Dove with Branch
April 09, 2012 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 been reading your newsletter for some time. I don't understand when you say we should trust someone when those close to you are always taking advantage of you. How can I be trusting of those who have hurt me? I try but they just take advantage of me. I am so tired of trying to forgive them even though they will never acknowledge how much they have hurt me. I just don't think trust is even possible. - Eldon in CA

Dear Eldon, Start by trusting in your Higher Power. Then trust in your own ability to deal with the problems that life presents you. Change the problem in your mind, from how people are treating you, to what is the best way to react in this situation. Realize that other people can't hurt you inside unless you let them. We want love and the only way we can get it is by giving it. So trust others and if they return the trust - wonderful! But don't require them to be trustworthy in return. They can't hurt you unless you expect something from them that they are unwilling to give. When we fail to offer trust we have eliminated the possibility of finding a positive solution. We must forgive for our own well being. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My brother has nicknamed his son "bone head." I think this is a terrible thing to do, and I have told him so. He tells me that it is none of my business. I tell him that Bill will feel inferior because this name will create a picture that he is a stupid kid. Kids have enough problems without their parents making it intentionally worse for them. My brother thinks it's funny. What can I tell my brother so he will realize that he is making things more difficult for his kid? - Marcia in FL

Dear Marcia, The nickname is not bad because you think it is bad. It is only bad if the child thinks it is bad. If he feels ashamed or depreciated by it then it shouldn't be used because he will believe it is true, or that others are mean to him. If he likes it, or really appreciates the humor, then it can be okay. Most children do not have sufficient self-esteem to see it as positive or funny. If your nephew is one of those lucky children then okay. But if he is not - and I expect he is not - then pass this answer on to him to consider. Your brother may well be abusing his child just for his own humor. - 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 freedom of speech in this country and that is a wonderful thing. What we don't have is an acceptance of free speech. We certainly have the right to not accept what the other person has said, and to let them know that we disagree with them. We seem to do this often and vigorously.

The problem we have is that emotionally we often don't tolerate well the right of others to exercise this right. When someone says something we don't like we often get insulted and tell them they are wrong for talking that way. We look at things as insulting and inappropriate when someone has an honest opinion that disagrees with our own. We think they shouldn't be saying that. This is pretty much the same as thinking "they are not free to exercise their rights in a way I, or others find objectionable."

We don't need to get into judgment and a battle of the wills simply because someone disagrees with us. We will be more effective in our own life, and for our society, if we simply look for the truth in what the other person is saying and respond only with our own truth in a positive way. Just because you disagree with someone is no reason to feel that they are an enemy in some way. We have given them the right to speak their mind. Our society will interrelate more effective if we truly honor that right.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We can accept disagreement without being disagreeable in return. We don't have to require that we be treated well. We can accept the way other people treat us, in the sense that we don't get upset about it. We can assert our boundaries and refuse to accept the other person's position, without getting angry or upset. If we believe in our self and our own truths, then we can let the other person have their own truths, and just refuse to be affected by them.

Do we want to be happy, or do we want to be right? Whenever we are attached to being right, we are convinced the other person is wrong and we are right. As long as we cannot accept the idea that maybe they are also right, or at least realize that it just doesn't matter, we can't be free of our negative emotions or experience happiness and peace of mind. The more we accept the other person's reality as being authentic, the less upset we become.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Realize that it is not necessary to be offended when others disagree with you.

Tuesday: Realize that it is not necessary that other people accept your beliefs as true.

Wednesday: Accept and expect that others have truths that are different from your own.

Thursday: Do not get upset when others refuse to accept your truths.

Friday: Do not insist that others should believe as you do.

Saturday: Do not insist that others do things your way.

Sunday: Resolve to accept that the beliefs of others are appropriate for them.

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 conduct workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops 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."

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