A Native American story tells of an old Cherokee who 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. 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.”
– Kristen Neff, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind
There are no even paths in England. Because I sprained my ankle, I must pay attention to every step I take while I heal. This takes focus and constant mindfulness. I am aware that as the pain and swelling diminish, I must still be careful. Self-compassion requires the same degree of vigilance. We all struggle with internal “ wolves”. It is important to develop a mindful practice of compassion for ourselves. We must be willing to be quiet and still and look deep into our hearts to see what frightens us, what wounds exist. If we cut our finger and slapped on a bandage because we didn’t want to look at the cut and kept adding more and more bandages as the wound festered, eventually we would have a big problem. Anger, fear, sorrow, guilt and,,addiction are some of the bandages we use to avoid looking at our wounds. Learning to love connects us to the pure potential of the universe. We feel the lightness of spirit, greater energy and joy and attract greater abundance.
“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” – Jack Kornfield
Self-compassion is the balm that heals fear and opens space for us to see our true self and all the love and potential we possess.
How do we release fear and injury and develop self-compassion? Focus on breath, release old negative messages, practice what brings you joy and peace. Remember to feed the good wolf.