Dove with Branch
June 16, 2008 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, We are born the way we are. We can't help it because we are short or tall, dark or light skinned. It is just the way we are born. Other people will sometimes look down on us because they think we are inferior or just different. They have learned that it is great sport to make fun of us. If we allow this to happen because we feel insecure about ourselves then we really take the fun out of life. Once you realize you are okay just the way you are you can learn to let other people talk that way without letting it bother you. - Rita in IL

Dear Rita, Right on! Some people get power over other people by picking on them. The truth of the matter is we are all equal, but don't really believe we are because our parents and the world have taught us to believe we are superior/deficient in some way. If we respond by being upset they have accomplished their purpose. Just recognize the truth that they have the right to say what they want and you have the right not to be upset by it. - the Dean

Dear Dean, We live in a society where people "rise to the top" by stepping on other people. They think it is a "dog eat dog world" so they put us down just so they will feel better. We can't let them step on us we need to fight back. If we don't, they win and we lose. - Richard in DC

Dear Richard, If we are going to operate by the same rules they do, then you are right. Under their rules the tough guy wins the game. But if you are going to enjoy life then it is not a good game to play because it is stressful and no matter how good you are, sometimes you lose. Better to play the game of life based on love and you will attract the people and the experiences to you that will make life wonderful. Ask yourself: "Do I want to enjoy this life or do I want to acquire power and possessions?" You will be surprised how much true personal power and happiness you achieve through love - 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 think of the legal system as a way of solving differences. We are reaching the point where not just a trial, but a complete exhaustion of the legal process is required. We have developed a social attitude that we are successful only when we win. Our thinking is that we must do all we can to win, regardless of the cost in time and money. If losing is not an acceptable option how can we create a peaceful society?

If instead we viewed going to court as a failure, a failure to be able to resolve our issues, then we would approach the problem differently. We would make every effort to solve our differences ourselves; and then use mediation or arbitration for resolution when necessary. Society would be much more efficient and enjoyable if we were more willing to resolve our differences instead of battling to the end.

Unfortunately this same thing is going on in international politics. We look at war much the same way we do as going to court in the legal system. We look at war as a way to resolve our differences; instead of as a failure to resolve them. We use war and the threat of war as a tool of diplomacy and an acceptable way to achieve our goals. If we viewed war as representing a total failure to solve our differences we would find less need to go to war.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Most often the anger directed toward us is due to the other person having different expectations than our own. They are operating under the assumption that we will act toward them in a certain way; and when we don't, their anger is triggered. They may have very different beliefs and be totally unaware of our point of view or motivation; or they simply may be very different from us in many ways.

In dealing with another person's emotions, it is important to be aware of the fact that the other person wants something to come out of their relationship with you. The key is to understand their expectations, and to help them understand yours.

Such mutual understanding is brought about by meaningful communication. Rather than expecting the other person to feel the same way as you do about the situation that has made them upset, make a real effort to find out how they are thinking about something. In order to get a good understanding of what's driving their upset, so that you can ultimately diffuse it, you need to hone your listening and communication skills. 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.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I explain the meaning of my thoughts carefully. I do not assume others will understand my meaning.

Tuesday: I pay attention to see that others have understood the meaning of what I say.

Wednesday: When I think others may have misunderstood what I have said I check with them.

Thursday: When I am uncertain if others understand my meaning I ask.

Friday: When others do not understand what I say I do not get upset.

Saturday: When I have spoken to another, I ask them if they have heard my words and have any questions.

Sunday: When anyone tells me something, I summarize back what I think they said to check for accuracy.

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

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