Sitting Bull

Use Gratitude to Combat Negative Thoughts

“Inside of me there are two dogs. One is mean and evil and the other is good and they fight each other all the time. When asked which one wins I answer, the one I feed the most.”  

This quote is often attributed to legendary North American Indian Chief Sitting Bull, although its exact origin is difficult to ascertain.  It is, however, worth reflecting upon.

Our thoughts determine our moods and our mental health.  By choosing to focus on the positive we can improve our disposition and develop a mindset that can help us to be more resilient when facing the challenges that life throws up at us.  Parents can help young men develop habits to support this.  Daily rituals of gratitude - deliberately looking for and sharing the positive things in our day that we are grateful for, or occasions in which we have helped or provided service to someone else - can help guide young men to see the positives around them.

Conversely, by focusing on the negative we can set ourselves in a downward mood spiral that will be detrimental to our health and wellbeing.

The above quote is similar to a Cherokee legend in which “An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.

‘A fight is going on inside me,’ he said to the boy.

‘It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.’ He continued, ‘The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you — and inside every other person, too.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, ‘Which wolf will win?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’”