Dove with Branch
March 10, 2008 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Hello!

My book "Emotional Intelligence - Taking Control of Your Life" is based on my work in High Schools in America and Nepal. It is offered as a text that can be used for grades eight through fourteen. It provides emotional skills training that is not presently available in our schools. If you are interested in more information about this book please feel free to contact me by e-mail or telephone.

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, My friend is always having problems in her life and I always try to be there to help her. It seems that life never treats her fair. She is always asking for help and I always do even though I am getting tired of it. The problem is that no matter how hard I try she doesn't appreciate it. She asks for my advice, never follows it, and then she blames me when it doesn't work out. This leaves me feeling very upset. How can I get her to appreciate what I do for her? - Beth in Kansas City

Dear Beth, You probably can't. You can however learn not to expect or require her appreciation. You can learn to look at your advice as given with love and without "strings of appreciation" attached. If this doesn't work for you, and you want to retain her as a friend, try telling her that you have no more advice to give, or that it is given only when appreciated. If you still feel a need to help, and to be appreciated, it might pay to find a different friend. Friendship should be based on love, and without stress. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I have a friend who always has to be right. If he makes a statement he will defend it as true no matter what, even when it is easy for everyone else to see that he is wrong. He refuses to change his mind even when it is obvious to everyone else that he is wrong. How can I get him to stop being that way? - Glenn in Tacoma

Dear Glenn, Ask yourself do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? As a friend you can let him know that he is doing this, and how other people react to it. But as a friend you can also just accept this and allow him to be wrong without argument when you know he won't listen. Just accepting his quirky little ways could make life more fun for you. - 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

We grow up in our own Society and we are taught pretty clear rules about what is right and what is wrong. We know what we "should expect" from other people, and what they "should expect" from us. When we are growing up, we learn to comply with these rules because others get upset at us and punish us in some way - if only by the way they accept and respond to us. We learn to follow the rules because of the trouble it causes when we don't. We punish others by the way we respond to them when we don't think they are following the rules.

This works fairly well when we live in a homogeneous society where we have all learned the same rules. When we try to apply our rules to others who have different values, we run into problems. When I lived in other countries, I often found that many who visited would become upset because they weren't being treated according to their own rules. "They are wrong; we know the rules and we will correct them!" - was their thinking.

Unfortunately this thinking often carries over to our expectations of what is right or wrong in relationships between countries. We make judgments that they are wrong and must change their behavior. How would you feel if the positions were reversed? We do need some rules about what is right and wrong for all. However they should be created by common agreement, treaty, a world governing body, or some other way we can come to agreement. Dictating how others must act, when we "know" they are wrong only leads to trouble. To live in Peace we must build a path that all societies are willing to walk down.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We know our opinions stem from our thoughts, not from external truth. So, perhaps we shouldn't go to battle over our truths as we so often do. Although deeply held, your truths are not necessarily those of others. When you come to terms with this reality and place feeling good above the need to be right, you'll be taking a giant step toward eradicating the angry conflicts in your life.

The need to be right is also the need to prevail. We live in a competitive society, and we like to be winners. Part of being right is winning the conflict. Realize this, and know that your desire to be right is your ego trying to win another contest. Reframe your thinking to accept the idea that we are all in this together. Expect that others will think differently and that their perception of events will not be the same as yours. Accept their differences with joy. If we were all the same it would be like living in "Pleasantville," the movie about life in the suburbs where everything is the same - dull, and colorless.

So how might you change your way of looking at things to take into consideration someone else's perceptions - and to wind up with a more harmonious result? Imagine someone using a cell phone in a restaurant where you are having dinner. They are chatting away somewhat loudly and this upsets you because you think they are making too much noise and being rude. But what if you came up with a new way of looking at the same situation - forced yourself, in other words, to perceive this unpleasant situation in a new, more pleasant light. That light might look something like this. "I'm going to imagine that this cell phone person is simply having a conversation with a real live dinner guest, and he is speaking as loudly as he is in fact speaking on the phone. I wouldn't be disturbed by the live conversation scenario - so why should I be disturbed by the cell phone exchange?" In this example by changing our perception of the event, we have succeeded in changing our response to it - from angry to accepting.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I listen to peaceful music.

Tuesday: Today I release stress.

Wednesday: Today I speak in a calm and loving tone of voice.

Thursday: Today I praise someone for their efforts.

Friday: Today I use words that lift and inspire me.

Saturday: Today I speak my truth, honestly and from the heart.

Sunday: Today I commit an act of kindness toward our planet.

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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