The Two Wolves – Feeding the Good Wolf

by Deirdre Shaffer, MSW

The frequently changing emotions precipitated by divorce can be varied, difficult, and overwhelming. At times, it can feel like we’re going crazy or riding the SADMADGLADSCAREDHURT Roller Coaster For The Truly Brave. The ups and downs are usually more frequent with pronounced highs and lows in the beginning. Over time, the emotions level out and may occur over days and weeks rather than in a matter of hours. Breaks of happiness begin to peak out from behind the clouds.  Depending on the length of the marriage and the circumstances surrounding the end of the union, the recovery time can differ. Some estimates say it takes one year of healing for every 4-5 years of marriage. Of course, grief is personal; people have different ways of mourning and timelines for recovery. Factors like resilience, optimism, a supportive social network, and good stress management skills are useful in getting through this life-changing transition.

At some point during our healing, we begin to realize that we have choices. Choices about how we want to live, choices about how we act (despite how we feel), choices about what we want to create. And the place to start is by focusing on our beliefs and our emotions. We DO have control over what is in our heads and in our hearts. If we are mindful and willing, we can change our negative, self-defeating thoughts and feelings into positive, life-affirming ones. By being intentional about what we focus on, we can create happiness.

Have you heard the old Cherokee parable about the Two Wolves?

“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.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, 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 replied, “The one you feed.”

We have choices. We can focus on the light or on the dark. We can curse the darkness or light a candle. The first step is to make the commitment to heal and grow. The next step is to put a strategy into practice. Find what works for you….A daily gratitude journal? A reminder list on your refrigerator? Prayer? Meditation? Yoga? Replacing a negative thought with a positive one? Helping someone less fortunate than you? What are your talents and gifts?

Let them SHINE! Feed the GOOD wolf!!


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