One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that occurs within people. He said, “My son, the battle between two wolves occurs inside us all. One is Evil: It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is Good: It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
This is a legendary folk tale often taught to young children to educate them about the importance of being good. I believe that this story holds true in adulthood, as well. You can simply walk down the street and observe these situations happening simultaneously: a girlfriend who's jealous because her boyfriend checked out another girl; a girl who hugs her coat a little bit tighter because she feels overweight; a short man speeding down the road in his sports car, trying to compensate for the masculinity he feels he is lacking.
The ancient tale makes a lot of sense. It is the most natural thing in the world to feel insecure. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology, made his argument that sex and insecurity make the world go 'round — in fact, they form the basis of all human behavior.
Think about the times that you have felt evil, that you embodied some of the sentiments that evil puts forth. Did it feel good? Did it feel good putting others down by being boisterous and condescending? Did you feel at an all-time low while you pitied yourself for your failures? You probably got a short-lived high while you were projecting your negative feelings onto others, and at the end of the day, you probably went to bed still feeling unsettled.
Anger is not a primary feeling, but simply a secondary emotion to cover up feelings of hurt. Think about the other wolf from the story, the one who symbolizes the “Good” and all good things.
What if you were able to chalk up your losses and transform them to be able to see them in a positive light? You see the end of a relationship as an opportunity to be more selective for your next one. You can see a failure as the chance to try a little bit harder the next time. You make your purported shortcomings into your biggest assets. You can mentally leverage your insecurities as the pit stops along your road to success.
Next time you feel the “Evil” wolf taking control, be mindful of this story. We all hold the power to change our outcomes by changing our personal perceptions. Feeding your insecurities will not do you any good; you’ll end up wasting your energy by constantly concentrating on saving face rather than living. We are in control of our own lives — don’t relinquish your power to anyone.