Dropping the guard

I’m not sure if this applies to everyone but it cetainly applies to me. Living in London for as long as I have has built up a natural guard to strangers, the minute anyone talks to me I think “what do they want?”. I am sure thqt this paranoia is useful at times and perhaps even keeps me safe to some extent but I foumd myself today questioning it. Over the last few days in this tiny town of Ban Krut a lot of the local Thai people say hello (in English!) as you pass or as they whizz by on their scooters. The suspicious city dweller in me finds this a bit unnerving, I say hello back but my brain is always on guard waiting for something bad to happen which I feel is totally misplaced here. The question is should I try to stop being this suspicious of people and if so how?

I get the feeling that my paranoia is not totally misplaced. Everywhere you go there is probably at least one person who may want to cause you harm or distress. It is a sad fact that we as humans do not trust each other and we probably judge the many by the few. I would like to believe that nobody here is going to cause me a problem but if I let my guard down and somebody does I am sure that I will not go easy on myself for doing so. Now don’t misunderstand me here it’s not because of the Thai people,  I have this paranoia against virtually everyone. I wonder how much living in London has done this to me? If I lived in a small town where everybody knows everyone would I be more naive and gullible? If in that small town a rumour was started that “Jim” down the road was mad but in reality “Jim” was just different, would I believe the rumour or find out for myself?

I think no matter what I do on this journey that paranoia will probably never go away. I will never trust a stranger implicitly no matter what, after all this has been driven into me from a very young age, its even written in music but how valid is it?

Don’t talk to strangers, because they are only there to do you harm – Ronnie James Dio

I know I am a good person and I don’t think I expect other people to just take my word for granted, I expect that people will need to be shown or convinced that I’m not harmful and I wonder if we can do anything about that as a human collective? Trust needs to be earned or so they say.

2 thoughts on “Dropping the guard

  1. I had exactly the same thought, but then I started to smile at people myself and especially engage with small children who could not help but stare at us or were so curious. Still if the interaction went further than that then I got suspicious and put my guard back on. Mind you, in Bangkok of all places we got offered a free lift to Khao San Road from a stranger who at the beginning we did not trust, but that in the end turned out to be just a nice man who loves talking to people in English 🙂

  2. It’s true, this can happen, although my guard is still well and truly up it’s nice to stand and chat with people for sure. Wish at those times I could remove that underlying feeling of what do they want from me.

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