How a Dog Taught Me About the Poison of Jealousy

Have I felt jealousy from another? Have I been jealous of another?

At a recent Universal Medicine event we were asked these questions, and we were given the opportunity to explore the way we have been affected by jealousy and its insidious poison.

I had felt it from others as a child, as a teenager, and throughout my adult life. How do we respond to feeling jealousy? Do we adopt behaviours to protect ourselves from its insidious force, like hiding or fitting in?

A day after this event, my son, who had also attended the event, called me to chat. In the course of our conversation he told me that, as a child, he had felt jealousy from me. I knew he was speaking what was true for him, but I couldn’t feel or see how this looked. I replied that I would take it on board and look deeper.

After our conversation I went for a walk on the beach with my husband. As I stepped onto the beach I felt my body, my feet on the sand, and the rhythm of my pace. I asked within myself how did I do jealousy? I was willing to uncover it no matter how painful it was to feel, and then I continued on my walk, enjoying the beautiful autumn evening, clear and calm after rain.

On the way back along the beach I noticed a beautiful dog racing to catch a ball thrown by its owner. It raced at full stretch with such ease and grace, catching the ball at the precise moment when the ball had reached its highest point. There was such joy and precision and playfulness in the dog with this game.

I thought “Oh to be as joyful as that dog!” And then I instantly saw how I do jealousy. It is a fleeting thought of wanting something (a quality) that someone else (in this case a dog) naturally has.

In the moment of that thought I am diminished and there is no love or appreciation felt towards the dog. Instead there is a careless dismissal of a precious opportunity offered to share in the dog’s glorious play.

What if my thought was simply “What joy the dog is offering to share with me.” Jealousy may not be voiced out loud, there may not be any tantrums or criticism: it can be a fleeting thought that I have allowed in, spoiling a moment. This felt like a powerful realisation.

As a child my son lit up the day, and just like the dog on the beach, he was playful, funny and brilliant at feeling precisely what was going on around him in every moment. When I was feeling sad or lost, he was showing me another way to be, but instead of appreciating and sharing in his lightness of being, I wanted it for myself.

I was sending him a message that I could not enjoy his playful mood because of my own feelings of despair, inadequacy and sadness.

The moment after this awareness on the beach, I looked out across the ocean to the east. The sky was laden with low-lying dark clouds. Beneath them there was a patch of light and two soft pink clouds reflecting the light of the setting sun in the west.

I looked up at the vast sky dome above me. I felt my body expand into the grandness, and I felt complete. It was a magic of God moment reflecting back to me.It seemed to be saying, “Look how those delicate clouds light up the sky. Appreciate the playfulness of the dog, and appreciate what you bring – your delicateness, fragility, tenderness – your qualities are precious too.”

Now I know that there is no better or lesser in the dome of God; that all of us on the planet are equally valued and loved.

It feels glorious to come home to me, to love, knowing that we all have our qualities to bring to the world. What a beautiful way to learn this lesson about jealousy, from a dog that loves to play.

by Bernadette Curtin, Artist, Art tutor, Byron Bay, Australia

Further reading:
Comparing Myself to Others
Joy | Unimedpedia
Jealousy: Foe or Friend?

862 thoughts on “How a Dog Taught Me About the Poison of Jealousy

  1. Everything we see and experience can be an opportunity for reflection.
    We are being communicated too all the time, and the example of the dog on the beach offered something that was needed to see – ‘do I compare myself to being that free and am I jealous of this’ – what an amazing gift for us to be able to read this level of communication and truly look at what is going on with us. Jealousy certainly does separate us, and has not an ounce of love but the interesting thing is this message was delivered through a dog who is all about unconditional love so therefore can never feel jealous. What a beautiful teaching.

  2. It seems that reflections provide us with an openness to explore but if we decide to incarcerate them they turn into beliefs and we are left with something that will, in turn, diminish us again. More and more I realise there is a flow to life and the quality we bring is the quality that will return to us.

