good life with katie nelson
Part of cultivating a good life is surrounding yourself with positive influences.
There is a Cherokee legend of two wolves. The tale goes like this:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
More than any other time in history, we have full access to everything that both wolves offer. When it comes to media such as internet content, movies, music, and video, it’s possible to bring just about anything into the palm of your own hand. With a few key search terms, you can find the darkest side of humanity or goodness, peace, and light. Parents struggle to monitor what their children have access to, but it really impacts all of us. Even if we feel like we are “adult” enough to handle tougher topics, do we really feel happy when we consume negative content?
For me, this also goes beyond my entertainment choices. I use the wolf analogy each day as I try to focus my thoughts on positive things. It’s easy to give in to unkind emotions. It takes practice to focus on more hopeful feelings. Here are a few simple guidelines that help me keep the good wolf in charge:
Limit exposure to negative people and content. This isn’t always possible (especially if they are family members or co-workers), but there is no reason to invite a mean person into your mind via television or internet. It’s ok to hide people on Facebook, turn off the news, or ignore the person who cut you off in traffic. This isn’t a one-time only decision. Every day brings new opportunities to choose what type of people and influences will affect me. I have to remind myself that I can decide what I invite into my life.
Realize that we are all fighting the same battle. It’s so tempting to judge a person as good or bad based on the choices they’ve made. To continue with the Native American theme here, we really don’t know what someone has been through until we walk a mile in their moccasins. There’s a difference between staying away from a toxic person or situation and enjoying the wide range of humanity. Look for the beauty in others.
Be the good wolf. I can lift others up with my words and actions. I can make sure I’m not sharing or promoting negative content in my personal or online interactions. When I think about which force I want as the prominent one in my life, I must decide which wolf will win. It’s an ongoing battle, but when I surround myself with positive influences, I know I’m feeding the good wolf.
Katie Nelson is a member of our Creative Team using the Project Life® App. Katie resides in the Salt Lake City area of Utah with her husband and son. Her daughter is currently serving a church service mission in Iowa. Katie also runs a fun website called Toy to the World with her son Alex.