Dove with Branch
February 01, 2010 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 have neighbors and close friends that have a teen son that I have been good friends with since he was a child. I enjoy spending time with him and will even take him to lunch or dinner occasionally. The problem I have is that when we go out and are enjoying each other's company, others take it wrong. They treat me like they think we are having an inappropriate relationship. It makes me uncomfortable. I really enjoy his company but I don't want others to think we are having an affair. How do you suggest I handle this? - Gloria in CA

Dear Gloria, What other people think about you is their business, and is actually none of your business. What they think is their business and you can not or should not try to control that, if you value your own happiness. What you are doing and how you feel about it is your business. If you know you are doing what is right, that should be the end of your concern. We no longer live in a society where our code of conduct and moral behavior is determined by the opinion of others. Happiness and joy come when we learn to act in our own enlightened self-interest instead of an authoritarian idea of what is right and wrong. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My wife complains about the clothes I wear. She is always telling me to wear something different from what I have chosen. I like to wear dark slacks and shirts with bright colors. She doesn't like bright colors and thinks I should wear lighter colored slacks. Should I dress the way he wants? - Buster in ND

Dear Buster, Only if you want to! She would like you to dress differently and it is okay for her to let you know that. You, however, are the one who gets to choose what you wear. What she thinks is a factor you should consider. Ask yourself if you are doing this because it is what you want for yourself taking all things into consideration. - 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

It is natural to want things to be our way. It is also natural for other people to disagree with us when they want things to be a different way. That is just the way the world works. How we respond to this is a matter of choice on our part. Many of us have learned to respond to disagreement by others as a threat to our achieving what we want - in some case even a threat to our very existence. We see a "dog eats dog" world and we have to fight for our survival. As long as we look at the world that way life will always be a struggle and war will always exist.

We don't need to give up acting in our own self-interest to find a better solution to this dilemma. All we need to do is realize that it is in our own best interest to find a peaceful resolution to the conflicts arising in our life and then act in such a way that the other party(s) involved will be able to come to the same realization.

Nonviolent conflict resolution is something we started formally when we created the legal system. Our legal system has served us well in solving our differences within our own community. If we expand our idea of our own community to include the whole world we can develop a system of conflict resolution that will allow us to resolve our differences in a positive and non-threatening way. Once we do this, winning through force will no longer be the most effective conflict resolution tool - and we will be able to resolve our differences peacefully.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Most of us want to be true to our own belief systems. We want to respond the way we believe we should, rather than how we feel at the moment. Learn to follow your positive impulses in responding to situations. If you try to respond in the way you think others want you to respond, you will find it more difficult to feel good about yourself.

You probably grew up learning how to respond the way your parents and teachers told you that you should respond. You have learned those lessons from others, but you are an adult now. Now is the time to look at the way you are responding to the requests of others and make sure that you are responding the way you want to respond, not just the way you were taught. If you often don't like how you feel about what you are doing or saying, pay attention and try to determine why that is happening. Determine what changes you can make in your responses so that you will no longer be feeling negative about the actions you take. < p align="justify">

You can learn to be in control and choose the behavior you desire. If you whine about something, remember that you have chosen that behavior. Work at seeing how self- defeating it is to whine about things. Keep looking for the times you complain about things. Refuse to accept that behavior from yourself. Change your complaining attitude to one of observing and evaluating what is going on. The thing you change by complaining is how you feel, and how others feel about you. When you complain you make yourself feel bad. You also make everyone else feel bad. Also, you will generally get a less positive response from others when you complain.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I listen to peaceful music.

Tuesday: Today I sit in a peaceful environment.

Wednesday: Today I reclaim my inner peace.

Thursday: Today I share my commitment to peace.

Friday: Today I delight in being me.

Saturday: Today I visualize world peace.

Sunday: Today I commit to resolve differences peacefully.

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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