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?

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

  1. Amazing timeliness to be shown this lesson on jealousy by a dog that was just enjoying doing what it was doing, with total abandon and ease. That’s the magic of God at play.

  2. What a beautiful story and confirmation that when we are willing to see and open to understand our own ways we will find our way back home.

  3. I love how when we ask a question a situation can present to allow us more awareness around that question. This confirms to me that in order to understand life and grow ourselves nurturing our awareness, as in making choices that support the expansion of that awareness, is key.

  4. Thank you Bernadette, I haven’t read this in a while, it’s always a supportive read. A great line here “instead of appreciating and sharing in his lightness of being, I wanted it for myself.” This point really emphasises the two options we have, to appreciate who we are also by the reflection of another, and perhaps even bring forth more of ourselves, or want what they have in the illusion that another could have more or be more special.

  5. Is jealousy related to qualities the other(s) naturally have? Or is it more related to the fact that we are disconnected from the qualities we naturally have and hence we crave qualities and we crave the natural feeling of naturally walking them we see in others?

  6. How much we can learn from all that takes place and all that we receive by reflection and every day learning. If we embrace this more we come to see that all in life is there eventually to evolve us back to the Soul. Our love that we are.

  7. “Instead of appreciating and sharing in his lightness of being, I wanted it for myself” – a perfect summing up of how jealousy happens, and there I was thinking how fast this process takes place in less than a second, but actually, it is the slowing down of our vibration that allows this energy to seep through and take its form.

  8. It’s so true Bernadette, it’s that moment where we clock a quality, we register it and as you experienced with your son “instead of appreciating and sharing in his lightness of being, I wanted it for myself.” We don’t seem to allow reflections others offer to inspire or bring about a healing, instead we react as if we are angry with what’s presented and can want to crush it in another to remove the reflection. We could instead work together in harmony by embracing the reflection and allow ourselves to also have that quality we see in another.

  9. An empowering realisation from observing the dog – we receive the most amazing lessons from unlikely places when we stop to re-connect with ourself.

  10. Jealousy is damaging in so many ways not only for us but for all that we hold back our reflection from. For when we go into jealousy, in any degree, we instantly negate the magnificence we are, that is being reflected to us of who we are, and instead denigrate our light in entertaining the lie that who we are in essence is worthless and not enough.

  11. If jealousy was accepted for being the poison it truly is, perhaps many would heal this harmful behaviour and instead be open to the opportunity that every reflection presents us with.

  12. “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.” Amazing Bernadette that you were able to learn such a valuable lesson from your son and a playful dog. There are constant reflections around us all of the time, asking us to look more deeply at our lives and our place in the world and how we interact in it and with it.

  13. “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.” . . . beautiful Bernadette. True appreciation counters jealousy and grows everyone.

  14. Thank you Bernadette, I really appreciated the honesty and grace that you shared on a topic that most people completely avoid thinking about let alone addressing. I have to say good on your son for initiating such a healing for you and as a ripple effect, for all who read your blog.

    1. Well said Suse. The more we talk about jealousy the less it will have its hold on us a society, as currently it is considered normal for jealousy to play out in our relationships. Yet the damage done is something that we do not discuss and as a result we stay stunted by our lack of willingness to take responsibility for not living all that we in essence already are.

  15. Beautiful key to dealing with one´s jealousy you offer here by sharing and appreciating another beings joy or glory or ability etc. The moment we share we are part of it, we open up to our own preciousness, partaking in life instead of considering oneself to be separated from what triggers the jealousy.

    1. Encapsulated beautifully Alexander – when we let ourselves be a part of what is being expressed, jealousy cannot enter. It is when we make ourselves separate, lesser, or better than, caught in the illusion of scarcity and competition that jealousy will reign.

  16. Thank you Bernadette for sharing your experience of feeling and understanding jealousy, it is amazing how subtle it can be, when we make ourselves less than another jealousy can arise instead of appreciation what is being reflected to us in that moment.

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