Heartland Human Services

Anger Management

Kerrie Habing, CADC, MHP

An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.
I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”

Can you identify the two wolves within yourself? How much time do you spend feeding the bad wolf? This Native American anecdote is meant to inspire reflection within ourselves about how we handle relationships and stressors. When confronted with stressful situations, we have a choice. Our reaction will depend upon which wolf we have been feeding the most. Feeding the good wolf means being mindful. We are aware of our role in society. We are accepting that others may have different roles. We seek to understand the world with the goal of cooperation and cohesion. Our thoughts gravitate toward naturally positive situations and solutions. Feeding the bad wolf is dangerous. We train ourselves to see only negative. We become selfish. Our actions are purely self-serving. We are not working toward the greater good of our community. Which one are you feeding? How could your life change if you made an effort to feed the good wolf more each day?

Psychologists advise those who have feelings of depression lasting more than two weeks to seek professional advice.  If you or a loved one are experiencing  any symptoms of depression, contact Heartland Human Services at 217-347-7179 or take a free screening at www.heartlandhs.org