Learn to Ride your Wolf

Don't mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me.
 Al Capone
If you have spent any time looking over any social media site, you must have come across the tale of the two wolves. If you haven’t, let me give you the cliff notes edition. It tells that within every man there exist two wolves. One wolf is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The moral is that you become the Wolf you feed. And I would agree with the story and it’s emotionally touching moral; except I don’t.

This is a story about the importance of restraint. And I am the first to state the importance of learning to have self-control and restraint. The problem with the story and with most comments out there about restraint is denying the violent side that is part of our nature by starving it. They seem to forget that if you starve a wolf, he becomes dangerously desperate.

We can’t kill off this side of our nature. Anger, hatred, regret, and resentment might seem like negative emotions that should be stamped out as we civilize ourselves. But we can’t, not if we accept our role as warriors. When properly channeled and controlled, these emotions push us to be more than we thought we could be.  They give us the courage to fight a battle we know is already lost, to get back up after we have been knocked down, to stand up to meet a challenge when it would be easier to just sit down. When everyone says that something can’t be done, that something is impossible, it’s these “negative” emotions that let you stand up proud and spout the greatest challenge you can offer the world:

Just watch me.

The problem is placing a bridle over your beast. It’s too easy to fall sway into to the emotions, to fight battles just to prove you can. In these cases, your ego will guide your fist. And that is where you have lost your battle, no matter the outcome. So you must find an outlet for this beast, a release valve. Because life will feed this wolf for you, with every frustration, ever argument, every traffic jam, every idiot holding up a line when you are rushed and every self-centered simpleton you will have to deal with. The wolf will grow and start eating at your soul. So give it an outlet.

Keep in mind that this is not a “Guy Thing.” Women have to deal with their own Beast, as this part of human nature has nothing  to do with gender.

Pick up a physically and mentally demanding hobby, something you can cut loose on. Be it fighting, painting, writing, dancing, or whatever you want. The important aspect when making this choice is that it must be something that requires some level of control. This hobby will work two fold. First, it will give the beast an outlet, keeping it from growing too much. Second, and even more important, it will teach you to call upon your beast when you need him, and be able to keep him under control.

Gandhi said it best when he said “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” And in this life, you will need to call upon your wolf just to survive.