Dove with Branch
May 14, 2007 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 read the email from Michelle about her relationship with an unresponsive spouse. I think your answers were on target. Michelle - I would add from my own experience that being explicit about what your needs are is a good start, but only the beginning. As I do not know your situation I am only offering what I learned. When I began giving my husband compliments (positive reinforcement) about the things he did well with love in my heart, voice and thoughts he began to open up- a LITTLE at a time. The more positive you are, a thank you for taking out trash or for working hard for the family, the more you should experience change, in yourself and for your relationship with your husband. I wish you only the best! – Kay

Dear Kay, Well said! I love to hear from someone who has discovered how well this works? I might add that you can never show or tell them too much; how much you love and appreciate them. The more loved they are the more loving they are. – the Dean

Dear Dean, I have a similar problem to Michelle’s. My husband just does not seem interested in his family. He comes home from work depressed and he doesn’t want to do anything except look at the TV and complain about the evening news. A couple of beers and he falls asleep. On the weekend he goes hunting or fishing with his friends. How can I make him want to be a part of the family and do things with us? – Connie

Dear Connie, You can’t make him do anything. We all have the right to do what we want. There are things you can do so that he will want to be part of the family. Start by being loving, and supportive of his choices. Find a way to bring him back to family concerns by making them positive and interesting to him. He is coming home depressed. If you can’t help him out of that then consider professional help. It is difficult for someone who is depressed to be interested in others. Administer all the love and tender loving care that he is open to receive. – 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

As individuals we always make choices according to our beliefs. If we believe that the world is a dangerous place, and that everyone is out to get us, then we act accordingly. And the world will respond accordingly. Things will always end up being the way we think they are - just because we think they are that way. When we don’t believe that we can have the things we want, then we won’t have them. When we think this way we create for ourselves an un-enjoyable life.

Most of us want to have peace in our life, and in the world as well. The problem is we see a world where others want to take advantage of us or rule over us. They see the world in the same way. As a result we end up distrusting the motives of others and believe we have to defend ourselves from them. Most people want to be loved but don’t act loving! All we have to do to have a peaceful world is to believe and act as if that is what everyone wants.

When someone does a bad thing to another, what we really want is that they never do such a thing again. If we search together for a new way of responding we can solve this problem. When we believe that they must be punished for their act; and respond accordingly; they take it as an act of aggression, and vow to continue the fight. When they learn to trust our peaceful motives they will respond with trust and we can then solve our differences in a loving way.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We feel upset when we don’t deal with unfinished business from the past. As we continue to hold onto our anger, our unforgiving thoughts become the cause of our suffering, and we continue to hurt. The only remedy for this pain and resentment is forgiveness. We can be free of suffering by letting go of the past. Becoming a happy person is really not possible until you free yourself from your anger and forgive.

If you find yourself fearful that what has happened in the past will happen in the future, try taking the opposite attitude – that things will be better now that you have learned the lesson inspired by the negative experience. Which attitude is the most productive- holding onto anger and being miserable, or practicing forgiveness and learning from the experience? Why not consider the person who “wronged you" as a teacher? If you look upon them as a teacher of one of life’s lessons, it will be much easier to forgive them. Be thankful for the lesson. View the situation from the perspective of how you dealt with it rather than what was done to you.

To decide not to forgive is to decide to suffer. By shifting your perspective and refusing to blame others, or to carry any resentment, you open yourself to a happier existence. Forgiveness is letting go of all hope that we can somehow fix the past. We have all been hurt by the actions of others. It is always easy to justify your anger, but even with the strongest of justifications, you will never be happy if you hold onto the anger. The anger will have won out, and you will have lost, no matter how strong your “case.”

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the people that you have not forgiven for something they have done.

Tuesday: Find a new way of thinking about them that forgives the past behavior.

Wednesday: Think about all of the things that have happened in the world that you are angry about.

Thursday: Find a new way of thinking about them that releases your anger.

Friday: Think about the things you have done that you have not forgiven yourself for.

Saturday: Resolve to look at your past mistakes as lessons and release them being thankful for the lessons.

Sunday: Choose to always forgive others and yourself for any poor choices that they or you make.

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

My Phone Seminar for this week is: Learning to love Yourself

We have all been taught that we should do certain things and when we fail then we are bad. Learn that we are not here to follow the rules. Learn how to maximize this existence and to enjoy your life. We cannot enjoy life unless we love ourselves.

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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