Dove with Branch
March 17, 2008 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I have been reading your newsletter for some time. I don't understand when you say we should trust someone when those close to you are always taking advantage of you. How can I be trusting of those who have hurt me? I try but they just take advantage of me. I am so tired of trying to forgive them even though they will never acknowledge how much they have hurt me. I just don't think trust is even possible. - Corinne in NM

Dear Corinne, Start by trusting in your Higher Power. Then trust in your own ability to deal with the problems that life presents you. Change the problem in your mind, from how people are treating you, to what is the best way to react in this situation. Realize that other people cannot hurt you inside unless you let them. We want love and the only way we can get it is by giving it. So trust others and if they return the trust - wonderful! But don't require them to be trustworthy in return. They can't hurt you unless you expect something from them that they are unwilling to give. There is always a positive solution to any problem or relationship if you allow yourself to be free to find it. When we fail to offer trust we have eliminated the possibility of finding a positive solution. We must forgive for our own well being. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My brother has nicknamed his son "pig pen." I think this is a terrible thing to do, and I have told him so. He tells me that it is none of my business. I tell him that Gary will feel inferior because this name will create a picture that he is a messy kid. Other kids will make fun of him. Kids have enough problems without their parents making it intentionally worse for them. My brother thinks it's funny. What can I tell my brother so he will realize that he is messing up his kid's life? - Gerald in IA

Dear Gerald, The nickname is not bad because you think it is bad. It is only bad if the child thinks it is bad. If he feels ashamed or depreciated by it then it shouldn't be used because he will believe it is true, or that others are mean to him. If he likes it, or really appreciates the humor, then it can be okay. Most children do not have sufficient self-esteem to see it as positive or funny. If your nephew is one of those lucky children then okay. But if he is not - and I expect he is not - then pass this answer on to him to consider. Your brother may well be abusing his child just for his own humor - 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

One of the problems I see is that we continually buy into our own solutions to problems. We see a problem - run it through our belief system - collect the facts we think we need to make a decision and then go with it. Once we have made the decision we tend to accept it in our minds as the only "right answer." We put all of our efforts into implementing it, and into defending it whenever it is questioned by others. We often make ineffective decisions simply because we haven't considered all the facts; or because things don't work the way we think they will.

What if we made the solutions we decide on only tentative? What if the final test was always, "how is this working?" When we give up the emotional attachment to our belief that we know what the right answer is we can focus on finding the best answer. Let's trade the need for the feeling that we are doing the right thing for the need to find the best solution.

This will produce better results for us, and for others around us. It will greatly reduce the emotional conflict in our life. It can also produce a great sense of satisfaction to know that we are always open to finding the best answer, and that we have always given it our best. A sense of knowing we have the "right" answer often leads to stress because of the perceived need to defend our answer. A sense of knowing we are searching for the best answer leads to reduction of stress because are no longer resisting alternatives.

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 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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