Two Wolves

So, there’s this story I heard one time  –or maybe I read it in a book, I don’t remember. But it’s a Native American parable. Like, a Chief was teaching his grandson or a Chief was teaching a young warrior. Anyway, he says, “A fight is going on inside you.  It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger and cruelty, ego and regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, insecurity, guilt, resentment, shame, etc..”

“The other is good – joy, and love and compassion, kindness, hope, love, generosity, faith, peace.  The wolves are always fighting inside of you.” The grandson/warrior thinks about it for a bit and then asks, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Chief replies, “The one you feed.” For me, this story is about how you get more of what you concentrate on. Like, where you put your energy is where things grow, so it’s a little warning, a reminder, not to let yourself dwell in the dark places in your psyche. The thing I think I say to my clients the most is, “No positive change can come from a harsh place of judgment.” Like if you feed the Harsh Judgment Dog, you just get more harsh judgment. In my clients, this often translates into paralysis and perfectionism.


Context & Analysis: This piece was collected from a 54 year old white woman who lives in Austin, Texas. She is a therapist by trade, hence the references to clients. I think her interpretation of the tale is spot on, and I like her addition of the Harsh Judgement Dog. If she propagates this legend, maybe naming one of the wolves the Harsh Judgement Dog will be one of the oikotypal variations.