One of the greatest things about coming from a large family of American Indian and Irish lineage are the stories that have been handed down from generation to generation. I can distinctly remember being tucked into bed by my grandmother who was one of the best storytellers I’ve ever known. She could spin a story, short or long, scary or funny, that would always give me something to think about as a child.
I wasn’t the easiest child in the world. Full of questions, curious about everything, I used to be what my father termed “spirited” and my mother termed “hard-headed”. (Isn’t amazing how things change?!?) My grandmother, however, believed that all children were teachable if you put things on their level. After a particularly challenging day with me, my grandmother told me the following tale:
An old Grandfather, whose grandson came to him with anger in his heart at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice, said, “Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.”
He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.”
“But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great.
It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eye and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather solemnly said, “The one I feed.”
Monday Morning Perspective
“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” –Mark Twain
“Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” –Laurence J. Peter
In life, we are frequently faced with challenging situations that have the ability to anger us. Sometimes it’s situational and other times it’s directed at one person or another. No matter what the cause, the result is often the same. We get angry.
In times like this it is necessary that we identify when we gain control of the situation. We usually do not control the events leading up to the mistake or provocation, but once it occurs we again hold the reins. We get to control how we deal with it.
Anger has been the breading ground for many, many poor decisions in history. Whether it’s a subordinate, a spouse, a child, another family member, or a friend- we have little to gain by speaking while angry. We lose our ability to influence others positively when we fail to work through one issue at a time. Deal with the anger- then deal with the problem. You’ll find the results to be much more to your liking.
We all have two wolves. We just have to be selective of which one we feed.
Have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2011. All rights reserved.