“Everything that a man does, good or evil, he does it to himself.” — Friar Giles
My years in the therapist chair have made one thing clear: No one gets away with anything. When you cause someone else to suffer, you also suffer. When someone causes you suffering, he causes himself suffering. This may not always be apparent from the outside looking in, but it is an inescapable truth. Ultimately, mistreatment of others arises from fear. And the more you act from a place of fear, the more fear you create. It’s a vicious cycle, yet one that no one can truly “cheat.” Once your life experience has thoroughly convinced you of this fundamental principle, two things begin to happen.
First, resentment begins to fade. At the core of resentment is the feeling that someone is pulling a fast one. You suspect that someone is causing harm yet nonetheless “getting ahead” from this behavior. Once you see that this simply isn’t possible, you realize that every misdeed contains the seed of its own eventual retribution. It’s much easier to forgive your enemies when you realize they are their own worst punishment.
Second, you begin to develop real compassion. If what I do to you always gets reflected back onto me somehow, then we are not exactly two distinct entities. We are deeply connected. This is the key to doing unto others as you would have them do to you. You recognize there are no others.