Dove with Branch
April 27, 2009 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 am a mature high school teacher in Connecticut. My age is my business. When my students ask me my age I try to joke with them, but they keep pressing for an answer. How can I get them to stop asking? - Gladys in CT

Dear Gladys, Stop caring! Why should you want to hide your age? It is something to be proud about, not ashamed of. If you don't want to answer the question that is fine, but they have the right to ask the question, unless you tell them it is not a question they may ask in your class. The fact you are sensitive about your age is your problem; not theirs. Examine why you have this problem. If you are upset by such a simple request you have an issue it would be helpful to pay attention to. - the Dean

Dear Dean, People often insult me by saying I am so short the sun shining off the top of my head blinds them. I am sensitive to my height or lack thereof, and to my bald spot. I do not like being reminded about either. How should I respond so that people will stop teasing me about it? - Randall in MN

Dear Randall, Accept their comments with a smile. It would be good to laugh with them if you can learn to laugh at yourself. The fact you are shorter than other people should be no reason to depreciate yourself and many men get bald, even me. We can't enjoy life in this world until we learn to accept things as they are. Neither shortness nor baldness are real qualities of personal worth. Give up the idea that they are. What other people think of you is their business and not yours. Give up the idea that you obtain your value from what they think of you. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: 90022 Sheffler Rd., Elmira, OR 97437, or visit www.DeanOfPeace.com. to submit by e-mail.

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

We see freedom as the right to do as we please without interference from others. We have the right to become more educated, choose our religious faith, and our form of government. We also have the right to know what is right and to fight for our causes. The problem with this concept of freedom is that it does not take into consideration the freedom of others. If they do not agree with our "right causes," then we think they are wrong and must be corrected or submit to our will.

We need to expand our idea of freedom to include the right of freedom for other people. They have the same right to have causes and beliefs that are different than our own just as we differ from them. We need to consider the right of other people to be free as important as our own right to be free!

Once we see freedom as something we create together we see the necessity of understanding the other person's point of view instead of treating it as wrong. We don't consider others just to be fair. We do so in our own self interest. When we realize our freedom depends on our ability to understand the thinking of others we will pay more attention to and be more accepting of what you say and do. To not accept the belief of others as appropriate can make life most difficult for us.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Unfortunately, we often relate to each other as if we are to be constantly judged. We think it is important to decide who is wrong and who is right. We think we need to be right. And if we are wrong, then we think we should suffer and be punished somehow. If there is guilt, then we think there must be blame. We try to control someone else's behavior by placing blame upon them. Most of the time, we don't even realize that we are doing this. But if we are practicing guilt and blame, we see the other person as threatening us, so we attack them. Because of their insecurities many people can be controlled by the power you create by placing blame. You may gain control, but do not expect a positive relationship to result unless you can actually find someone who enjoys other people having the power.

Blaming always leaves us with resentment and other negative feelings. Only by not placing blame can we be in control of our own fate. Unfortunately our legal system has adopted the concept of negligence, which is simply placing blame for mistakes. We buy into this concept of blaming others for all of the bad things that happen to us. We have learned to believe we should be compensated any time a bad thing happens to us because that is our society's way of thinking. When we do this we inadvertently accept victim-hood and incorporate it into our belief system.

By learning not to judge others, we learn to accept ourselves. As long as we condemn others for their mistakes, we will not be able to fully accept our own. We will be angry with ourselves because we are not living up to our own judgment of how we should be.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how you judge other people.

Tuesday: Think about how you blame other people for their mistakes.

Wednesday: Think about how you use blame to control other people's actions.

Thursday: Think about how you feel when others blame you.

Friday: Resolve to accept the different opinions of others as appropriate for them.

Saturday: Resolve not to blame others for honest mistakes.

Sunday: Resolve to accept other people as they are without judgment.

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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