Being aware of your surroundings and being prepared for a possible threat is not the same as being paranoid. Paranoia is an abnormal worry of either a real or an imagined threat. Preventable violent situations occur everyday, just remember they are preventable.
People tend to confuse worry, apprehension, and fear. The difference between these is vital to making appropriate responses to perceived threats. In his book The Gift of Fear, Gavin de Becker defines worry as "fear we manufacture." To worry is to choose to consider the negative possibilities concerned with one of the following:
- Something that is not happening now.
- Things you have no control over.
- Things you can change but for one reason or another choose not to.
Fear itself is a powerful, useful and, most importantly, unconscious tool. Linked strongly to intuition, it will advise you of danger that you may not be consciously aware of. People tend to worry so much about imagined things that they do not recognize a real threat when it occurs. The only fear you should be concerned about is fear of something that has a high probably of occurring and you cannot control or prevent it. Even then, do not let fear cause inaction. There is always hope where there is action.