Feed the Good Wolf: How to Encourage Yourself in Challenging Times

From Friday 19th January, everyday for 40 days, I will be sharing something each day that has either (1) changed my way of thinking or perspective, (2) helped me get through a challenging period of transition, change or growth, or (3) changed my life for the better. I've called it '40 Days of Growth'. I'd love it if you followed along with me on this journey - contributing what has also helped you to learn, grow and change. And, if I can support you on your own learning journey, please do let me know 😃

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Feed the Good Wolf: How to Encourage Yourself in Challenging Times

Day 19 of 40 DAYS OF GROWTH

 

When you're going through a challenging time how do you talk yourself through it? Have you ever thought about or noticed your self-talk? Have you ever reframed or deliberately chosen your self talk? Big questions! One thing that's really helped me in times of uncertainty, challenge, stress and/or overwhelm is having positive things that my inner cheerleader can easily remember to say to myself for when times get challenging. This blog post is about a story that will give you some insights about how to encourage yourself in challenging times.

 

The Tale of Two Wolves

Today's snippet of motivational wisdom comes from my amazing Amazing Outward Bound instructors in 2014 - Thom and Jorge. Right before we went to do one of our first challenges (rock climbing and abseiling) they told us, using humour, a story that they called 'The Tale of Two Wolves'. From memory they ran ahead of our group and then jumped out from behind some trees wearing wolf masks! Awesome. The story went something like this:

One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “my son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, 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 though about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “which wolf wins?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “the one that you feed.”

(Story taken from source)

Thom and Jorge then asked us a series of questions and gave us time to think about what our own 'two wolves' would be and what they would say to ourselves. They then had us write in permanent marker on our arms two things that our 'good wolf' would say to us. On my arms I wrote: (1) You can do it beautiful! and (2) Keep on going!!

 

Feeding the Good Wolf

During the rock climbing and abseiling challenge remembering the two phrases was incredibly helpful. Any time that I felt scared or stuck while climbing the wall (especially when blind folded!!!), I relied on my inner cheerleader's self talk as well as the encouragement from my team mates below. Feeding the good wolf was invaluable!

These two phrases are two things that I still say to myself (although I've now changed the word "beautiful" to "honey" as I've expanded my sense of worth to be wider than my physical appearance).

 I took this photo on the streets of Lyall Bay in the weekend. I keep seeing and hearing the message 'DON'T GIVE UP!' Maybe this will be as helpful a reminder for you as it was for me? :)

I took this photo on the streets of Lyall Bay in the weekend. I keep seeing and hearing the message 'DON'T GIVE UP!' Maybe this will be as helpful a reminder for you as it was for me? :)

 

Questions for you

What do you say to yourself? What does your 'good wolf' say to you? Let me know in the comments section below :)