Dove with Branch
February 28, 2011 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 a problem with my children wanting to do such things as ear piercing or tattoos and they always say that everyone one else is doing it and they won't fit in if they don't. How do you suggest I handle this? - Sylvia in CA

Dear Sylvia, As parents we have the ability to stand back a see how fads come and go. For a young person it is very easy for a tattoo to be desired because it is fashionable "in the moment". I made it clear to my children if they wanted a tattoo, or other than the single ear piercing, they would have to wait until they were 18. If they still wanted them, then by all means they were now adults and could make that decision. I also talked to them about how important it is to be true to themselves, and that if a "friend" rejects them for being different then they weren't really a friend. My children have a sense of self that don't make it necessary to follow the crowd. - the Dean

Dear Dean, When I tell my husband about my problems he always gives me advice on what I should do and it makes me upset. I know he is trying to be helpful, but I can solve my own problems in my own way. I just want someone to hear my concerns. He still keeps on doing this even though he knows it upsets me. I have told him I just want him to listen without giving advice, but he does it anyway. How can I get him to stop? - Greta in MN

Dear Greta, If you don't want his help and you are upset when he tries to offer it, maybe you shouldn't keep telling him your problems? It might be more effective for you if you would let him offer advice, and then either use it or reject it as you see fit. Not seeking or listening to outside advice only reduces our effectiveness in dealing with a problem. It would be helpful if he could listen without giving advice, but that is his problem. Try not to make it yours by becoming upset about it. - 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

As a people we have embraced the idea of an end to warfare and that we would like to live in peace. But at the same time we have not accepted the idea that our world can be peaceful. We see it as a world where we are all competing for limited resources and if we don't prevail, we won't survive. We believe in survival of the fittest so we see life as a struggle to survive.

If we stop and reflect for a moment we will realize that we are using much of those "limited resources" just for the struggle. We use about half of our national resources in this country just to support our fight for survival (supremacy) as a nation. We make our legal system an adversarial system and give half the resources (money) to the warriors (lawyers). If we could just double our available resources by learning to get along with each other, and find peaceful resolutions to our problems we could double the standard of living for everyone! The petroleum we use to provide for our military needs could be used to solve our current gasoline shortage problem. It would release a lot of our mental energy for finding long term solutions to our energy needs as well.

When we can't think beyond our present need for preservation we don't do a good job of providing for the future. Let's start looking more outside the box for solutions to our problems. Let's look more for solutions that will enrich our quality of life. Let's be more open to change. We know things aren't working exactly the way we want them to be. Let's be more respectful of others, they are trying to solve the same problems. They are just working with a different vision. Let's work on creating a new common vision and then work on solving our common problems together.

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 that you will search for the reason and then change the belief that is causung you to become upset.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of Life Without Anger and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at: www.DeanOfPeace.com

Additional Notes
 

The World Emotional Literacy League in conjunction with World Without Anger and Lumbini Buddhist University has taken on the task of introducing emotional literacy training in the educational system of Nepal nationwide. In support of that program I will be conducting workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops will provide an introduction to the emotional skills training program as well as an introduction to establishing emotional skills training programs in your local area. The program and my workshops are based on my textbook "Emotional Intelligence - Taking Control of Your Life."

I have taken on the task of supporting the teaching of emotional skills training in the educational system with the trust and hope, that many in your community will be able to share in the vision of this great work, and join us in this amazing project. We are promoting a "Sponsor a School" program to raise awareness and support throughout the U.S. & Canada If you have any interest in the program and/or having a workshop in your area. Contact me for additional information.

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I welcome your suggestion or comments. If you have a question that you would like addressed in the Ask the Dean? column feel free to send them to drdean@lifewithoutanger.com

 

Contact Information

phone: 800-359-6015 fax:541-935-9361
web: lifewithoutanger.com

 

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