  3. I love your willingness to be completely honest with yourself Bernadette – to expose how you feel jealousy. In this in a willingness to evolve which is a great inspiration. For it is only in being willing to be exposed by ourself or by others that we can see where we are holding back, where we play small, where we hold arrogance, where we hold back from being the absolute love we are. Everyone wins with this willingness.

    1. I agree Lucy – we can do well to not admit how we are really feeling, but to actually be honest is a huge healing. As you say – it starts with being willing and this can be felt by all.

    2. Yes I love Bernadette’s honesty too in this blog Lucy. Our willingness to be honest about jealousy is key to eliminating it.

  4. I was at this Universal Medicine event and the subject of jealousy has been gently sitting in the background ever since. I’ve been avoiding admitting that I could be jealous of anybody as I didn’t want to feel the harm that I was doing to them and myself. But only recently through developing enough appreciation for myself have I been able to admit to those moments of jealousy and what I’ve discovered is that if I bring it out into the open and allow myself to really feel it and nominate it for what it is the jealous feeling dissipates and what replaces it is an appreciation for the person and what they’re bringing. Now my next step is to be prepared to clock and feel when jealousy is directed at me…

    1. Jealousy does like to hide under the radar, whether it is us feeling jealous of another or feeling another’s jealousy directed at us. I love how when you built enough appreciation for yourself deborahmckay, that foundation allowed more awareness to come to the surface. What a powerful tool is appreciation of ourselves and others.

  5. Thank you Bernadette for expressing so honestly and openly about your experience with jealously. Your willingness to feel the role you have played in this is a beautiful reminder that when we are open to hearing the truth the Magic of God will always reflect to us what is needed for us to heal.

  6. So appreciating the wonder and joy of yourself was the beautiful antidote to jealousy. Jealousy is that looking outward for something we imagine is lacking within us rather than just appreciating what is there to be joyfully appreciated. This is such a great lesson Bernadette. Thank you.

  7. So beautiful to read this again Bernadette. I have been more aware of jealousy since I last read this blog and am clearing lots of old cobwebs, thank you so much for the inspiration.

  8. Thank you Bernadette for this beautiful blog. It highlights to me that jealousy can come in many subtle forms. I never thought I was a jealousy person but after reading your blog I will be more aware when jealousy does creep in.

  9. Thank you Bernadette for this beautiful sharing. It occurred to me that we become jealous for two reasons one being not making the choices that are offered before us and the other a lack of appreciating what is already there. If we truly connect to who we are we can feel complete as we are even knowing we will forever expand what is there. This is the choice that lies before us and one I know I have often passed by.

  10. Appreciating and enjoying what another brings is something that we can only get to if we appreciate ourselves. If not we will always be viewing the other from our own lack and emptiness and jealousy will have no boundaries.

    1. Thank you Carolien, appreciating ourselves is the key, there is no room for jealousy when we are ‘complete as we are’. As you say, this is a simple choice we can make every day.

  11. Thank you Bernadette for a beautiful sharing, that you were able to “Appreciate the playfulness of the dog, and appreciate what you bring – your delicateness, fragility, tenderness – your qualities are precious too.”

  12. So great to read your blog again Bernadette. So swift and subtle is the strike of jealousy that it can be easily missed. I love your humility in wanting to see how you ‘did jealousy’ and the grace with which it was shown to you. Thank you for sharing so openly.

    1. “so swift and subtle” is so true of jealousy shelleyjones44, and it can be easily missed or dismissed. I have become more aware when these thoughts dart in, and they don’t hold any power when I catch them and say ‘that is not me”. I did love the gentle playful way that I was shown, this lesson stays with me, and how powerful is appreciation.

  13. In every moment of every day we are offered the opportunity of so many different lessons, and the lesson to be learned around jealousy Bernadette, was there at the very moment you were ready to listen, see and learn. I just love how the Magic of God is always there when we open to, and ready for, the answer.

