Dove with Branch
October 04, 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, My work is very unpleasant. My boss is always criticizing me. He is always criticizing my work. My work is never good enough for him. How can I get him to stop criticizing my work? - Harold in WA

Dear Harold, His answer would be to make it absolutely perfect by his standard. But that solution would be impossible to achieve. What he wants is to get better results by motivating you through fear, and it is not working for him. Your reaction to him has the results of reducing your effectiveness. You are upset by his criticism because you choose to view it as unacceptable. You can choose to look at him as trying to be the old style football coach and view criticism as funny, or you can choose to find other work - among other options. Realize that it is not the way he is but it is the way you are reacting that is the problem and find a solution that will work for you. One thing to consider is telling him you want to do good work and ask him if he would be able to explain his needs in a way that you can understand them better. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I can never satisfy my father. I can never do anything good enough for him. Even when I follow his advice he still expects more. Whatever I do or say I am asked to do better. He thinks I must always strive for perfection. I can't remember him ever being satisfied with what I do even one time. I have spoken to both him and my mother about this, but it doesn't change even though they know how I feel. - Ron in SC

Dear Ron, If your father hated you he wouldn't be taking the effort to "improve" you. He is doing what he thinks is right in the best way he knows how. Find a way to gently let him know that what he is trying to do won't work. Let him know you want to create a good life for yourself and that it would be more helpful to you if he could learn to give you advice in a more positive way. Let him know you love him, thank him for trying to help, and suggest that maybe the two of you could find a way to make this work better. - 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

We have developed a way of thinking in our society which I refer to as partisanship. This means that we choose up sides, and then do our thinking on the premise that whatever supports our side is what is right. When we make the decision of which side we are going to support we tend to give up our own independent thinking and accept the thinking of the group as our own. We no longer trust our self enough to do our own thinking. We agree because belonging seems important to us.

This also means we resist whatever the other side says. We no longer try to understand their position. We no longer seek compromise. We feel we must prevail because we are right, and they are wrong. It is like being elated when our team wins the World Series - and depressed when they don't. We forget it is just a friendly game. We support it with our emotional life.

If we are aware we have this tendency, then we can pay attention and catch ourselves when we have this feeling. We are not going to be able to live well together, unless we are as caring and friendly with the fans of the opposing team just as we are with our own fans. Give up the idea that the other team - the other fans - the other country - the other religion - the other society, are the bad guys. Give up the idea that life is a game that you must win. This idea makes half the world losers who will be out there to beat you the next time.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Satisfying and positive relationships result from our mutual caring about and assisting each other, not from obligation. While others have no obligation to meet our needs, they often find that they benefit from doing so. When we help others, we often get much more in return. Being of service to others will provide much happiness. It will also remove many of the potential negative emotion producing situations from our life.

Too often we end up manipulating others to do things our way, without even realizing it. This creates negative feelings because it is not what they want to do and they will therefore resist us. And this resistance will cause us both to be upset. This takes energy that could better be used in more constructive ways. Learn not to impose your own expectations on others. Learn not to expect from others. Learn to be your own person and learn to 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 negative feelings whenever the things you think should happen don't happen. When you learn not to expect from others both they and you will end up being happier and more fulfill ed.

Furthermore, the expectations of others are going to be different than yours, and when you assume they are going to be, or think they should be, the same as yours you cause yourself problems. We create conflict for ourselves all the time by assuming that others expect what we expect.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I recognize that others are not obligated to do things the way I would like them done.

Tuesday: I do not expect others to do things my way.

Wednesday: I appreciate it when others do things even if it isn't just the way I would like.

Thursday: I will refrain from manipulating others to do things my way.

Friday: I do not expect others to do things just the way I would like them done.

Saturday: It is okay for others to do things differently than I do. .

Sunday: I honor the opinions of others just as I honor my own opinions.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of Life Without Anger 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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