The clever ways that life lessons are imparted in parables can make the consideration of their complex meanings an enjoyable, if not absorbing, pasttime. While browsing various media sources, I have often come across this Cherokee parable. Its application to the basic tenet of cogitive psychotherapy (the way we think affects the way we feel) and the wisdom of self-understanding is substantial. The parable alludes to the consequences of what we exposure our minds to in the form of thoughts. When we think positively, we are likely to have greater well-being and feel good. When we think negatively, we are likely to have dimnished well-being and feel bad. Thus, we are what we think.

Two Wolves: A Cherokee Teaching

An elderly Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life…
He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
One wolf is evil — he is fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, competition, superiority, and ego.
The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.
This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too.”
They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied: “The one you feed”.

Submitted by Holly Houston, Ph.D.                                                                                              
Licensed Clinical Psychologist