Dove with Branch
May 26, 2014

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, Marie and I plan to be married in December and we want a simple wedding at the courthouse with just our families. My mother is okay with this, but Jackie's mother is not. She thinks we must have a large wedding and elaborate reception. She says that the family's social status is important and not to worry because she will pay for everything. Neither Jackie nor I want to do this. What do you suggest? - Neal in CO

 

Dear Neal, It is good to consider the feelings of others in your family, but you are entitled to make the decisions. Turning it over to your mother-in-law could be a great gift if you were happy with her plans. Be sure you have considered the benefits of letting her do it. If you do not find them attractive, then you and Jackie should politely and firmly decline her offer. The two of you need to reach agreement on your course of action and follow it. You are free to choose a social life different from your parents. - the Dean

 

Dear Dean, I give my grandchildren gifts for their birthday and Christmas and never receive any kind of thank you. I am disgusted with their behavior. How can I get my son and daughter-in-law to teach their children to at least say thank you? - Leslie in MI

 

Dear Leslie, You can't and you shouldn't. When we give someone a gift that means that it is given without condition. If we expect something in return, even if it is only a thank you, we have not given a gift since we are expecting some form of payment in return. It is customary in our society to acknowledge and give thanks for gifts and if you want to give them something on that condition you may certainly do so. Consider that they are not thanking you for the gifts simply because they have not learned the concept of doing so. If you want them to learn this concept a pleasant word pointing out the value of acknowledging gifts would be appropriate. Not feeling loving toward your children because they have not learned the concept seems a very high price to pay. - 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

One of the problems I see is that we continually buy into our own solutions to problems. We see a problem - run it through our belief system - collect the facts we think we need to make a decision and then go with it. The problem is that once we have made the decision we tend to accept it in our minds as the only "right answer." We put all of our efforts into implementing it, and into defending it whenever it is questioned by others. We often make ineffective decisions simply because we haven't considered all the facts; or because things don't work the way we think they will.

 

What if we made the solutions we decide on only tentative? What if the final test was always, "how is this working?" When we give up the emotional attachment to our belief that we know what the right answer is we focus on finding the best answer. Let's trade the need for the feeling that we are doing the right thing for the need to find the best solution.

 

This will produce better results for us and others around us. It will greatly reduce the emotional conflict in our life. It can also produce a great sense of satisfaction to know that we are always open to finding the best answer, and that we have always given it our best. A sense of knowing we have the "right" answer often leads to stress because of the perceived need to defend our answer. A sense of knowing we are searching for the best answer leads to reduction of stress because are no longer resisting alternatives.

 

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We know our opinions stem from our thoughts, not from external truth. So, perhaps we shouldn't go to battle over our truths as we so often do. Although deeply held, your truths are not necessarily those of others. When you come to terms with this reality and place feeling good above the need to be right, you'll be taking a giant step toward eradicating the angry conflicts in your life.

 

The need to be right is also the need to prevail. We live in a competitive society, and we like to be winners. Part of being right is winning the conflict. Realize this, and know that your desire to be right is your ego trying to win another contest. Reframe your thinking to accept the idea that we are all in this together. Expect that others will think differently and that their perception of events will not be the same as yours. Accept their differences with joy. If we were all the same it would be like living in "Pleasantville," the movie about life in the suburbs where everything is the same - dull, and colorless.

 

So how might you change your way of looking at things to take into consideration someone else's perceptions - and to wind up with a more harmonious result? Imagine someone using a cell phone in a restaurant where you are having dinner. They are chatting away somewhat loudly and this upsets you because you think they are making too much noise and being rude. But what if you came up with a new way of looking at the same situation - forced yourself, in other words, to perceive this unpleasant situation in a new, more pleasant light. That light might look something like this. "I'm going to imagine that this cell phone person is simply having a conversation with a real live dinner guest, and he is speaking as loudly as he is in fact speaking on the phone. I wouldn't be disturbed by the live conversation scenario - so why should I be disturbed by the cell phone exchange?" In this example by changing our perception of the event, we have succeeded in changing our response to it - from angry to accepting.

 

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I listen to peaceful music.

 

Tuesday: Today I release stress.

 

Wednesday: Today I speak in a calm and loving tone of voice.

 

Thursday: Today I praise someone for their efforts.

 

Friday: Today I use words that lift and inspire me.

 

Saturday: Today I speak my truth, honestly and from the heart.

 

Sunday: Today I commit an act of kindness toward our planet.

 

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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Contact Information

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