Dove with Branch
July 27, 2009 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, I find my work to be very unpleasant. The biggest problem is that the manager never thinks my work is good enough for her. Whatever I do is never good enough for her. How can I get her to stop criticizing my work? - Rhonda in WA

Dear Rhonda, Your manager's answer would be to make it absolutely perfect by her standard. It is obvious that her standard would be impossible to achieve. What she wants is to get better results by motivating you through fear, and it is not working for her. Your reaction to her has the results of reducing your effectiveness. You are upset by her criticism because you choose to view it that way. You can choose to view her criticism as just her way and not be upset by it, or you can choose to find other work - among your options. Realize that it is not the ways she is but it is the way you are reacting that is the problem and find a solution that will work for you. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My father does not respect me. Whatever I do is never good enough for him. Even when I follow his advice he is never satisfied. Whatever I do or say I am asked to do better. He has never said I did a good job even one time. I have spoken to him and my mother about this, but it doesn't change even though they know how I feel. - Carl in MO

Dear Carl, If your father didn't respect you he wouldn't be taking so much effort to "improve" you. He is doing it in the best way he knows how. Find a way to gently let your father know it isn't working. Let him know you want to create a good life for yourself and that it would be more effective for you if he could learn to give you advice in a more positive way. Let him know you love him and thank him for trying to help you. - 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 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

Challenge the shoulds, oughts, musts and have-tos in your life. If you feel that you have to do something that you really don't want to do, you are sure to get angry. If you think it is really the right thing to do, then just accept it and do it. If you think it might not be what you want to do, then think it through clearly, make a choice and accept your choice. If you are still troubled by this problem, or by your decision then realize that you have conflicting beliefs.

You would not feel stressed by your choice of how to deal with an event if you were totally in agreement with your own decision. Take feeling stressed as a signal that you have to look at your belief system in order to either eliminate some belief, or to align it somehow with your other existing beliefs. We have all been from time to time, the victim of our own conflicting belief system. Don't let this kind of event pass by any more. Do the work to align your beliefs. Until you do, you will continue to be stressed when similar events occur.

It is self-defeating not to like the action you have chosen. This is the time to remember that you, and only you, are in control of your life. Once you make a choice, work to make it the right choice. If you find that it is not the right choice, then change to a new and better choice.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the things you feel you must do even though you don't want to do them.

Tuesday: Choose a new way to respond or to accept your present response as the correct one.

Wednesday: Think about the things you feel you should do even though you don't want to do them.

Thursday: Choose a new way to respond or to accept you present response as the correct one.

Friday: Think about the things that you must do each day that upset you.

Saturday: Choose a new way to respond or to accept you present response as the correct one.

Sunday: Resolve that any time you feel stressed, to make a new choice that is perfectly right for you.

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

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 will be conducting workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops will 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."

I have taken on the task of supporting the teaching of emotional skills training in the educational system with the trust and hope, that many in your community will be able to share in the vision of this great work, and join us in this amazing project. We are promoting a "Sponsor a School" program to raise awareness and support throughout the U.S. & Canada If you have any interest in the program and/or having a workshop in your area. Contact me for additional information.

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