  14. When we make life all about ‘me’, we don’t appreciate what other people truly bring. We only see the choices they’ve made that we haven’t and we are then blinkered by the process of comparison that stems from our lack of self worth. We don’t celebrate that person’s quality. Instead we choose to stay in our lesser state when we could be inspired.

  15. As soon as we start weighing one thing against another we lose the connection of the sheer beauty of either. Holding each in the absoluteness of what they are feels complete and whole – the same with dogs and people. Sometimes a person’s behavior can make this very challenging. This is a moment to stay steady and be super loving in the truest sense of the word.

  16. Jealousy not only diminishes us but it also lays the blame for our feelings on to the recipient of our jealousy holding them responsible, when in fact jealousy is our own anger and rage at ourselves for not taking responsibility in our lives to be in the situation of the person of whom we are jealous, who has taken the necessary steps to be where they are/or have what they have etc…..not being able to face our ill choices we lay the blame at the others feet.

  17. Thank you Bernadette – This blog has exposed the subtle and underlying ‘want’ in my life and how I choose to see things I don’t have or can not do as missing out. There is choice to be made here as I could choose to celebrate all that is available and how loving and supportive it is. I could choose to celebrate the joy in this for all. Jealousy is subtle and reading your blog has allowed new awareness around the ‘wanting and desire to have’ that pops up in my life and the lives of others. There is much to ponder here.

  18. Thanks Bernadette for illustrating how subtle jealous feelings can sneak in and I also appreciate the simple example of the dog.

  19. The reflection of how we can be supported by another is pure and simple. They reflect what is potentially in all of us. When we have to stop and feel how we have not chosen to connect to this the jealousy alerts in us. There is a simplicity for all to see just as simple as the example of the jealousy towards the dog share by Bernadette.

  20. Love that your realisation is simple, jealousy is not always this big bad thing but a moment of self focus and self gain rather than appreciation of another.

  21. Such a great example Bernadette, it makes a massive difference when we simply appreciate for all that they are and for what they bring, rather than wanting to be like that ourselves. We then have a choice to be inspired by them or continue on the way we are but either way it makes no sense to judge them.

  22. What a truth between mother and son. I deeply appreciate your honest sharing. If we take responsibility for every thought we have that carries jealousy in it, then we can truly start appreciating what we bring and what others bring. And the beauty is, we all bring something very beautiful and wonderful.

  23. I hadn’t been aware how much jealousy had been thrown my way and that I had put out….”How do we respond to feeling jealousy? Do we adopt behaviours to protect ourselves from its insidious force, like hiding or fitting in?” Becoming more honest about it how it felt, allowed me to deal with it in a new way. Instead of thinking I was smaller or bigger than some else, I began to appreciate myself for my own sake and not react when I received it and also if I felt that I choose it I would pause and nominate it to myself, and not indulge in it. Beautiful to work on and I continue to develop my understanding of it.

  24. This is a beautiful realisation “In the moment of that thought I am diminished and there is no love or appreciation felt towards the dog.” How precious to understand where jealousy stems from, it is when we see the beauty and divines in another and know we do not feel it in ourselves…this can change, and self appreciation is a big key for this, it is something that I keep exploring. Thank you for sharing the experience of the dog you observed.

  25. I love how you being open to find out how jealousy plays out for you it was simply presented/revealed to you. It shows that if we are willing to look at what is there to be looked at we are able to see.

  26. Jealousy is in those little moments, not appreciating another but wanting it for ourself, thinking we have not got it, being in the individual while we can so beautifully see another to be in their true quality and see that it is within us all, that we are all equal.

  27. Bernadette, what a great moment of realisation. It is amazing quite amazing how much we almost instantly compare ourselves with others and then react and go into jealousy if someone does something we cannot rather than stopping to appreciate what they bring. When we stop to appreciate another we also get inspired to be the same, they also get confirmed as well.

  28. Very good detective work, tracing jealousy back to wanting something of the quality another person has and displays with such ease – and as you say, what a distraction from getting on with it for ourselves and not only being inspired but appreciating, valuing and building what it is that we bring.

