Dove with Branch
September 09, 2013 Insights From the Dean of Peace
 
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Dear Peacemaker,
 
      Welcome!
 

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, We had a great family reunion this summer and my sister Sheryl who lives just two hours away was "to busy" to make it to the party. She could have taken the time if she really wanted to come. I think the family is as important as a concert. This is the last time she will be invited to a party at our place. - Matthew in CA

 

Dear Matthew, I don't know about your sister's problem and why she chose not to attend, but it is evident that you have an anger problem. Being angry when others don't do what you like is just a learned behavior that is not very effective in creating loving relationships. Your sister has reasons which you may be totally unaware of for not attending. Allow her to make her decisions for her own reasons instead of your desires; and respect her for them. Tell her everyone really missed her and let her know everyone hopes that she can make it next time. - the Dean

 

Dear Dean, The real joy in the life of large families is that we love and care for each other. When it feels like is you against the rest of the family, I suggest you take a hard look at why this is happening. If the rest are getting along your differences may be from something in the way that you are relating to them. You may need to change a little to fit in. Think about it! You may find it worth changing a little. - Holly in MO

 

Dear Holly, You are right to suggest changing to fit in with the rest of the family because the rewards are great. Consider also that it may be a matter of respect. We can learn to stand in our own truth and still get other people's respect. For most people being respected is more important than your being just like them. - 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

Failure always gives us the opportunity to try something else. One of the greatest challenges is to learn to accept not achieving our goal. We can learn to look at such disappointments as a signal to re-evaluate our goals and the methods of getting there. We can even look at it as an opportunity to pursue different goals.

 

Our perceptions are not facts. They are mirrors of our thoughts in that we choose what to focus on, and our belief system determines how we interpret the information. We get different interpretations because we have different beliefs. To change our interpretations we must change our beliefs.

 

The important thing to remember is that how we perceive a conversation with a loved one, the behavior of others, or our own personal performance depends on our unique frame of reference. If your perception produces a warm feeling great! But if it is upsetting, it is time to stop and review your perceptions to try to determine why you are upset. If you want your perceptions to deliver different results, you must make some changes. Learn to accept feeling upset as a signal that you are in need of a "perception adjustment."

 

CoCreating 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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