The Law of Karma and Wishing Harm on Others

When is it ok to wish ill on someone?

Well, the short answer is: never.

And the long answer is: never.

It’s never ok to wish harm on anyone else. If you do, you’re actually inviting that bad energy back into your life tenfold. Karma doesn’t discriminate in that regard – what you reap, you will (eventually) sow. Always.

I actually know of several “spiritual” teachers who have given clients invocations of harm toward another person. Every time I hear of it – I shudder. (Seriously, yikes!) Thankfully, my first brush with understanding this simple truth came from my Reiki grandfather who taught me a very simple lesson: You never impose your will on anyone else. Ever. To do so is to practice black magic, and it will always rebound onto you. Always.

I learned this within the first week of studying Reiki and beginning to uncover my own gifts, but millennia of history in other traditions teach the same message, most commonly:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If you don’t want someone wishing harm on you, don’t wish it on others. It’s really that simple. We only choose to make it more complicated by employing the three most dysfunctional attributes of the mind: justification, generalization, and rationalization.

Perhaps, though, rather than getting mired in the teachings of the past, or the simple truths that echo through their wisdom, it might be more practical today to think of it this way:

You can’t cast a negative net and expect to catch anything positive.

Nothing good comes from sowing or spewing venom or toxicity in the world. Even though it might “feel” good in the moment, it will ultimately cause more problems in the long run. Of course, the long run could be your next lifetime, but that still doesn’t make it right.

In this age of instant gratification and guarded consequences, it’s increasingly more important for us to remember the simple truths and the wisdom of the ages. They’ve lasted as long as they have because they’re as pure as it gets. Time can’t tarnish them.

As for what to do when you feel wronged by someone? It’s 100% natural to vent, cry, get angry and experience all of the emotions running through your body… stopping just short of desiring harm on the other party. Not only will you be properly managing your karma, you’ll also actually feel better for not having created more toxicity in the situation. That’s a win-win if ever there was one.

Or, as another great teacher once taught: turn the other cheek. Which can either translate as 1) allow yourself to be hit again, or 2) (as I prefer) turn and walk away, removing yourself from the drama of the other person, and staying true to who you are.

There’s no shame in disengaging. The only real loss is when you choose to engage in something destructive and negative from a place of hurt or fear, because it perpetuates the cycle of harm – a cycle you’re standing squarely in the middle of. Yikes!

10 thoughts on “The Law of Karma and Wishing Harm on Others

  1. Cate

    This seems generally wise and helpful. However, “stopping just short of desiring harm” suggests we have some control over our feelings and thoughts. We don’t; they arise, and we choose how to work with them. This includes the wish that others suffer. It should not be avoided nor suppressed as karmically dangerous or unacceptable, but understood as an expression of anger, helplessness and hurt. This is not to indulge nor amplify, but to acknowledge and relate to with compassion and curiosity, no less than other feelings and thoughts.

    1. Martina Post author

      Yes – that’s 100% true. Feelings and are feelings, they come and go, and we don’t control that. It’s what we choose to do with them that we have input on. As you said, “we choose how to work with them.” So, you and I are saying the same thing, essentially (yay!). Feel the feelings, but then choose how you want to work with them. I choose to not wish harm (which is an action), no matter how angry or upset I am… because I believe it’s wrong, for many reasons.

    1. Martina Post author

      Hi Philip, Karma isn’t about blanket acceptance of others’ behavior. We shouldn’t let people hurt us, walk all over us, or damage our property and simply accept their behavior, because, “well.. it’s karma.” That’s a lack of boundaries. We have to maintain our own boundaries throughout our life. If someone crosses over them there are consequences for that. How you choose to respond affects your karma. How they choose to act affects their karma. If, for example, you choose to respond in retaliation, by destroying their property, then that’s on you and there are (should be) consequences for that. If, however, you use laws to protect your property (and reinforce your boundaries), and the consequences go to the one damaging it, then that’s their karma to deal with. As it should be. Hope that helps.

  2. TC

    There are people who to deserve to be punished and many of them have wronged me. I’ll never forgive them for costing me my job when I’m a hard-working person who treats others with respect. That’s why I hate my enemies.

  3. Elizabeth Davie

    I try not to wish bad I just keep away from that sort of person.
    I was falsley told I had cancer and made to have a hysterectomy once.
    Bullied into the opp by my sister who was speaking to my surgeon. I had the opp and she never phoned me or offers to help me. She told me sharply it was just a precaution opp. Then she turned her head away from m She died of cancer a few years later.
    My boyfriend at the time was visiting his X wife telling her I was dying of Cancer. I was told by a man who came to see me in hospital what he was doing. When he came to see me in hospital I told him I had had the all clear. His face dropped at the good news. He died of cancer and refused treatment. I did not wish it so much time had gone I didn’t care I had broken contact with them.
    I know it was Karma they brought upon themselves. It doesn’t give me pleasure but it does give me a sense of justice. Elizabeth D.



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