“I am just sick of negative people!”
I overheard a person the other day that was complaining along those lines. And the more she complained the more the other person looked ready to run away. And many times we do this: we are not aware that we are sending into the world the exact thing we profess to dislike ourselves.
Negativity is not inspiring and rarely brings with it anything constructive.
Here is a well-known story from the oral tradition of the Cherokee Nation:
A Grandfather from the Cherokee Nation was talking with his grandson.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight between two wolves.”
The young grandson listened intently.
“One wolf is anger, envy, war, greed, selfishness, sorrow, regret, guilt, resentment, inferiority/superiority, false pride, coarseness, and arrogance. He spreads lies, deceit, fear, hatred, blame, scarcity, poverty, and divisiveness.”
The other wolf is friendly, joyful, loving, worthy, serene, humble, kind, benevolent, just, fair, empathetic, generous, honest, compassionate, grateful, brave, and inspiring resting wholeheartedly in deep vision beyond ordinary wisdom.”
Grandfather continued; “This same fight is going on inside you and inside all human beings as well.”
The grandson paused in deep reflection and recognition of what his grandfather had just said. Then he finally asked;
“Grandfather, which wolf will win this horrific war?”
The elder Cherokee replied, “The wolf that you feed!”
Many of us intend to feed the joyful and loving sides of ourselves. Yet we still “fall into” being negative. Our family, partners, friends and business associates are on the receiving end. And if our intentions and actions don’t line up – it doesn’t matter how well we mean it – it is our actions they respond to.
So how do we change this habit of inadvertently and unconsciously getting side-tracked into fearful and divisive actions, no matter how well-intended we might be?
A new practice takes time to become a new habit. And “feeding our inner wolves” is all about practice.
In coaching we look at what habits we can change. By doing this, we also modify how we perceive the world. We have a choice if we want to see ourselves living out a self-fulfilling travesty or experience forward-moving momentum.
According to the law of attraction, like attracts like! And so feeding our own inner sense of love and worthiness attracts it into our lives. Feeding our own sense of fear and dread likewise attracts that which we do not want.
It can start simply. By starting to listen to the statements we make almost without even noticing:
“I will never figure this out.”
“Why even bother!”
“It is a scary world we live in”
It is not about whether these statements are true or false. It is a matter of sending out statements that affects the way we think, the way we feel and ultimately the way we act. And our world responds accordingly. It mirrors back to us, what we put out.
An example of another way to express the feelings at the root of the above statements could be:
“I love learning new things”
“If I don’t try I will never know.”
“I am thankful for ……. in my world”
Some of my clients install an internal “Eeyore alarm”. And when they feel tempted to make a negative statement, they remind themselves that here is an opportunity for reframing in a new way to get a result they really want. As they start aligning their intentions with their actions, their world starts responding accordingly.
Over time and with practice, it becomes as natural as riding a bike – and as perceptions change, so do lives.