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Two Wolves - Virtues For Life

The Power Of Choice

Our thoughts can become our worst enemy if we let them. Think about how you may be “feeding” your negative thoughts by allowing them to rule your mind.

If you analyze what a negative thought is doing for you, you will find that it often is disempowering you. You can immediately feel more empowered by focusing on something good in your life and cultivating the practice of gratitude.

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Two Wolves - Virtues For Life

Two Wolves - Virtues For Life

https://www.virtuesforlife.com/two-wolves/

virtuesforlife.com

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Key Ideas

The Power Of Choice

Our thoughts can become our worst enemy if we let them. Think about how you may be “feeding” your negative thoughts by allowing them to rule your mind.

If you analyze what a negative thought is doing for you, you will find that it often is disempowering you. You can immediately feel more empowered by focusing on something good in your life and cultivating the practice of gratitude.

The Cherokee Indian Legend Of Two Wolves

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. He tells him a fight between two wolfs rages inside him, and in every other person too. One wolf is filled with good emotions and another filled with negative ones. The youth asks which will win. The old man answers: “The one you feed.”

Counteracting Negative Thoughts

If negative thinking becomes incessant, it can lead to depression and self-destructive behavior. At minimum, negative thinking saps our energy, erodes our self-confidence and can put us in a bad mood.

Certainly, many would agree that our thoughts come and go so quickly that it’s seems impossible to notice them, but with awareness and an attitude of self-compassion, we can redirect our negative thoughts to more positive ones.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Stoic Philosophy

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Epictetus
Epictetus

Don’t seek for everything to happen as you wish it would, but rather wish that everything happens as it actually will—then your life will flow well.

Suffering and Desire

Buddha taught that there is suffering in this world, it is inevitable, and the root cause of suffering is mainly the desires we feel.

We want something, always, and feel miserable when we don't get it.

Stoicism teaches us to live in accordance with nature and to accept that suffering will manifest in different ways in our lives.

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Dealing with your anger

Anger leads us to poor decisions, regrettable behavior, or hurt feelings. However, some anger leads to more significant consequences, like strained relationships or legal trouble.

The key to ...

Anger ≠ aggression

Anger is an emotion, while aggression is a behavior. They differ entirely in one central dimension - control.

  • You can't control your emotions directly. In the legal system, nobody gets sent to prison for how they felt, regardless of how angry they were. They get punished for what they do.
  • You can influence your emotions indirectly by how you think and behave. For example, when you focus on how terrible all the drivers in your town are, your anger will likely increase. But, if you listen to music and think about how grateful you are, your anger will probably subside.
Expressing anger

While you can't control your emotions of anger directly, you have control over your aggression, which is a decision to express your anger.

Aggression does not only involve acts of violence. Being overly-critical or judgmental of someone in your mind is an act of aggression, as is replying sarcastically or rolling your eyes at someone.

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All-or-nothing thinking
Seing people and situations in either/or categories, without allowing for complexity(e.g.: the best/the worst). In reality, our lives unfold in shades of gray.
Overgeneralizing
When you draw general rules from specific events, and apply them across unrelated situations. Your rules are usually negative rather than positive.

For example, when you don’t get a job you want, you think, “People don’t like me, I’m going to die alone.”

Disqualifying the positive
When you reject positive statements or occurrences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or another. For example, your boss praises you in front of your colleagues. When someone mentions it to you later, you say, “She said that because I was standing in front and she couldn’t avoid me.”

Whenever you disqualify the positive, you’re wrongly reinforcing negative beliefs about yourself and your world.

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Self-Reflection

It's the ability to pay attention to your own thoughts, emotions, decisions, and behaviors.

There are three skills that can be practiced and will lead to better self-reflection:

Openness

It means seeing things for what they are, not what we think they should be.

To cultivate openness, we have to become aware of our misconceptions, default beliefs, biases, expectations and stereotypes about the world and actively try to overcome them. Keeping a Decision Journal is a good way to start.

Observation

It means being able to look at yourself with perspective and distance.

Real-time self-reflection requires us to shift our attention away from what’s happening outside and instead observe what’s happening inside. Mindfulness meditation practice is the best way to cultivate this ability.

