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Or is it “What goes around comes around”?

English is not my first language (although it is my primary language now).  As such, I sometimes mix up my idioms and sayings.  Recently, I noticed I’ve been using the phrase, “What comes around goes around” backwards.  In other words, I’ve been saying, “What goes around comes around”.

But upon closer examination, I am not too sure if the way I use the phrase is all that wrong.  It may be opposite of the way it is conventionally used, but it reflects how I see the world.

When one says, “What comes around goes around”, one is warning bystanders that what happens to him/her (usually bad stuff) can happen to others as well!  In other words, watch out as you may be next.  To me, that’s rather negative as it implies others should suffer with you.

When I say, “What goes around comes around”, I take it to mean whatever bad stuff I do onto others will come back and bite me in bigger chunks.  In other words, don’t do onto others what I don’t want to happen to myself.

Both refers to the karmic world we live in, but the former perpetuates bad karma and the latter tries to stop bad karma from happening in the first place.

What do you think?

June 2009
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