Dove with Branch
May 04, 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, My friend frequently tells me that she doesn't like the clothes I wear and some of my other friends. I don't think friends should criticize each other and I ask her not to do that, but she says "Friends should be able to say what is on their mind to each other." I don't think that friends should criticize each other. What do you think? - Brenda in CA

Dear Brenda, I think that you think friends shouldn't criticize each other - and that you look at her giving her opinion of how you look and what you do as criticism. If what someone thinks of you is of no value or hurtful to you then you will want to avoid them - or get over it. Many think it is really great to have someone they can trust to give them an honest opinion. If I had a friend who was doing this to be helpful I would appreciate it very much. If what they said upset me, then I would try to examine and change how I feel about it. Friends sometimes bring out our insecurities. If they are doing it in a loving way then we can be thankful. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My son-in-law does not like me. He will not invite me to his home and will not even take calls from me. I have two grandchildren that I have never even seen because he won't allow my daughter to bring them to my home. My daughter has chosen to abide by his wishes even though I know it hurts her very much. He won't allow her to even call or write. Neither of them will tell me why I have upset him so that I can try to make amends. What can I do to make her let me see my grandchildren? - Norma in WV

Dear Norma, If she refuses to talk to you and you are unable to talk to your daughter as well, then gracious acceptance of the situation is probably your best bet in the long run. Perhaps time will change things. Have great compassion for your daughter and do not make things more difficult for her. For whatever reason, she has chosen to abide by her husband's wishes. It was most likely not an easy choice for her. Try not to add to her suffering by showing your pain to her. Telling her that you understand her choice without saying more would be a great gift to her. - 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 have developed a way of thinking in our society which I refer to as partisanship. This means that we choose up sides, and then do our thinking on the premise that whatever supports our side is what is right. When we make the decision of which side we are going to support we tend to give up our own independent thinking and accept the thinking of the group as our own. We no longer trust our self enough to do our own thinking. We agree because belonging seems important to us.

This also means we resist whatever the other side says. We no longer try to understand their position. We no longer seek compromise. We feel we must prevail because we are right, and they are wrong. It is like being elated when our team wins the World Series - and depressed when they don't. We forget it is just a friendly game. We support it with our emotional life.

If we are aware we have this tendency, then we can pay attention and catch ourselves when we have this feeling. We are not going to be able to live well together, unless we are as caring and friendly with the fans of the opposing team just as we are with our own fans. Give up the idea that the other team - the other fans - the other country - the other religion - the other society, are the bad guys. Give up the idea that life is a game that we must win.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We feel upset when we don't deal with unfinished business from the past. As we continue to hold onto our anger, our unforgiving thoughts become the cause of our suffering, and we continue to hurt. The only remedy for this pain and resentment is forgiveness. We can be free of suffering by letting go of the past. Becoming a happy person is really not possible until you free yourself from your anger and forgive.

If you find yourself fearful that what has happened in the past will happen in the future, try taking the opposite attitude - that things will be better now that you have learned the lesson inspired by the negative experience. Which attitude is the most productive- holding onto anger and being miserable, or practicing forgiveness and learning from the experience? Why not consider the person who "wronged you" as a teacher? If you look upon them as a teacher of one of life's lessons, it will be much easier to forgive them. Be thankful for the lesson. View the situation from the perspective of how you dealt with it rather than what was done to you.

To decide not to forgive is to decide to suffer. By shifting your perspective and refusing to blame others, or to carry any resentment, you open yourself to a happier existence. Forgiveness is letting go of all hope that we can somehow fix the past. We have all been hurt by the actions of others. It is always easy to justify your anger, but even with the strongest of justifications, you will never be happy if you hold onto the anger. The anger will have won out, and you will have lost, no matter how strong your "case." It will help you to forgive if you take the position that, in your life, no anger is justified.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Realize that there is nothing in this world that requires you to be angry.

Tuesday: Think of the people in your family you have not forgiven for things that they have done.

Wednesday: Release all anger which you still hold against anyone in your family.

Thursday: Think about all of the people in your life you have not forgiven for things that they have done.

Friday: Release all anger which you still hold against anyone.

Saturday: Release all anger that you hold against any institution, government, group or situation in the world.

Sunday: Resolve to always release any anger whenever it is experienced.

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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