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Look out

Look out! is an urgent warning. It usually means that some harm is coming your way – right now – so you better stop navel gazing and pay attention. Look up, look around, look outward so you can protect yourself.

I was thinking about this warning recently and imagined reframing it to looking out from yourself rather than for yourself. Lately, it feels more and more to me that the current challenge to being a good friend (or neighbor or citizen) requires us to look out of our own world and into the worlds of others. It goes without saying that you need to take care of yourself and protect yourself. That’s the adage to put on your air mask first. You can’t help anyone if you aren’t prepared.

But, with that as a given, I do think that it’s important to develop the skill of getting out of your own way. For instance (and maybe it’s a hangover from the pandemic), we seem to have forgotten how to be neighborly. Or, at least, we seem to minimize the value of keeping up conversations and relationships with those we don’t know but see regularly in our community. I’m not suggesting that we are all going to be friends – that’s just statistically absurd. But it’s equally absurd to assume we’re all going to be enemies.

Admittedly, it takes work. It takes effort. Commitment. It’s not necessarily easy, and it’s not for someone else to take care of, either. But, with a nod to Arlo Guthrie, “If you want to stop hate and stuff, you gotta sing loud and step out.” And you gotta look out.

The only way you’ll know if this works, though, is by doing it. So, give it a shot. Look outward. Step out of your bubble. Save the world by looking out.











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