How to control anger: The legend of the two wolves

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Joe Dispenza
@joedispenza
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Learning to control anger is not easy, much less using it to our advantage to achieve our goals. When we get angry, a full-blown emotional abduction occurs. The amygdala takes over and we stop thinking, negative emotions emerge and make us say or do things we regret. Ambrose Bierce, an American writer, couldn't put it better when he said, "Speak without controlling your anger and you'll get the best speech you can regret."

A story too good to be true

There is an old Cherokee legend on the Internet about controlling anger. The most common version is this:



An old Indian said to his grandson: “I feel like I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One of the two is an angry, violent and vengeful wolf. The other is full of love and compassion. "The grandson asks him:" Grandfather, tell me which one will win? "

The grandfather replied: "What I will feed ..."

However, in reality it is almost impossible to eliminate the anger that we have inside. For example, sometimes injustices make us angry, we are so in tune with the pain of others that we feel anger. It is perfectly understandable. However, for many years society has encouraged us to hide negative emotions and be ashamed of feeling them, but in reality our goal should not be to eliminate or suppress anger but to learn to control and express it more assertively.

At this point I would like to share with you a deeper and more practical version of the ancient ancient Cherokee legend.

The legend of the two wolves

One day an old Cherokee thought it was time to pass on a life lesson to his grandson. He asked him to accompany him into the forest and, after sitting under a large tree, he began to talk to him about the struggle going on in the heart of each person:



“Dear nephew, know that in the mind and heart of every human being there is a perennial struggle. If you don't know her, sooner or later she will scare you and you will find yourself at the mercy of circumstances. This battle also exists in the heart of an elderly and wise person like me.

Two huge wolves coexist in my heart, one white and the other black. The white wolf is good, sweet and loving, loves harmony and only fights when he has to protect or defend the one he loves. The black wolf, on the other hand, is violent and perpetually angry. The slightest mishap unleashes his anger in such a way that he constantly fights for no reason. His mind is full of hate, but his anger is useless because it only causes him problems. Every day, these two wolves fight each other in my heart ”.

The grandson asked his grandfather: "In the end, which of the two wolves wins?"

The old man replied: “Both, because if I fed only the white wolf, the black would hide in the dark waiting for me to distract and take advantage of it to attack the good wolf. Conversely, if I pay attention to them and try to understand their nature, I can use their strength when I need it. Thus, both wolves can coexist in harmony ”.

The grandson was confused: "How is it possible that they both win?"

The old Cherokee smiled and said, “The black wolf has qualities that we may need in certain situations, he is not afraid and he is determined, he is also smart and his senses are particularly acute. His eyes accustomed to darkness can warn us in time of danger and save us.


If I feed both of them, they will not have to fight fiercely with each other to conquer my mind, so I will be able to choose from time to time which of them to resort to ”.


How to control anger in daily life?

This ancient legend gives us a valuable lesson: repressed anger is like a hungry wolf, very dangerous. If we can't control it, it can take over at any time. Therefore, we must not try to hide or suppress negative feelings, but we must learn to understand and redirect them. How to do it?

1. Observing how anger flows. When you place a finger on the rising hole of the water you get a more powerful jet that we can use at will, but if you apply too much pressure or obstruct the water by closing the pipe too much, then the water will expand in all areas. directions and we will lose control of them. The same is true when trying to suppress or hide anger, at some point it will no longer be possible to control the consequences. What is the solution? Remove your finger from the tap, let the anger flow and observe it as if you were another person. Look for a quiet place where you can let off steam by releasing your anger without harming anyone.

2. Putting the situation in perspective. Anger has the power to influence the value of things, when we are angry trivial events are magnified and make us even more angry. When we feel anger we lose perspective and become more selfish people, and this profoundly affects those around us. So the next time you get angry, ask yourself what is making you angry, will it still be that important in the next 5 years? It's a simple question that will help you reconsider the situation by adopting a more rational perspective.


3. Understanding the origin of anger to use it to one's advantage. Writing has therapeutic power so that we can also use it to learn how to control anger. Grab a pen and paper and answer these three questions: 1. Who or what is making you angry? 2. Why is that person / situation making you nervous? and finally 3. How can you use anger to your advantage? Don't forget that there is also positive aggression. For example, if you are feeling angry it might be an ideal time to play sports, so you will not only relax but will likely improve your performance as well. Remember that anger is nothing but energy so that you can use it to your advantage by channeling it into an activity that is beneficial to you.


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