A thought-provoking conversation this weekend put my mind into overdrive. There was a time when my mind was probably almost continually in overdrive, but now I’ve either learned how to relax or I’ve gotten lazy, or both. Anyway, the current thoughtline is of the classic ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What impact do I want to have on this world?’ sort. Back in college, those questions were mostly theoretical as at that point I really had very little control over much of anything. Now, I have some daily decisions that can impact other people in a fairly significant way.

I’m the kind of person that has trouble processing negative energy, especially directed towards me personally. I’ve developed some defense mechanisms that help me shut down and reject the bad vibes before they get too deeply into my psyche. To do that, I sometimes have to make tough judgement calls about a person, group or situation. If, for instance, I decide somebody is full of crap I can then basically ignore what they say. I try to pay attention to what’s going on around me, but I’m only one person and I don’t have time to treat every new bit of information equally… I have to make some high-level processing decisions to keep the overall workload manageable. In less geeky terms, I only pay attention to what’s important to me. That means my information is inherently biased, but that’s ok by me. I like to hear a relatively balanced telling of a story but I don’t mind putting some trust into certain information souces.

So this process of information management means that I may not always treat everyone I encounter with the same level of respect and that means I occasionally wind up being labeled as a jerk or a meanie or something. It doesn’t happen often, but it has happened before. Regardless of respect, I still typically treat people the way I want to be treated. I guess maybe I err on the ‘honest’ side. I feel like it’s hard to hear certain things, but I still want to hear them if someone feels the need to say them. That’s what strong relationships are for, right?