Anger can be extremely productive- we can use it to advocate for ourselves and others, to promote justice, to allow others to become more emotionally intimate with us. However, if we don’t experience our anger in a productive manner, it can be like an undigested meal lingering in our bellies and never moving forward. This act of leaving the angry feeling inside and not processing it can be harmful to ourselves and those around us. Can we take an honest look at our anger and decide how to process it? Can we be accepting of the anger and compassionate to our needs?
A Cherokee legend about a grandfather speaking to his grandson captures the importance of compassion. The grandfather explains to his grandson the cause of violence in this world. “In each human heart,” he tells the boy, “there are two wolves battling one another — one is fearful and angry, and the other is understanding and kind.” The young boy then asks, “Which one will win?” His grandfather smiles and says, “Whichever one we choose to feed.”
This legend shows that we can feed ourselves with anger and let it swell up inside of ourselves. Or we can feed ourselves with compassion. The compassion might come from embracing our anger and learning how to deal with it in a manner that serves our best interests. Or we can decide to move from the anger and instead feed ourselves with love. Which wolf do you want to feed?