Have your boomerangs come back?

July 15, 2021

Two recent quotes from the Jack’s Winning Words blog seemed to fit together this morning –

“The game of life is the game of boomerangs.  Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later…with astounding accuracy.”  (Florence Shinn)

-AND-

“The beginning of compunction is the beginning of a new life.”  (George Eliot)

When I read the first quote I thought immediately of the 1961 song by Charlie Drake, “My Boomerang Won’t Comeback.” When looking up who sang the song, in almost every mention of it in the search results, it was labeled as a racist song. I never thought if it that way, but maybe that is one of my boomerangs returning to cause me compunction.

We see this boomerang effect quite often as we watch politicians or other “public figures” squirm and backpedal on TV as they are confronted by their past statements or actions. Some have developed compunction about those events and statements, but many still defend them. I recall the miraculous “conversion” of George Wallace from avid racist during his days as Governor of Alabama to the inclusive, anti-racist candidate for President. He could not duck fast enough to avoid those boomerangs.

I suspect that we all have boomerang moments in our lives when we said something or did something that later returned to us and perhaps some of them, we now have compunction about. We are becoming more and more aware of and perhaps having regrets for things that we might have said or done that contributed to what we now understand is systemic racism or homophobia. Most of it is because we allowed some of the bad “everybody knows” thinking and statements about those topics to seep into our thoughts and control our actions and reactions. We didn’t stop and think about who “everybody” is or to question or challenge the presumptions upon which the statements were based. We just accepted them and went on with life, thereby joining into the problem rather than seeking the truth.

The quote about compunction is the key to dealing with these boomerangs in our life. The fact is that we change over time. That change is usually driven by an increase in our knowledge of things that we may have just accepted without question earlier in our lives – the everybody knows things. We learn the truth behind some oof those assumptions and develop compunction about having been duped into a false conclusion. We regret having said things or done things that now seem unwise at best and hateful or harmful in many cases – we develop compunction.

How about you? Do you look back over your life and see things that you said or did that you are now regretful for having said or done? If you recognize them as such you are off to a good start at correcting them in the future. You can’t take back what you said or did 10-15-20 years ago, but you can recognize that they were wrong and have enough remorse and understanding of what would have been right to avoid a repeat of those mistakes in the future – you can have compunction.

One way to close the loop on the regrets that you might have is to lay them out to God in prayer and ask for His help to change you so that you do not do those things again. This is a form of “getting it off your chest”. You could seek out the person that you might have hurt with your remarks, but that is often impractical. You could stand on a street corner confessing your past misdeeds and statements, but that seems a bit dramatic. Just admitting it to the highest authority (God) out loud or in your thoughts as you pray has a cleansing effect. Then you can say, yes, your boomerangs came back, but you caught them and dealt with them the best way possible. You can accept God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself.

Now get out there and throw boomerangs that you will be proud of when they come back.


Beware the boomerang effect…

May 21, 2015

In Australia the native Aborigines developed a wonderful hunting weapon that would eitherboomerang hit and kill or disable the intended target (usually a small animal or bird) or it would fly back to the thrower, if it missed. I’m not sure what the Aborigines called it, but it was named the boomerang by someone. There are things in life that one can do, or attitudes that one can display, that almost always have what I call the boomerang effect…in other word s they come right back at you, most of the time with ill affect.

Examples include holding grudges, being spiteful or hateful, discriminating against others, bullying others, seeking revenge and more. I’m sure that each reader can probably think of a few more. They all have this in common; while they are actions or attitudes that are directed outward towards others they all reflect badly upon the person; thus they come back to cause harm to the originator. How? By making that person look like the ass that they are behaving like at the time.

hateful boomerangAll of the examples above and probably all that you can think of are negative things or behaviors and seldom does anything good come out of being negative. Secondly, they are all usually directed against someone or some group of people. They are meant to belittle or tear down those people or perhaps to cause them harm in retaliation for some perceived harm that they have caused. So you throw an insult out there or take an action designed to cause them some harm back. Beware the boomerang effect.

Sometimes life is like a sports event where the original infraction goes unnoticed by the refs, but the retaliation is seen by them and a penalty assessed against the person retaliating. One could look at that as being twice injured – once by the infraction and again because of thehockey penalty retaliation. Many time people have no idea what you might be responding to when you strike back in spite and retaliation against someone whom you feel has harmed you in some way. All that the innocent bystander sees is you being nasty to someone else. You come off as being an ass; and, to tell the truth, you are because you chose not to forgive and forget, but to try to get even. The boomerang effect has gotten you.

Life is not a zero-sum game, where there must always be a loser for every winner. One should not keep score in life of all of the perceived slights, or injuries or embarrassments that one suffers at the hands of others, be they real or imagined. Rather keep score of the number of times that you forgave that other person for their actions or hurtful remarks. Let them see that what they may have thrown at you missed the mark. Many times those things will boomerang back on them anyway, as others observe their behavior (and yours) and decide for themselves whether they want to be hateful and ugly or at peace with themselves and forgiving of others. Let them deal with their own boomerangs. Don’t add to the hate that already in the air by tossing your own boomerang out there, too.

I have found in life that nothing deflates the purveyors of hate and discontent more and faster than aiming their vitriol at someone who refuses to rise to the bait. Be the person who puts the flower into the barrel of the gun pointed at them, rather than pull your own gun and starting a battle. If you must fling boomerangs out there make them positive compliments to others and shows of affection towards others. Those tend to come back at you, too. Have a great day and watch what you throw out there.