Dove with Branch
December 22, 2014

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, I have a friend that always criticizes the way I use makeup. I tell her that I don't like to be criticized, but she says "I am just trying to be helpful." I don't think that friends should criticize each other. What do you think? - Sandra in CA

 

Dear Sandra, I think that you think friends shouldn't criticize each other - and that you look at her giving her opinion of how you look as criticism. 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. 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 daughter-in-law won't invite me to her home or not even take calls from me. I have never seen my grandchildren because she won't allow my son to bring them to my home. My son has chosen to abide by her wishes even though I know it hurts him very much. She won't allow him to call or write. She won't even let me know what I have done to upset her. What can I do to make her let me see my grandchildren? - Brit in MN

 

Dear Brit, If she refuses to talk to you and you are unable to talk to your son 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 son and do not make things more difficult for him. For whatever reason, he has chosen to abide by his wife's wishes. It was most likely not an easy choice for him. Try not to add to his suffering by showing your pain to him. Being understanding would be a great gift to him. - 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

Most of us think that many of the things that are being done in our society are wrong, and if they were done differently our life would be better. We think other people are stupid, greedy, thoughtless and uncaring among other things. Most likely they are thinking the very same way we are much of the time. The other side of the coin is that if there are abuses in our society there are people who feel they benefit from those abuses and wish to maintain the status quo. If those who hold positions of power in our government benefit from their positions they are not the ones motivated by the desire to change.

 

If we want to be the ones in power so we can have things our way, then things will end up the same; only reversed. This is the way it works in our political system now. As soon as those in power have abused the system enough the ones not in power gain support, and it then becomes their turn to do the same in their own special way.

 

Until we as a society gain the understanding, integrity, and compassion to look for ways of being and doing that consider the needs and viewpoints of everyone, our system will continue to work as it does now. When we are ready to care about others as much as we care about ourselves and our own families, we will continue to do politics in this way. When we become concerned about the viewpoints and needs of everyone equally, we will create a society that is loving and nurturing for all people.

 

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 aside, 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 two 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 this way - with neither player receiving 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 that way?

 

We can diffuse 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 the angry person the courtesy of politely listening to what they have to say, without interrupting them or retaliating in anger, their anger is reduced.

 

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Pay attention to how you listen when others talk.

 

Tuesday: Learn to think only about what the other person is saying without thinking of how it relates to your life.

 

Wednesday: Learn to answer the other person fully before you relate any story of your own.

 

Thursday: Pay attention to what the other person is feeling when they talk.

 

Friday: Be patient and do not interrupt the other person while they are talking.

 

Saturday: Learn to ask questions that help you understand what the other person is saying and feeling.

 

Sunday: Address the other person's concerns before you raise any of your own.

 

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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