I’m about ready to strangle my 5 year old son. EVERY morning he throws the same tantrum: “I don’t want to get dressed. I’m too tired to brush my teeth. I don’t want to go to school…” I’ve been practicing Flash Forgiveness, but as soon as I forgive, he throws something else in my face, usually the same crap he threw the day before.
I feel like I’m wasting all my flashes of forgiveness on him. Kind of like those old flash cubes that we used to place on Kodak cameras. So I’ve come up with a new form of Flash Forgiveness.
Strike first and ask for forgiveness later.
Flash forgiveness does not work if we can’t stay in the moment. We may flash forgive, but the next time we are offended by the same person, we feel double offended since our forgiveness seemed to have no effect. In actuality we weren’t really forgiving in the first place, we were simply flashing through the moment.
So in order for the forgiveness to take, I am adding two new rules.
Erase the past
. When we flash forgive, someone’s trespass is wiped from our memory. Think of that handy tool they used in Men in Black that would wipe people’s memories away. This way each new encounter starts off with a fresh slate. This is my practice of cultivating unconditional love. Even if someone hurt me before, I will embrace them today with an open heart.
I know what some of you are thinking—“Kozo, have you lost your mind? ‘Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice shame on me’.”Just because we view others with an open heart does not mean we open ourselves up for attack.
If we are in the present moment, then we can fully sense the intentions and energies of others. Sometimes those that have hurt us before have changed. Sometimes those that used to be our friends are out to hurt us. We’ve all seen a movie where the main character runs from someone s/he thinks is out to harm them right into the arms of someone who s/he trusts who happens to be the real villain.
Forget the past. Let the present be your guide.
Kareem Johnson in his article, “Prejudice vs. Positive Thinking,” mentions a study where participants were unknowingly made to smile by being instructed to hold a pencil in their teeth and not let it touch their lips. Try it. It’s kind of like a sh#t-eating grin.
Research has shown how posing a smile “can be enough to produce mild positive emotions and can lead to more favorable evaluations of other people.” Even a “fake smile” affects how we view others.
By forcing ourselves into a positive emotional state, we are more likely to forgive with an open heart rather than empty words. Ironically, fake smiles prevent feigned forgiveness.
So when we put everything together, we get a process very similar to having our photo taken–Smile>Flash>Forgive>Forget.
I tried this new method out on my son this weekend when he broke the mirror on the bathroom door where he was supposed to be in time-out. “That’s it. No Birthday Party for you” was my first response. I returned five minutes later, smiled, and said, “I forgive you, son.” He looked confused, but later that night he came up to me while I was meditating, kissed me, and said, “I love you, Daddy.”
Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.
Do you believe that forgetting the trespasses of others is dangerous? Please share.