  29. I love how this blog presents how jealously doesn’t have to be extroverted. Jealousy can be as devious as stealing a golden moment of pure joy, through a passing thought.

  30. Jealousy can be far more subtle and insidious than we often consider – and yet what when we stop and consider it, something as simple as what you have described can be felt by another.

  31. This is a powerful message. Jealousy does not have to be full blown and an obvious behaviour. I realise that even having that thought is enough for another to feel it even if they don’t know what it is. The more aware we are the more opportunities we have for healing this most separative of emotions.

  32. This blog makes an important point about the care that we can give to ourselves, in appreciation of ourselves, which leaves no room for jealous thoughts to come in.

  33. Jealousy is simply a lack of appreciation for someone else who is living to a potential that you have chosen not to in that moment.

  34. A beautifully honest account Bernadette that’s going to help many understand the insidiousness of jealousy and how it plays out even when we would be horrified to think that we could be doing that to another.

  35. Jealousy is quite a hard thing to spot. Certainly for me I can say that I never really understood jealousy and I think many make the same mistake as I did in assuming that jealousy and envy are the same thing. If we better understood jealousy and the harm that it does to the person we are jealous of we would think twice before allowing ourselves to indulge in this evil emotion.

    1. Yes Doug Valentine, it is harmful to another, and also to ourselves, making us small and bitter. Awareness is such a great choice to make, to change the conversation in our head.

  36. I read your blog before Bernadette and thought I recognised jealousy but just recently a friend explained what jealousy was and I didn’t fully understand what it was until I experienced it with my eyes, or shall I say my heart, fully open. I didn’t realise I was blind to jealousy and pretty much avoided it. But now I understand what jealousy is and it is hard for me to ignore it now because I am a lot more aware of it. I have found appreciation is certainly key to dissolving jealousy. Awesome blog Bernadette, thank you. I will be reading this again.

  37. Beautiful sharing, I can feel how I have had similar feelings towards those who have had a joy or ease with life simply because I had not chosen to live this for myself and had bought into the idea that I did not deserve this.

  38. “…but instead of appreciating and sharing in his lightness of being, I wanted it for myself.” This is quite a revelation, that as soon as we want something for ourselves we have gone into the separation of what is being offered to us, that then lets through a force that wants to destroy it all together. Jealousy can present itself in a very sneaky way and it is a formidable force.

  39. I would agree Bernadette that jealousy is poison! How miserable to feel jealous of others all the time and dimming our own light . I feel it comes back to appreciating ourselves and all others for our differences, that when put together, make up the whole of the Human race.

  40. I love the willingness you show Bernadette, the willingness to explore how jealousy works in you. It takes courage to do so and I can feel that this comes from the understanding that jealousy is not something that belongs to us and is actually very harming for all the relationships we have.

  41. I love the detail to which you were willing to go to uncover this. Sometimes when we are presented with something grand we can think that the answer is something equally grand. But it is in the finer details where many things lay hidden. Beautiful and inspiring blog.

  42. I love this story Bernadette. It describes jealousy so perfectly with the most simple observation. To some it might seem so insignificant that you had that thought when you saw the dog playing, but it’s quite the opposite because how many times in one day do we have thoughts running through us that are pointing out things we wish we had or wish we were like etc. To be able to observe this is so huge. Thanks for the reminder that there is something in everything.

  43. Such a beautiful sharing, thank you Bernadette. You have exposed just how subtle the ways that we can experience feelings of jealousy can be. It is only when we truly feel into these momentary feelings that we have previously had in wishing we were like someone else, or even in your case, that gorgeous dog expressing such fun and joy. But great that you have been able to expose that, largely due to the comment made by your son about the fact that you show jealousy at times, and by being willing to contemplate the possibility. Much food for thought for me in this. So is it possible that when we are feeling less than another, there could even be a jealousy of others behind it?

