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?

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

  1. I love how we are shown things when we are open to see the truth, ‘I thought “Oh to be as joyful as that dog!” And then I instantly saw how I do jealousy.’

  2. I don’t feel that we are brought up to appreciate ourselves and all that we bring to the world, our sensitivity, fragility and tenderness; these qualities are squashed within us. I wonder why we want to do this to each other as we are born no more or less than any other. Instead from a very young age we are taught to look outside of ourselves and compare and compete even with our own siblings. I have observed this in young children that play in the local park. Fighting over who gets to go on the swing first or how they push and shove to get to the top of the slide. And as adults we sit back and watch this so called horse-play and remark its character building for the children. We have become so desensitized ourselves that we cannot see the damage of the out play before us.

  3. I was recently in a meeting where someone was describing feeling the beauty of a tree and simply being with it and enjoying it. It occurred to me in that moment we can do that with another person, just be with their beauty and enjoy it like we do in nature. It would be so much simpler that way. If we react from believing we are nothing and want what the other person has, it’s a bit like cutting down the tree. We could be enjoying another’s beauty from our own beauty, and perhaps then opening up to more beauty as reflected to us by the other person. In that way we could grow something truly beautiful – each other.

    1. I love your example of feeling the beauty of a tree Melinda, it shows how ridiculous it is to feel jealous of someone else. With a tree we don’t compare, so why would we do it to each other?
      Opening up to more of our own qualities – beauty, wisdom, grace – there are so many to feel and realise that they are the truth of who we really are, feels expansive and loving.

  4. That is so interesting. so we think jealousy is something we know we do, that we put onto another, that we want what they have or to be who they are, but because your story is about a dog it would have been easy to dismiss it and miss the offering of how subtle jealousy can be. It is actually quite subtle but can really poison your eyes, ears and senses because you then receive what you ‘need’ to receive to confirm your reality.

  5. When I am caught in jealousy it is like I walk around in a bubble of judgment, negativity and victimhood, which is then cast out around me. When I respond confirming the joy of another I also experience joy and it is a win, win situation and I feel expansive rather than contained within a personal bubble.

    1. I feel one of the siblings of jealousy is dismissiveness, we dismiss all we are and don’t walk in the connection to that or the full appreciation and valuing of ourselves, leaving us open to feeling ‘less’, thinking we are nothing, not much, or not good enough, and then we can feel jealousy.

  6. What I got from this is that jealousy may not look like the picture we carry around but can be just one thought and bamp it’s there. So, the way we do jealousy may not be what we expect it to look like.

    1. I agree, this blog is asking us to look at jealousy from another angle, to consider the subtle ways it is part of our life and how we can choose to not see. We are far more familiar with being a victim than being a perpetrator and particularly our very own self-perpetrator.

    1. There is such a selfish element to jealousy, because in that moment it’s all about ourselves and what we perceive we do or don’t have within us by comparing to another, and the fury of not having made the same choices. We do dampen our another’s light and if they are affected by our jealousy then the world is so much more the less as a result. We also miss the opportunity to realise that person is placed there to remind us to choose what they have for ourselves, that there is more to life on offer and the gift is there by reflection from that person.

      1. We have a choice, we can choose, like in the blog to join the dog in joy, or we can be wishful of having what another 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.’

  7. Jealousy can play out in many forms, sometimes it can be so subtle we may conveniently dismiss it but the poison of jealousy enters our body no matter if it is a big or small dose. The more we are willing to recognise it, expose it, and discard it the lighter we feel and more able to embrace love which leaves no room for jealousy to creep in.

  8. “I wanted it for myself.” The poison of jealousy. When we are aware of a playful joy in another we can be inspired to open up to the same feeling of love in ourselves.

  9. 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.

    1. And also the timelessness of the lesson given here that to receive the learning and the communication of God we have to be willing to see/hear/acknowledge it.

    1. It shows our responsibility to know ourselves as divine and from the All, and nurture this within ourselves so we aren’t walking around falsely perceiving ourselves as empty and less

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

    1. We are all equal in our essence even though our expression may differ, and we have all been offered the same choices to evolve and expand, so yes it’s a great point that it is our own disconnection to ourselves, and not taking the steps to embrace and accept what’s on offer to grow that can contribute to the jealousy.

  14. 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.

  15. “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.

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. “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.

  21. “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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

    2. How beautiful Alexander “The moment we share we are part of it, we open up to our own preciousness”. This is how we can all return to soul and the majesty of God by confirming the beauty we are all a part of as reflected by another – an opportunity to grow in brotherhood together, and not by pitting ourselves against one another.

    3. True, by joining another in joy, and appreciating their joy, quality, or magnificence, we open up to our own amazingness in whatever way that may present.

      1. In this blog the dog offered an opportunity to share play and joyfulness , we have a choice how we respond, “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.” Knowing that we are equally magnificent.

  24. 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.

  25. Jealousy is indeed insidious. I feel it is because of the slyness and cunning way with which we use jealousy or comparison that it is one of the most evil forces to call out within ourselves and within others. We certainly don’t like to be named as being jealous but the more honest we can be, sensing this emotion when it shows its ugly face the less hold it has on us.

  26. Pointing out a quality in others rather than feeling it as a moment to confirm ourselves equally – ouch! In that moment theres no appreciation for ourselves because in order to see that lovely quality we have to know of the same within ourselves. But the jealousy comes in when we know it, see it in another but reject it being expressed from ourselves. Thats the fury we dump onto another and blame them to avoid what we’ve done to ourselves that the other hasn’t.

  27. The way your son could feel even one moment of a jealous thought entering you Bernadette shows how we all have an amazing ability to feel on a non-physical level all the time and how even our thoughts have a huge impact on others. This is an amazing responsibility for us to move in a way that does not allow those thoughts to enter and also a sign of our true power to build relationships on appreciation that we all have the same ability to tap into things like the joy we see in another….even a dog!

  28. Yes how easy is it to dismiss someone inviting you to come out of our seriousness, struggle and problems! What I find often the most exposing when that happens to me, is to feel how easy it is to come out of it and to admit I chose something else over that so easily available joy and lightness. Yet to come out of it understanding why we chose to not go there is important, otherwise it just becomes another judgement on ourselves.

  29. When we are open to deepening our understanding, the magic of God has a powerful and gentle way of showing us all we are willing to see.

    1. The All is always there to support us to heal and evolve if we but open our eyes and let our senses receive what is in truth there.

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