Dove with Branch
April 08, 2013 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, Many of our relatives like to visit because while they are on vacation because we live close to great surfing. We don't mind them staying with us but we just don't have the extra money for food. How do we let people know we can't afford to have them stay with us? - Ron in CA

Dear Ron, 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 husband's family don't approve of me. They think I am not good enough for him because I am not of their culture. They are always finding fault with me and telling him he needs to find someone of their ethnic background. The problem is that he will go there for holidays without me. I want to be with him on the holidays but he says he can't neglect his family and that I should go and they will eventually accept me. - Maria in MA

Dear Maria, The inability to understand ethnic differences frequently results in problems. This is something both you need to work out. Neither you nor he 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. Look hard at the possibility of going with him, even if the reception is cool. They may warm when they grow accustomed to you, and see that he truly cares for you. The important thing is to resolve this problem in some way that works for both of you. How effective 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: 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 humans banded together; at first in small communities and then in ever larger social structures we developed rules about how we should live and function together. These are the rules that have become the laws and traditions which determine how our society functions. These structures were created at a time when we were concerned primarily with our safety, and when we had little trust that others would follow the rules voluntarily.

We developed solutions that did not look beyond the immediate problem we were trying to solve, and did not contemplate changes that would occur in the future. Conditions changed and needs changed but rules changed only a little. Our rules and laws are bound by traditions from the past that are difficult to change.

We would benefit from examining these structures in some detail to determine possible changes that will bring them into harmony with the objective of creating a harmonious framework for our society. Our objective is to create a framework that will make it possible for each of us on this planet to experience a peaceful and joyful life. In working to create peace we need to examine each of our society's operating systems to determine their goals and purpose. We need to discover the stresses and obstacles created by the way they presently function. We need to have a general understanding of the functioning and objectives of each of these areas. This will allow us to be able to create productive changes that will help to align these systems more closely with our need to function effectively and to be creative in a Peaceful World.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

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. Unfortunately, most conversations can be characterized as "my stuff/your stuff." They can be likened to a strange game of tennis - played with separate balls. You serve your ball to me. I let it pass and serve my ball back to you. You let it pass and serve your ball back to me. The game continues in this way - with neither player returning the other person's ball. In such an instance, it obviously isn't a game at all. And in a conversation with the same characteristics, it's not really a conversation at all. You want to tell your story and I want to tell mine.

We never hear the other person's story because we are too busy telling our own. How many conversations have you had lately that went this way? We can defuse another person's anger simply by putting an end to the "my stuff/your stuff" game and truly listening to that person. Interestingly, very often when you give an upset person the courtesy of politely listening to what they have to say, without interrupting them or retaliating in anger, their anger is reduced. And they will be better able to listen to your story after you have fully listened to them.

As you are listening; focus on the feelings being expressed by the other person, rather than the strict meaning of their words. The feelings are the most important part of any message. When a child tells us, "Billie hit me," we tend to focus on the hit instead of how the child feels. If you can respond in a way that lets the child know you understand how he feels, this will tend to calm him down. For example, "It sounds like you feel hurt and angry." Learn to deal with an angry person's feelings in this way. Their feelings are usually far more important to them than the event itself.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how closely you listen when other people talk.

Tuesday: Think about how to recognize other people's feelings as they talk.

Wednesday: Learn to listen completely to the other person's message before you think about responding to them.

Thursday: Learn to allow the other person to tell you their story fully before you tell them your story.

Friday: Learn to ask questions so you can fully understand what the other person is saying.

Saturday: Learn to ask questions so you can fully understand how the other person is feeling.

Sunday: Resolve to always listen thoughtfully and fully to what the other person has to say before you respond.

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."

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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

 

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