What goes around comes around.

The most common interpretation of this phrase is: if you do bad things, eventually bad things will happen to you.

Which is true. But the concept of doing to yourself what you do to others goes beyond that. It transcends time; it is not limited by time.

Let’s say someone commits a crime and gets caught a month later, and goes to jail. The obvious consequence of their action happens a month after the action was done.

However, that is not the main consequence. When someone deliberately commits a crime or does anything that’s clearly immoral or wrong, there is an immediate cause-effect relationship.

The pain that is inflicted on a certain living being or entity automatically and instantly translates to a pain inflicted on the self. Not a second later — simultaneously.

This concept is similar to what Hinduism and Buddhism would refer to as Karma, which is often mistakenly described as some type of divine punishment.

Now, you may ask: how does causing unnecessary suffering and doing evil things translate to an instant change in our own life? If we are not the ones who suffer, what’s the issue?

This is quite tricky to understand at first. If you look at the material, objective world, then what you do to others… you do to others. And that’s it.

So you have to dig deeper. You have to look at one’s inner world, their mind, their thoughts, and how they experience the world through their consciousness.

You create your reality

To do something, you first have to create it in your own mind. This is a law that can be seen in everything people do. Anything from the tiniest task to the most amazing achievement.

For example: to walk from point A to B, you first have to imagine that in your mind. To break a world record, an athlete first has to believe that it’s possible, that it can be done.

Now, imagine doing something to others that is clearly a bad thing. In order for you to do that, whatever it may be, you have to create that in your own mind first.

Or perhaps it’s already there. It already exists in your own mind, and your behavior is a reflection of that.

And here’s why doing things to others means doing things to ourselves: we create our own reality. We get to choose which dimension, or state, we want to live in.

Say someone’s existence is filled with unnecessary suffering — a ridiculous amount of suffering toward other human beings and living beings.

Consciously or unconsciously, that person has decided to live in some sort of dystopian nightmare. Or hell, or prison. Whatever sounds most appropriate.

Through their thoughts and actions, that person builds their own prison — a world which is filled with unnecessary suffering.

What that person does to others, they do to themselves. And what’s interesting once you understand this concept is, the negative effects of their actions happen before the actions themselves!

Not in the future, not in the afterlife, not when “justice will prevail”.

Evil things can only be created by an evil mind; an evil mind is a state of unhappiness and suffering.

What you do to others, you do to yourself

When reflecting on this concept, most of us think of bad things. Even the phrase mentioned in the beginning (what goes around comes around) usually refers to evil and negativity in general.

But in reality, doing to yourself what you do to others applies to virtually everything you do in life — good things, bad things, and even things that are insignificant.

If you consciously do good things to others, you are creating a good kind of reality. For example…

  • Random acts of kindness imply that in the world you live in, it is possible to be kind to other people in general — not because these people belong to your social group, or workplace; not because they are your friends
  • The decision to respond, or not respond at all, instead of reacting aggressively to an external event, implies that in the world you live in, negative emotions can be controlled and transformed into positive ones
  • Not judging others and simply being an observer implies that in the world you live in, the mind and its chatter do not interfere with one’s ability to see things as they are and take life less seriously

And so on. The mistake here would be to think that the external world is the same for everyone. It isn’t.

A lower level of consciousness looks at the world and says: this is my world. I must adapt to it. A higher level of consciousness says: I create my own world. I get to choose.

Not always. Not totally. Of course. Our reality is never completely objective or subjective — it’s both.

But as long as you keep doing things that make the world a miserable place, don’t expect to live in a better world.

You live in a better world as soon as your state of mind allows good things and does not allow bad things. And your behavior will be the spontaneous reflection of that.

Final thoughts

“What you do to others, you do to yourself” means that you create your reality. Good things that happen to others can also happen to you. If bad things cannot be done to others, they cannot be done to you either.

If you’re into manifesting, the law of attraction and all that, I encourage you to use this phrase as a mantra, or affirmation. It’s powerful. It will help you shape a better reality. It also helps you live more consciously.

If you commit a crime, then the logical consequence is that there is crime in the world you live in. If you use violence, then the logical consequence is that there is violence in the world you live in.

On the flip side, be honest and there will be more honesty. Do good things and you can expect more good things to happen to you.

And it can get very subtle and abstract. For example, stop judging others for their mistakes and imperfections, and you’ll have a lot less problems in your life.

Be generous and you’ll receive more. Teach and you’ll learn more. Smile and people will smile at you.

The world doesn’t have to be a miserable place. It can be a wonderful place.

It always starts with you. What you do to others, you do to yourself. What you give, you receive.

What you do, you are.