Dove with Branch
April 30, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, This regards the lady whose friend constantly criticizes her clothes. It is very well to say that we should be happy as ourselves and just let others say what they want. But this is her friend - not some stranger and not some bully. This is something we have all experienced and I have witnessed. A loved one or a friend is so concerned with what they think is right - they try to impose their thoughts on other people by critiquing their clothes, their parenting skills, their housework, their attitude, etc. This doesn't call for passivity which will lead to estrangement. It calls for some honest communication. She needs to let her friend know that she is comfortable with the way she dresses and that her friend's remarks do hurt her feelings. A true friend would get the message. It is after you try honest communication that you just have to realize your friend has the problem not you. The friend is focusing more on her values than on your friendship. – Michelle

Dear Michelle, You are absolutely right that we should tell our friend exactly how we feel. The reason I answered the way I did is because it is so important to learn not to be insulted by what other people say, even if they are your friends. We cannot control what other people feel and say, but we can control how we feel about what they say. Being insulted is unnecessarily making our self a victim to what the other person says. If I am upset then I am the one with the problem. I believe we are better off knowing how others feel than to not know. We can learn to be secure about them having differences of opinion. Differences are what make life beautiful. if we can learn to accept and enjoy them. – the Dean

Dear Dean, Regarding the lady who didn’t want to disclose her age; she has a perfect right to keep it private. It is none of anyone else’s business. She has a right to be angry because her age is a private matter. – Carol in Denver

Dear Carol, Of course she has a right to be angry! We all have a right to be angry at whatever we want. But I find being angry to not be very much fun. I would like my life to be enjoyable so I do not choose anger, especially when more pleasant options are readily available. When we get angry at what others have a legal right to do, we make life less fun unnecessarily. – the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit www.DeanOfPeace.com. to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

Most of us think that many of the things that are being done in our society are wrong, and if they were done differently our life would be better. We think other people are stupid, greedy, thoughtless and uncaring among other things. Most likely they are thinking the very same way we are much of the time. The other side of the coin is that if there are abuses in our society there are people who feel they benefit from those abuses and wish to maintain the status quo. If those who hold positions of power in our government benefit from their positions they are not the ones motivated by the desire to change.

If we want to be the ones in power so we can have things our way, then things will end up the same; only reversed. This is the way it works in our political system now. As soon as those in power have abused the system enough the ones not in power gain support, and it then becomes their turn to do the same in their own special way.

Until we as a society gain the understanding, integrity, and compassion to look for ways of being and doing that consider the needs and viewpoints of everyone, our system will continue to work as it does now. When we are ready to care about others as much as we care about ourselves and our own families, we will continue to do politics in this way. When we become concerned about the viewpoints and needs of everyone equally, we will create a society that is loving and nurturing for all of its people.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Once we habituate behavior, we find it is difficult to change. Once we create or accept responses based on our negative emotions, we often hold onto them and have difficulty giving them up. Once behavior becomes habitual, avoiding it becomes a challenge – even when we know it’s the right thing to do. Acting in the way we always have will obviously feel “natural” to us. But when we commit to and make a plan for changing that behavior, so that a new positive way of responding can take its place, that new behavior will soon become “natural.”

With hard work and practice, we can change our behavior. Forcefully, vigorously, and powerfully work at creating better thinking, healthier feelings, and more productive actions. Do this now, not later. For most people, it won’t take very long to no longer feel negative about many things. But keep working on change, you will always continue to improve, even if you never become absolutely perfect at responding in the desired way. And remember that increasing the effort you put into changing will shorten the time it takes you to do so.

Rehearsing a desired behavior is almost as good as doing the real thing. By repeating an action again and again, you create a new path in your brain and use it until the new response becomes habitual. Scientists refer to this as creating a new neural path. In this sense the brain doesn’t know the difference between “real” and “rehearsed” behavior. The process is similar to that of memorizing a poem or improving on your golf swing. The more times you practice (or rehearse) the poem, the swing, or the positive response, the closer you get to that behavior becoming automatic.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about something that always upsets you. Determine the belief you have that makes you feel that way.

Tuesday: Create a new belief that will allow you to no longer be upset when the same event happens.

Wednesday: Rehearse, practice and establish this new belief until it becomes your natural response.

Thursday: Think about someone whose behavior frequently upsets you. Determine the belief you have that makes you feel that way.

Friday: Develop a new way of thinking about that person’s behavior so that it will no longer upset you.

Saturday: Rehearse, practice and establish this new belief until it becomes your natural response.

Sunday: Resolve that whenever you become upset that you will search for the reason and then change the belief that is causing you to feel upset.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at: www.DeanOfPeace.com

Additional Notes
 

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Dean Of Peace | P.O. Box 535 | Elmira | OR | 97437