Dove with Branch
July 02, 2012 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
 
Dear Peacemaker,
 
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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I have a friend who doesn't like the car I drive and she mentions it constantly. I tell her that I don't like to be criticized, but she says "Friends should let each other know what they think." I don't think that friends should criticize each other, am I right? - Nora in CA

Dear Nora, 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. You might remind her that she has already let you know how she feels. 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 doesn't like me. He won't invite me to his home or even won't carry on a conversation with me. I have a granddaughter 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 doesn't even allow her to call or write. He won't even say why he is upset with me. How can I find a way to see my daughter and granddaughter whom I love very much? - Loren in KS

Dear Loren, If he 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 try not to make things more difficult for her than they already are. 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 without saying more would be a great gift under the circumstances. - 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 you must win. This idea makes half the world losers who will be out there to beat you the next time.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Don't become a mind reader. We need to learn to not make assumptions about what our partner is thinking or wants. Also, we should never assume that they fully understand what we are telling them. Finishing your partner's sentence for them when you think you know what they are about to say not only leads to their resentment and anger but also to your own lack of understanding about who they really are.

On the other hand, be clear when you are communicating something to your partner. Don't assume that the other person automatically knows what you mean when you say something. Their way of thinking is not identical to yours, and misunderstandings are likely if you are not explicit and clear. Such misunderstandings can often lead to one or the other becoming fearful or angry. We need to do the best we can to make sure the other person understands what we are thinking.

Arthur Conan Doyle in his Sherlock Homes series left us with an idea that it is really wonderful to be able to take a few facts and find the answer. We need to overcome the idea that it is clever to be able to understand what someone is really thinking or saying just by listening to a few words. When we are trying to understand something the idea is to withhold judgment until we can get as much information as possible. The more we jump to conclusions the more we will be creating misunderstandings - and unnecessary stress.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Pay attention to how often you assume you what they are saying.

Tuesday: When you are uncertain of what someone is saying ask what they mean instead of guessing what they mean.a humorous way of looking at the event.

Wednesday: When someone says something different than what you expect take the time to make sure they mean what you think they do.

Thursday: Be accurate and complete when explaining and making requests of others.

Friday: When someone tells you something find out how they feel as that is part of the message.

Saturday: Expect that many words will have a different meaning to the other person.

Sunday: Resolve not to be the super sleuth who "knows" the answer from just a few clues.

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 conduct workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops 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."

If you are a charitable or religious organization and would like to reprint any of my articles please contact me for permission, which will be cheerfully granted.

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Past issues of this newsletter are archived on my website.

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

 

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