  44. Bernadette you share a profoundly healing experience and we appreciate your honesty about an emotion few are willing to admit or talk about in relation to themselves. You make an insightful point when you say jealousy often a fleeting thought, without us doing or saying anything, is felt by those it is directed at, nonetheless. More confirmation that everything is energy. Just as we feel jealousy when directed at us non-verbally, and so other’s feel that same frequency from us. To celebrate another’s joy and fun, flows naturally when we hold steady in our own self worth.

  45. “Now I know that there is no better or lesser in the dome of God; that all of us on the planet are equally valued and loved.” This is so important to be aware of this fact that we are all equally precious and when fully embodied will remove the sting of jealousy which will then end to exist.

  46. Oh gosh I love this blog! Yes, dismissing oneself or wanting something another has are behaviours I am familiar with, but I had not clocked them as being aspects of jealousy. Of course, I see it now, if I am not fully appreciating what another brings, nor what I bring, I have opened the door wide to allow jealousy to enter.

  47. Lack of self worth, lack of awareness about oneself and about what are we here to do, open the door to reactions regarding what is naturally beautiful in others. We live as an offence that has to cease instead of a reminder of our natural complementarity and as a blessing.

  48. Great to read your blog again. So many profound insights here including how jealousy spoils a moment and doesn’t allow us to be open to sharing in the reflection of what is being offered to us by another. We seem to have strong beliefs we carry identifying with our own emptiness, when all along we are just as magnificent as all the amazing reflections we may feel jealous of.

  49. It is so true that jealousy offers only an instant severing of our connection to our Divine being-ness and in doing so we shut down our openness to being inspired by the quality of Love shining through another. This shining quality is simply a reflection of who we too are in essence and an opportunity to deepen our connection to the all Love we naturally are.

  50. Thank you for exposing that every time we wish we had a quality of another it is jealousy rather than appreciating the quality and being inspired to appreciate our own natural qualities.

  51. Hi Bernadette and I think you’ve nailed this. We think when we see something we don’t have that we can then go into our thoughts on how we should or could or wish we have it. We think this is the way by not actually seeing what is in front of us but by internalising it and somehow making it or taking it for ourselves. As you have shown and from experience this has never worked but instead just created another moment with a different heading about the same thing. What if, as you present we appreciate what we see, appreciate it in all it’s detail. Whether a dog, a cloud, a person or an ant simply do your best to appreciate. That way what ever you see is alight in you. It’s not about creating all the things you want for yourself from what you see others doing, it’s about appreciating what we all bring and letting that out. When you do this you lay the foundation for the same feeling in you, your body remembers how it feels. Next time you see something in another you want, don’t go internal and try and create it yourself appreciate all you are seeing in every detail and watch how it grows and pulls you along with it. Jealousy only leads back to itself and there is no power in it whereas appreciation goes out endlessly and pulls in the power of everything.

  52. Thank you Bernadette, I had a real aha moment reading your blog as I saw how I want to own that thing another has, rather than just appreciate it and feel my own qualities – I’m like a child with a beautiful, precious toy who sees another with their toy and immediately I want that I feel unsettled and incomplete and yet as you show with your continuing walk we always have that beautiful precious thing in us and as we learn to treasure it we can truly appreciate us and others in our joy.

    1. I like your analogy with the toys, monicag2. Could it be that the unsettlement and incompleteness that you write about is because of the way we have experienced life, as in for example, our education. If all children were raised to know that they are precious and complete already, they would be much better able to navigate the competitive systems of our society.

  53. Whenever we feel jealousy regardless if the emotion is being directed at us or we are feeling it towards another, by being honest and immediately calling it out, it loses its destructive power instantly.

  54. When being told that someone hated me because I was thin and showed up that person’s eating choices, I did not waver in my choices. Later, I articulated to a companion how it felt to be on the receiving end of these comments, but I had not truly acknowledged how if felt to be subjected to this openly expressed jealousy until reading this. Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on this and feel how by appreciating my choices I could have supported myself better and then might not have felt the need to eat a packet of nuts as soon as I got home!

