The Negative Impact Of Envy
I am a Tibbie who is comfortable I his own coat. The Princess is more concerned about how she looks. She regularly compares herself to some of the other dogs at the park, but I am not generally bothered by these things.
I am loved. Beloved tells me I am special and gorgeous and I have no reason to question her judgement. I am a Tibbie from a long line of Champions and although I was never a show dog I know if I had my full coat I would be a very handsome chap, as it is I am cute – everyone says so.
I have noticed how many people and even some of the other dogs waste their time with negative thoughts and emotions. I have seen it in The Princess when she has become anxious because she thinks Beloved is paying too much attention to one of the other dogs at the dog park.
As soon as we get home she expresses concern that the other dog has something that she lacks. Is she too black? Is she too big? Should she bark more or less? Then she needs a lot of reassurance which I find very tiresome. Fortunately she is easily diverted and as soon as she’s had a pat from Beloved or I throw a toy her way she’s forgotten all about it.
That is why I was so shocked when for the very first time I had a glimpse of a negative emotion in myself and I didn’t like it. It was a new experience for me. I am a Tibbie who has never been lacking in confidence even when I left my first pack as a very small puppy.
Today however started badly with my muscles and joints being quite painful and perhaps this made me susceptible to negativity.
As I left the house for our daily walk my eye was drawn to a very handsome Hungarian Vizsla who was walking with her owner on the opposite side of the road. She was lean and fit with long slim legs and she seemed to glide over the ground so easily.
Those of you who have read some of my previous writings will know that I have a weakness for greyhounds, perhaps it is the long legs which attract me, I think now I must acknowledge a profound attraction for all hounds.
Anyway, as we made our way to the park the Vizsla was ahead of me and didn’t notice my admiration. She walked so easily with a loose swinging gait and was in the reserve a good while before me because I cannot walk too fast when my joints are sore.
We eventually arrived and Beloved took the leash off and we meandered around. The Princess occasionally runs and plays but my body doesn’t really do run any more so I sniff and wander, always keeping to the path, and I watch.
The Princess walked with Beloved but for once I did what I love to do, I sat down and observed. I rested my aching joints and let Beloved continue walking and I sat as a group of fit and athletic dogs ran around me playing and barking and an unfamiliar feeling of washed over me. Envy.
I would have liked to have been able to run and dance over the ground like those dogs. They were having a good time but more than that they looked so graceful and free. The Vizsla flew over the grass and spun back on herself with effortless grace.
As I mentioned above, I am a descendant of Champions, a handsome Tibbie who is well loved and has his comforts but even without aching joints I would never be able to experience the level of freedom that these dogs exhibited and I wondered what it would feel like to be them for a moment.
How wonderful to run at those speeds, to feel the wind in your coat and then jump higher than Beloved and spin around, to be able to gallop with the other hounds and not be afraid of being left behind or rolled over.
For a moment I wished that I was a graceful, slender hound with long legs and a sleek body rather than a Tibbie with my compact, muscly body and large fluffy paws.
I didn’t want to be a mountain dog who could live in the snow anymore, I wanted to be a hound with long legs that could cover the ground faster than any other dog at the park.
I wanted to be tall enough to reach the kitchen table without effort. And along with the envy came feelings of inferiority and resentment. For the first time in my life I didn’t feel special.
I felt awkward and ungainly.
I was shocked by the negative emotions that welled up. It didn’t feel good and it took me by surprise. I had never experienced such negative feelings about myself before, I had always been very happy with who I am. Even now I am still a little ashamed about it and wonder where those emotions had been hiding? What made them reveal themselves today? Was it that I was aching and feeling that the walk was hard work or had I always secretly resented those big, fast dogs?
Deep down did I really not like myself?
Then Beloved called me and the spell was broken. The moment passed. I saw Beloved waiting for me at our gate and I made my aching muscles move and continued my walk around the dog park following the path that we always take because I am a dog who likes his routine.
As I saw Beloved waiting with the leash, a smile on her face and a kiss for me I felt a very foolish Tibbie. What a waste of a good walk to allow such a negative thought to take root.
And the more I thought about it the more I realised that rather than wanting to be a hound I would not like it at all. If I had been born a hound I would never have come to Beloved and become a part of her pack. A hound would not be able to sit on laps. A hound might even have to live outdoors and a hound might never have tasted sausages – a thought too awful to contemplate.
All the negative emotions evaporated and I felt good inside again. Yes, the hounds are beautiful. Yes, they can run faster than I can and they can jump but I am a Tibbie who keeps my family safe, who barks at thunder and who tolerates The Princess. I am special. I know this because Beloved tells me so all the time and she is very wise.
I padded home looking forward to my morning nap on the warm carpet where the sun streams in. I was once again comfortable and secure in being a stocky Tibbie with a shaggy coat and a home that is just right for me where Beloved understands me and loves me just as I am and I realised that I love me too because I am a very remarkable Tibbie.