Self-talk is a powerful habit with a tremendous influence on the quality of our lives. Thoughts and words become actions. Actions repeated, become habit. Habits, in turn, shape our character and lead us to our destiny. Internal dialogue is our habitual way of thinking and relating to ourselves and the world around us. What goes on in the mind finds expression through the body. Perhaps more than any other habit, our habitual inner-talk has a determining effect on the direction of our lives.
"It is the habitual thought that frames itself into our life. It affects us even more than our intimate social relations do. Our confidential friends have not so much to do in shaping our lives as the thoughts which we harbor."
There is an old Native American wisdom story that speaks right to the heart of the matter when it comes to the dynamics of the inner self-talk we carry inside.
An old chief sat by the fire with his two young grandsons and told them the following tale...
"There is a good wolf and a bad wolf living inside each of us. The good wolf is love, compassion, courage, generosity, fortitude, discipline, laughter, good works and every other worthy virtue that a human being is capable of. The bad wolf is anger, hatred, fear, laziness, jealousy, envy, greed, sloth and every other unworthy vice that a human being is capable of.
In each and every one of us, these two wolves are engaged in a fierce battle."
By this time the chiefs grandsons were sitting at the edge of their seats hardly able to contain their excitement and curiosity, "Which wolf wins?" they impatiently wanted to know...
"The one you feed", answered the old chief. "The one you feed."
Developing a positive attitude in life has a lot to do with the wolf we habitually feed inside. Feed the good wolf, and it grows strong. Feed the bad wolf, and it grows strong in equal measure.
Which wolf am I feeding now? This is the awareness we need to develop. Are we feeding the bad wolf, while expecting the good wolf to gain the upper hand? Are we starving our champion, our protector, our savior - the best part of ourselves - leaving it to fend off the attacks of a bad wolf which is growing strong.
Every thought we induldge either feeds the good wolf or the bad. It's a rare thought indeed that is neutral. We can have a thought of self-love or self-hate; a thought of courage or cowardess; a thought of dignity or shame.
We can choose.
The thoughts we indulge are under our response ability. No one else can help - or hinder. As with any other worthwhile habit, establishing the habit of positive self-talk means work. In many cases we have been nurturing our negative self-talk for years. The bad wolf has grown strong.
We need to turn the tables on this foe. We need to take its food away and feed the good wolf instead. Judiciously feeding one and not the other, this is all that is needed for the battle to be won. The weaker the bad wolf becomes, the more negativity loses its powerful grip on us.
We can seize the initiative. We can take charge of our internal life. We can resolve to feed the best and starve the rest. It's up to us.
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