  55. Thank you for sharing your humility and openness to exposing where you have felt jealous which I can really relate to. How often have I seen the carefreeness of another (animal/child/friend) and been jealous of how they are just being themselves when I am feeling hemmed in by the expectations of others. For me letting go of the judgements I have had about myself and working on appreciating what I bring has enabled me to start to let this go. Having the willingness to be open to these revelations allows for these magic of God moments to reflect back to us appreciation for ourselves and others.

  56. Developing appreciation for all of our unique qualities as human beings be that in yourself or others and allowing all these qualities to inspire all of us correspondingly allows appreciation to grow. In turn, this effectively closes the gap for jealousy to enter.

  57. “Jealousy may not be voiced out loud, there may not be any tantrums or criticism: it can be a fleeting thought that I have allowed in, spoiling a moment.” Jealousy is poison, and as you say spoils what could be beautiful moments – of appreciation of another. .

  58. This was truly beautiful to read Bernadette. The message within is incredibly powerful and not to be forgotten for we are all guilty of this and in doing so can get lost in seeing ourselves as less rather than appreciating the more we are and possess….. it’s just up to us to express it.

  59. How lovely to be able to observe a dog playing, and at the same time realise the reflection that it was offering you too, in regards to a moment’s thought of jealousy which can separate us instantly from the love we naturally are.

  60. Like you Bernadette I fully appreciate the joy, playfulness, harmony and fun a dog reflects. Whilst reading your blog today the following really resonated with me; such a beautiful appreciation of the dog and you;
    “Appreciate the playfulness of the dog, and appreciate what you bring – your delicateness, fragility, tenderness – your qualities are precious too.”

  61. Jealousy is pretty insidious as we don’t always catch it and live with it every day without knowing. Keeping up the seperation from each other and ourself not seeing the equalness that is in our deep essence.

  62. Bernadette your example shows that when we have a relationship with ourselves that is open and honest we can allow ourselves to explore the reasons behind emotions like jealousy.

  63. Great presentation Bernadette. I know that feeling you describe. I do comparison and jealousy well too, usually by seeing someone as more than me, rather than appreciating myself for what I already bring and who I am. Or, in terms of body image specifically, I will measure myself against other women who manifest the same ‘flaws’ as me (but ‘worse’) so I don’t feel as bad. Very nasty, insidious stuff, and just as much about lack of self-worth and self-loathing as it is about comparison.

  64. Great opportunity for us all to appreciate how quickly we can feel jealousy and not name it as such. Children are a wonderful reflection of how we can live with a natural freedom of expression.

  65. The art or act of jealousy towards others and ourselves is a topic well worth consideration as this article shows. When jealousy is seen or noticed in how we are like this it’s not the end of the line. There are many layers to things and how we have used them and jealousy has levels. It’s great to detail what you have seen in one part and then walk that awareness into the next part. We so often think that once we have seen a part of something that that is the end but as we can see from this article it’s only ever the beginning. This is not to paralyse us or to not appreciate steps but to forever recognise that at no point do you pull up stumps. When I read articles like this it still seems like we are trying to solve a problem or fix something in place of unwrapping or unfolding a path that we have all walked in different ways. Life is a path of returning to how we were and in that there are many steps. Appreciate everyone but don’t allow anything to stop you walking your way.

  66. “Jealousy may not be voiced out loud, there may not be any tantrums or criticism: it can be a fleeting thought that I have allowed in, spoiling a moment. This felt like a powerful realisation.” This is a powerful statement Bernadette. Why spoil a moment of our own glory by wanting to be or feel like another? We are all unique – and precious. Comparison and jealousy are evil traits that do not belong.

  67. I love the simplicity expressed in this blog Bernadette and the deep connection you share with your son where he can feel free to express himself in this way and how open you were to ponder what he shared with you instead of shutting him down in anyway – such a healing experience for you both.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s