Are You Warm vs. Cool?

Late one evening, I received a text informing me that earlier in the day there had been an attempted break-in at one of my neighbor’s homes. Now I didn’t have a lot of information, but I decided to post what I did know on one of those neighborhood watch apps. And just as I’m falling asleep, the comments came rolling in. Most of them very thankful. A few asking for more details that I didn’t have. And of course, the handful of negative comments, including one of my neighbors saying, “Why would you put us all on alert for something that happened over 8 hours ago? You’ve got to be quicker than that.”

Wow! One post eliciting such a variety of feedback and comments, most of them warm thank goodness, versus the handful that were cruel.

I want to live with neighbors, in a society, in a family and a workplace, that is warm versus cool.

That is generous, gives gratitude, is helpful, versus cold, negative, cool. Now look, I know you are not the type of person that would post a negative comment like that, but I’m going to challenge you a little bit because we all have a tendency to react in a negative way at certain times. And so I want to offer to you just a couple of tips of how I manage that, so that I don’t end up becoming the person who is too cool and posting a negative comment.

First, it’s just self-awareness. Hey look, what’s the emotion I’m feeling? Before I act, it’s, “How am I thinking about this? Why am I feeling this way? What is going on with me today that is causing me to have this emotion?” It’s got to start internally.  

And then very simply, I just stop and put it on the other person. I try to put myself in their shoes, have some empathy, try to imagine what they’re maybe going through, what’s happening maybe in their life, even if there’s something I don’t necessarily know, it’s like I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt; I try to see the positive side, even if that isn’t the reality. It’s where I choose to come from, that’s the place I want to respond to so that I’m not quick to react with this cold comment.

So reflecting what emotions you are feeling in that moment, and then trying to understand what the other person is going through well before you give any sort of response. How do you manage staying warm versus cool? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 

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