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Commitment Issues

Many people have unrealistic expectations of dieting, viewing it as a temporary solution, seeking immediate results, or resorting to exotic and extreme fad diets. 

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Inadequate Sleep

Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down; this makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested. 

Get 7-8 hours of sleep around the same time each night and you will be ready to seize the day.

Poor Timing of Meals

Irregular eating schedules have subtle, yet traceable negative health effects and are associated with increased risks of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and inflammation. 

Simply by staying in sync with your circadian rhythm will facilitate weight loss. Try eating breakfast every day within one hour of waking up, then having a healthy snack or meal every three to four hours. 

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Ideologies ≠ Ideologues
Ideologies ≠ Ideologues

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Ideologues: people who pretend ...

Virtue ≠ Virtue Signaling

Jordan Peterson observed that virtues aim for balance and to avoid the extremes of the vices. Cultivating judgment about the difference between virtue and vice is the beginning of wisdom.

Modern relativism asserts judging how to live is impossible, because good and virtue are relative. Thus relativism’s version of “virtue” is “tolerance.” This leads to people broadcasting their tolerance as a form of self-promotion, and secret vice, which is also known as virtue signaling.

Order and Chaos

Order is where the people around you act according to the established social norms, remaining predictable and cooperative. Society is simultaneously structure and oppression.

Chaos is where the unexpected happens. 

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Anger is caused by impulsive judgment
Anger is caused by impulsive judgment

Getting angry is about facing some form of perceived threat. It also involves a knee-jerk reaction to negative feelings such as shame, guilt, anxiety, powerlessness, reject...

The “It’s happening again!” trigger for anger

Thinking, "I'm getting angry again" is a strong trigger for overly intense anger.

When this happens, the negative feelings that we associate with this thought make our emotional reactions worse. Common feelings include shame, guilt, feelings of inadequacy. If we know we have not made peace with our past hurts, we are more likely to experience this emotional reaction.

Changing destructive anger into healthy anger

This process requires us to pause and reflect on our internal experiences.

  • A meaningful component is to identify the negative feelings behind it and the conclusions we make. We should realize that our reaction in the moment may not only be about the current event but also about previous hurts.
  • Meeting this challenge requires attention beyond only controlling anger. It takes self-observation about the moments when anger arise. This way, we can immediately recognize that our reaction to a situation incorporates reactions coming from previous hurts.
Emotions

They are basal responses that begin in the subcortical areas of the brain responsible for producing biochemical reactions to environmental stimuli that have a direct impact on our physical state.&n...

Feelings

Feelings are preceded by emotions and tend to be our reactions to them. Emotions are a more generalized experience across humans, but feelings are more subjective and influenced by our personal experiences and interpretations, thus they are harder to measure.

Negative Emotions

They can be defined as unpleasant or unhappy emotions evoked in individuals to express a negative effect towards something.

Although some are labeled negative, all emotions are normal to the human experience. And it’s important to understand when and why negative emotions might arise, and develop positive behaviors to address them.

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Narrative Habits

The way we talk to ourselves about the events in our lives is subject to the same laws of learning and habit formation that physical behaviors are.

That means we can learn to talk to o...

Events + Thoughts = Emotions

Our emotions are always mediated by some form of thinking. 

If our thoughts determine how we feel, that means how we habitually think will determine how we habitually feel.

Mind Reading

It happens when we assume we understand what other people are thinking without any real evidence.

It is a failure of imagination because we often only imagine and focus on the negative aspects.

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How you speak to yourself

It directly influences how you experience things in life.

Our words play an important part in shaping our existence, so if your internal self-talk is negative, your external exper...

Words and emotions

The words we attach to our experience become our experience. 

Words have a biochemical effect on the body. For example, if you use a word like “devastated,” you’re going to produce a very different biochemical effect than if you say, “I’m a bit disappointed.

Start with a small shift

Replace just one word that will transform the way you experience something “negative.” This is how you create a choice instead of a habitual reaction.

These small changes in your vocabulary give you the power to change your experiences in life by lowering the intensity of negative emotions to the point where they no longer control you.