About making Friends
with the Wolf
The other day I’ve got asked about the meaning behind my ‘girl and wolf’ tattoo. Most of the time I don’t really take notice of my tattoos anymore. They are part of my body just like my fingers and toes.
So sometimes it is beautiful to have someone remind me of the story behind a certain motive as almost all of my tattoos represent a certain stage or shifting point that happened in my life.
Growing up I struggled with self-harming and impulsive behaviour. The intensity of emotions I would feel inside were often too much to handle and so I had found methods to deal with it. I would drink myself to unconsciousness and take all sorts of drugs to numb the intensity of emotions–the pain and the sadness. I would cut or burn myself to get into my body and out of my toxic mind.
To me it was somehow ok to do all of this. These were my coping strategies to deal with the terror and chaos I felt inside. When I realised that my behaviour was a burden to the people I love–that I’d even cause them pain, it made me feel absolutely miserable. The result of it was that I began judging and punishing myself–for hurting myself.
Suddenly, I wanted to be different. I wanted to be ‘good ‘and ‘normal’ and ‘whole’. I wanted to cut off the dark part of myself. I tried to fight against this dark part of myself by harming it because it was the only strategy I knew at that time.
When I was 19 years old, after coming out of a destructive relationship, I fell in love again. I fell in love with a person who, for the first time, did not want to change me. While I am sure everyone else who was around me always just wanted the best for me, I always felt that they wanted me to change. Of course it was only because they wished for me to heal but still it felt strange and uncomfortable to me. It made me feel like something is wrong with me. It made me feel unworthy of being loved. It made me feel like I needed to do better.
At the same time, I was not able ‘to do better’. This discrepancy was tremendously difficult to bear.
So when Niki came into my life and took me as I was, loved me with all my crazy, with all my mess– something about my very own perspective about myself started to change. It was one sentence he shared with me that was the initiation of my healing process and that is still key to me in difficult times: “Embrace the pain.”
To realize that there is the option of accepting the mess rather than judging and trying to fight it blew my mind at that time. It took me some time to understand how this truly could be of help because I feared an accepting mindset like this could serve as an excuse to not evolve and keep stuck in the destructive behaviour patterns but, magically, the opposite of what I first feared occured.
Though the destructive behaviour patterns would not vanish over night, I delevoped a more intimate, loving, non-judgmental attitude towards myself which served to be the most effective cure.
Without sugarcoating anything–it still took me years to break the cycle of destructive behaviour and it is an ongoing process–I can say that no matter what it is that is causing me difficulties, facing it with love is the first step to relief and healing.
I have learned that fighting the dark side, the discomfort, the terror will not get you anywhere. Instead it was making friends with the wolf, learning to sit with it, learning to listen to it–that showed me the way to a more wholesome state of being.
Whatever your wolf might be, try to embrace it rather than running from it or fighting it and see what happens.
A book that helped me tremendously in developing compassion and self-acceptance was ‘The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness’ by buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. I can warmly recommend it.
Wishing you and your wolf a wholesome journey.
About making Friends with the Wolf