Dove with Branch
August 21, 2006 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I like to wear colorful clothing to work. Many of the others at my place of work make fun of me and say that I must not be a serious kind of person, or I wouldn’t wear that kind of clothing. I enjoy the clothes, but I am upset by the criticism what should I do? - Merry Mary

Dear Merry, You have choices. You can wear more subdued clothing, or you can learn not to be disturbed by their comments. You can even find another job. The answer that my be the best in the long run, but may seem the most difficult at first is to not be upset by their comments. This is something you can learn to do that may pay great rewards in other areas of your life as well. We are happier when we are controlled by our own thinking, instead of the opinion of others. Trust yourself. Love yourself. Allow others to express opinions different than your own without being disturbed by them. – the Dean

Dear Dean, When my husband tells me what he thinks should be done, I often get very upset at him. I know he is trying to be helpful, but I can solve my own problems thank you very much. He still keeps on doing this even though he knows it upsets me. I have told him I just want him to listen without giving advice, but he still does. How can I get him to stop? - Helen in Seattle

Dear Helen, If you don’t want his help and are upset when he tries to offer it, why do you keep telling him the problems? It might be more effective for you if you would let him offer advice, and then either use it or reject it as you see fit. Not seeking or listening to outside advice only reduces our effectiveness in dealing with a problem. It would be helpful if he would listen without giving advice, but that is his problem. Try not to make it yours. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

We are a compassionate people and when families were no longer able or willing to take care of their non-productive members we created a welfare system to provide for them. This cared for the needy but it also created a problem that people would become needy just because it was more attractive to rely on the help of the state than it was to provide for themselves.

About ten years ago we changed our policy on welfare. We said that welfare was temporary. That people needed to find work. And that we would help them, including training, if necessary. We found many with emotional and/or physical problems and many with lack of educational or job training skills.

Now many are saying the program is failing because so many are just not capable of work. The answer, I believe, is to deal with the underlying problems and prepare them for work. Educational shortcomings can be remedied. We are doing that, but we need to do more. Emotional and addiction problems can be repaired. When we just give up and provide for their subsistence we are just continuing to let them suffer needlessly. If we truly care about others we will put more effort into increasing their quality of life and not be content to just give them enough to be able to survive.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Be your own person and honor the rights of others to be their own person. If you think that the world, or some other person owes you something, then you have set yourself up for anger when things that you think should happen don’t. When we learn not to expect from others, we all end up being happier, and more fulfilled.

Furthermore, the expectations of others are going to be different than our own, and to assume that they are the same will only cause problems. We create conflict for ourselves all the time by assuming that others expect what we expect. This is especially obvious in marriage. We often marry someone expecting that they will act according to society’s accepted rules for marriage partners, or the same way our parents did, or that our marriage will resemble that of our parents in some general way.

But we have no right to expect that someone live up to our expectations unless they agree to. Just because they marry us doesn’t mean that our partner has agreed to do the cooking and the cleaning, or to be the breadwinner. Anything you consider important in your marriage should be agreed to ahead of time. Remember that the customary ways that things are done in this society are just general rules, and are only relevant to those who accept them. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking someone should be a certain way just because most others are.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the things you do just to make others happy.

Tuesday: Think about doing or not doing those things in a way that makes everyone happy.

Wednesday: Think about the things that you expect others to do your way.

Thursday: Accept that others are free to do or not as they choose.

Friday: When you have a difference of opinion with someone, ask them about their expectations.

Saturday: Talk with your partner and/or friends about their expectations of you.

Sunday: Release others from the expectations you have of them.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

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.

My Phone Seminar for this week is: What do you expect? (is what you get)

Learn how we control our lives by our expectations of what we want, and what we think will happen. Learn how to develop responses that will allow you to find the best solution in any situation.

You can schedule a phone seminar for the days offered. You can schedule them at your convenience for any day Monday through Thursday between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM Pacific Time by calling 800-359-6015 or e-mailing at least 24 hours in advance to arrange a scheduled time.

The price is $15.00 for a one hour seminar. If you subscribe to my free newsletter “Insights from the Dean of Peace” you are entitled to two free phone seminars to use at your convenience.

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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


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Dean Of Peace | P.O. Box 535 | Elmira | OR | 97437