Dove with Branch
May 19, 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, We live in Chicago and we have many relatives will come and stay with us when they want to visit the city. We really don't mind them staying but find the extra cost to provide for them a real drain on our budget. We are happy to be a guide and show them the city. How do we get them to help pay for expenses? - Miriam in IL

Dear Miriam, Staying with you doesn't seem to be a problem except for the expense. Why can't you simply let them know your situation? Being with friends is still a good deal for both of you. Be honest and things will work out fine. They will be happy to cover expenses, or stay elsewhere. Be ashamed to tell the truth and everyone will be upset. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My fiancée's family doe's not approve of me. They think I am not good enough for her because I am not Greek. They think I act like a cold hearted American, and they are always finding fault with me and telling her she needs to find someone of her own ethnic background. The problem is that she will go there for holiday dinners without me. I want to be with her on the holidays but she says she can't neglect her family and that I should go and they will eventually accept me. - Patrick in NY

Dear Patrick, The inability to understand ethnic differences frequently results in problems. This is something both you and your fiancée need to work out. Neither you nor she is obligated to handle it in a certain way, or do a certain thing. What you do need to do is find a solution that will work for both of you. I suggest going with her, even if the reception is cool. They may warm to you when they see that she truly cares for you. Issues that could break up the marriage need to be resolved before the marriage. How the two of you are at resolving differences is usually more important than the differences. - 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 often have a very definite opinion about what is right and what is wrong and exactly how others should act. When others don't do it the way we think is right, we get angry and think they should be punished. We experience a lot of angst just because other people don't do things the way we think they should. Somehow we think we get to run the world and they should follow our rules. We will always experience strife as long as we think others must do things the way we want them to.

Take the law shielding confidential information for reporters, for example. We can make a very good argument why their information should be protected; and we can also make a very good argument for why it should not. Society needs to consider those arguments carefully, and develop a rule that will best serve in this situation - one that considers both points of view and is in line with our underlying social principles.

Instead of just deciding what we think is right and then fighting to make that the law, we would be better served spending our energy looking for solutions that will be best for our society as a whole. When we have differences of opinion and want to live in peace with each other, we need to respect the other's point of view and search for common ground. My way or the highway is not the best answer if we want to live at peace with each other.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Most often the anger directed toward us is due to the other person having different expectations than our own. They are operating under the assumption that we will act toward them in a certain way; and when we don't, their anger is triggered. They may have very different beliefs and be totally unaware of our point of view or motivation; or they simply may be very different from us in many ways.

In dealing with another person's emotions, it is important to be aware of the fact that the other person wants something to come out of their relationship with you. The key is to understand their expectations, and to help them understand yours.

Such mutual understanding is brought about by meaningful communication. Rather than expecting the other person to feel the same way as you do about the situation that has made them upset, make a real effort to find out how they are thinking about something. In order to get a good understanding of what's driving their upset, so that you can ultimately diffuse it, you need to hone your listening and communication skills. Train yourself to be a good listener by learning how to "listen deeply." To do this, you must put your own thoughts and beliefs on hold, and really focus on what the other person is saying.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: When someone is upset with you ask yourself why you think they are angry.

Tuesday: When someone is upset ask yourself what they are expecting from you.

Wednesday: When someone is angry with you ask yourself what different belief they have that is causing the upset.

Thursday: When someone is asking something from you find out exactly what they are expecting and why they do.

Friday: When you are asking something of someone make sure they understand exactly what you are expecting and why you expect it.

Saturday: When someone asks something from you try to understand their request from their point of view.

Sunday: Resolve to always be a good listener, and understand fully the meaning and feeling of what others are relating to you.

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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