I’ve always struggled with the “positive attitude” idea, especially since overuse and misuse has turned it into a trite platitude.
So often, it’s been used to dismiss my complaints about pain, implying that I have a problem with my attitude, rather than with my pain. Urging a person suffering chronic pain or illness to have a better attitude implies their condition is more psychological than physical, a case of “blaming the victim”.
But when I heard this fable, I understood how I can realistically cultivate the positive in my life:
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves 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 the most.”
Now I’ve learned to be much more careful not to feed the “bad wolf” with my words or thinking. Instead, I’m on the lookout for scraps of gratitude I can toss to the “good wolf”. I don’t have to act like everything is “fine”, but I can stop feeding the dark negativity that threatens to stain every aspect of my life.