What goes around comes around.

Yeah, if only.

This comforting quote suggests that revenge is not necessary because karma is a bitch. That person who did you wrong? He’ll get his eventually because, you know, what goes around comes around. So just sit back and wait because it’s only a matter of time.

I want to buy it, but I don’t.

I’ve seen plenty of people do plenty of crummy things and get off without so much as a psychic bruise. Well, OK, maybe they’re crying on the inside, but on the outside, they’re just going blithely along doing more crummy things.

Perhaps the problem is that people who do crummy things are not likely to be easily wounded. The office backstabber may or may not ever get caught and even if she is, she may or may not ever pay any sort of substantial price. So nobody likes her? Well, maybe she cares and maybe she doesn’t. If she’s willing to backstab to get ahead, she’s unlikely to have his heart broken because you don’t like her, as long as she’s sitting in the corner office.

Downfall is not inevitable.

Perhaps this quote has more truth when we’re talking about kindness. A person who is kind is likely to be looked on kindly and therefore reap reciprocal kindness. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the tongue-in-cheek pithy quote “No good deed goes unpunished,” though this is most useful after the fact, providing a quick and easy way to shrug off a gesture that backfires. Using it as an excuse not to do nice things is pretty lame. Bad karma.

It would be great if people who do bad things always paid a price, but they may or may not. At least not to the extent that the reciprocal bad things actually cause them regret. They might be able to shrug them off. If a bad thing falls in the forest and nobody cares, is it really bad?

Which is not to say that you should go out and do bad things because why not? If you’re not the kind of person for whom crummy behavior comes naturally, the karma that comes back at you might actually pain you. You might actually feel bad if people don’t like you or try to hurt you back.

You might as well stick to being nice. Virtue is, after all, its own reward.

And as for the people who do bad things? Just walk away and don’t look back, because you might never get the satisfaction of seeing them suffer.

Photo of backstabbing is available from Shutterstock.