It’s a lot easier to revive a victim that is still warm to the touch, versus a cold body.

This statement sticks with me because I want to have warm relationships that can be revived if need be.

When I was thinking through effectively teaching junior lifeguards how to respond well to people in distress, I decided that staying “warm” was one of the most crucial elements to remember. We must believe in ourselves and our ability to revive that victim. We have to light a fire of belief and confidence in ourselves and into that body that needs our help. We must convey our energy to the victim in order for them to survive.

Let me explain.

As with the other letters in the acronym R.I.S.E. (click here to refresh your memory), the “S” has a dual meaning. First, there is the obvious physical connection—when a body is in distress, staying warm is critical to survival. If too much time goes by without oxygen getting to the brain, the body temperature will drop.

Second, I expand the thought of “staying warm” to include the mental and emotional state of our relationships. Since you cannot change anyone but yourself, I stress the powerful impact you have when you “stay warm” in your perspective towards others.

Staying warm may be easier said than done, right?

How do you keep your heart warm when you’ve been hurt or lied to?

What happens when people in your life purposefully do things that anger you or disregard your efforts?

Has someone ever stolen from you—and you wonder if you’ll be able to trust them again?

The list could go on and on.

In each case, the natural reaction is usually NOT to react with mercy, forgiveness, or grace. And yet, that is exactly what we need to keep OUR hearts warm.

When deciding your response—or next step—after someone has done something or said something that hurt you, are you going to allow your reaction to be directed by a cold heart, or are you going to respond with a warm heart?

And what does it look like to respond warmly?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Have an open and transparent conversation when anger has subsided
  • Remember to INHALE before you respond and affirm yourself
  • Recognize that we are all imperfect and make mistakes
  • Forgiveness is a CHOICE that you can make regardless of what others do or say
  • Healing begins when you stay warm towards others and yourself
  • Fear and anger always lead AWAY from healthy responses

cpr on the beach

In my book, Break That Grip, I share the pain I’ve experienced at times in my life. Often, I can trace some of that pain back to my ego.

My ego wants to hold a grudge. My ego wants to defend my actions. My ego wants to lash back when I’ve been hurt. But I learned from the late Wayne Dyer that EGO stands for Edging God Out.

I believe we can reset and refresh in a bright place in our mind, even if only for a moment, to gain the warmth, clarity, courage, and guidance we need to manage a challenging circumstance.

At this year’s Air Force Academy graduation, I heard a story that illustrates the POWER of staying warm towards your “enemies.”

A decorated veteran named Robbie Risner spent 7 years, 4 months, and 27 days as a prisoner of war. Never knowing if he would make it back home, his survival was not just a physical battle but an emotional one as well.

While Robbie was held captive, he had many conversations with his Heavenly Father. He stated that they talked all the time, especially when things were horrible. Despite torture, loneliness, and trauma, Risner attributes faith in God and prayer as being instrumental to his surviving the Hanoi prison experience.

I would imagine that his heart was kept warm by his choice of prayer. And his story is truly inspiring to me as I consider the offenses I’ve had to overlook.

We usually don’t get to decide what circumstances, good or bad, come into our lives. Being in relationships can be messy, but we can decide to learn and grow together or cut them off. If the relationship is important to you…

Remember the acronym R.I.S.E.

Stay warm

In my next post, I’ll share my thoughts on the last part of R.I.S.E.

Until then, take care of your heart! Fuel yourself with humility, beauty, productive responses, and loving affirmation in order to stay warm.