how we love ourselves, we grow the things we feed.
The One You Feed is said to have its origins in Native American culture but it’s also been credited to other sources from poets to preachers. Where it came from is a whole lot less important than what it reminds us though. Here is the story:
A grandfather is talking with his grandson. He tells the boy that inside each of us there are two wolves, constantly fighting each other.
One wolf is positivity. He is fueled by light, and love, and kindness. The other is negativity. He is fueled by envy, and bitterness, and fear.
His grandson considers this, looks up at his grandfather, and asks, “Grandpa, which one wins?”
The grandfather gently answers, “The one you feed.”
And that’s how it is for each of us.
“Happy successful people are almost always positive.”
That same thinking applies to health and fitness. Every day we are presented with a menu of experiences and we have to choose how we will react. We can either allow the negativity inside of us to keep us still or we can embrace the best in us and move forward. We own the power of our choices.
To succeed in anything from work to weight loss, we have to take control of our attitudes and get positive. But we all know that. The problem is that negative thinking is easy and eventually it becomes a habit. We learn to stop ourselves from winning. Every time we give in to fear or envy we teach ourselves that sitting still and being bitter is okay. It’s not.
Ten Ways to Nourish Your Best Self
Sometimes we need concrete ways to redirect our energy. Here are ten easy ways to improve your attitude:
- Surround yourself with wonderful people.
Jim Rohn says that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. That’s based on the law of averages. So if you want to be full of light and love and to care for yourself the way you deserve to be cared for, you have to surround yourself with positive people who care for themselves and care for you. Let their joy and success encourage yours.
- Stretch yourself.
If you want something better than what you have now you’re going to have to reach for it. If you want to get healthier you’ll need to look at what you are doing now and stretch yourself to make better choices.
- Learn from your mistakes.
There is no point in beating yourself up. We all make mistakes. When you make a bad choice, instead of using it as an opportunity to make yourself feel awful, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Mistakes give us a chance to get better. That’s how you turn a negative into a positive.
- Get up and get going.
Nothing gets better if you don’t get going. When you wake up you get a fresh start, every single day. So why not use each day as the incredible opportunity it is to choose your best self? Eat better. Work out. And love yourself more.
- Develop a winning attitude.
You have to be your own best cheerleader. A winning attitude is a positive mindset mixed with powerful self motivation. That’s a personal best cocktail. Drink up!
- Lighten up.
Truth be told, 99% of the time, whatever is stressing you out or holding you back really isn’t that big a deal. So you ate a donut. Or a dozen. It was a lousy choice if you want to get into your skinny jeans but it isn’t the end of the world. Learn to shake things off and you will find your happy healthiest self is more within reach than you think.
- Practice gratitude
Nothing improves attitude more than gratitude. If, in the midst of your misery, you can focus on what is right in your life you will be able to wash your world in good feelings and erase a lot of the nasty negative thoughts that hold you back. Instead of thinking about what’s wrong, celebrate what’s right.
This is a hard one for a lot of us. We all have hurts and resentments that block out the goodness. You may find you need to start with forgiving small things but if you can learn to forgive yourself and others for the harm they have done you, you will make room in your life for more happy. And you deserve more happy. We all do.
- Stop comparing yourself.
You are a unique and beautiful creation so stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison breeds envy, judgement, and bitterness. That’s the bad wolf talking. All that negativity will stop personal growth in its tracks. Let it go. Worry about your own self. You are a perfect work in progress!
- Own your actions.
If you want to be your best self you need to take responsibility for your actions. It’s easy to to say, “Yeah I didn’t make it to the gym because my day was so busy.” The kids needed this. My boss needed that. But you know what? Taking care of YOU is YOUR responsibility. Own it.
To live our best life, we’ve got to learn to be our best self.
When you take inventory of who you are, which wolf is winning? There is good and bad in each of us. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s perfectly normal to have negative feelings and frankly it’s a bit unrealistic to expect yourself to be completely free from negativity. The trick is to channel that bad into good; use it to feed the best in you. When you learn to nourish your best self you’ll be well on your way to living the happy, healthy life you deserve.
You are amazing. Don’t dismiss that. Own it. Celebrate it.
Forgive.Stop comparing yourself.Own your actions.