Dove with Branch
April 16, 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 a friend that always criticizes the way I use makeup . I tell her that I don't like to be criticized, but she says "I am just trying to be helpful." I don't think that friends should criticize each other. What do you think? - Cassie in IL

Dear Cassie, I think that you think friends shouldn't criticize each other - and that you look at her giving her opinion of how you look as criticism. If what someone thinks of you is of no value or hurtful to you then you will want to avoid them - or get over it. Many think it is really great to have someone they can trust to give them an honest opinion. If I had a friend who was doing this to be helpful I would appreciate it very much. If what they said upset me, then I would try to examine and change how I feel about it. Friends sometimes bring out our insecurities. If they are doing it in a loving way then we can be thankful. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My daughter-in-law won't invite me to her home or not even take calls from me. I have never seen my grandchildren because she won't allow my son to bring them to my home. My son has chosen to abide by her wishes even though I know it hurts him very much. She won't allow him to call or write. She won't even let me know what I have done to upset her. What can I do to make her let me see my grandchildren? - Gertrude in MO

Dear Gertrude, If she refuses to talk to you and you are unable to talk to your son as well, then gracious acceptance of the situation is probably your best bet in the long run. Perhaps time will change things. Have great compassion for your son and do not make things more difficult for him. For whatever reason, he has chosen to abide by his wife's wishes. It was most likely not an easy choice for him. Try not to add to his suffering by showing your pain to him. Being understanding would be a great gift to him. - the Dean

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Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

Sometimes it pays to step back and look at things with a little broader perspective. We knew we were losing people in hospitals through carelessness. But we never really stopped to reflect on how serious the problem was and what we could do prevent those unnecessary deaths. When we got to the point that we were losing nearly 100,000 people a year we finally paid attention.

We finally decided it was a problem that needed fixing. We created a task force to come up with solutions. We developed new procedures to deal with the most common problems. It has been so successful that we are saving over 80,000 thousand lives a year.

This is a great example of what we can do when we pay attention, and start looking for solutions. Let's celebrate this success by taking on another project. We could spend more effort on several of our major problems such as traffic deaths, drug abuse, or smoking. War seems to be the problem that causes a lot of needless deaths and suffering. Let's pay as much attention to it! Maybe we can start by creating a Department of Peace to search for non-lethal solutions to conflict and even prevention of domestic abuse. We can learn and teach new beliefs that would avoid most of these problems.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Perhaps you're saying to yourself, "He is the one who makes me angry. I need him to change." This attitude is guaranteed to produce anger. If you can't accept your mate, or your colleague, or your child the way he or she is your relationship is not going to be a happy one. This is something that we must do in order to have a rewarding relationship. Choose to let go of every goal where your peace of mind depends on other people changing. Learn to think, "I love you just the way you are."

It is especially hard with our children because we didn't choose them but it is our job to train them. When they turn out to be different from the way we are training them we often have so such emotion invested in the value of our work that we are upset when the results are not as we intended for them to be.

If another person gives us a lot of negative stuff, we always have the option of no longer having that person in our life. Learn to think, "You are entitled to your own goals and way of living." Your choice is whether you want that person in your life or not. Unless they want to be different and ask you for help changing, realize the problem is yours and not theirs.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Realize it is not what other people do, but your opinion about what they do that makes you angry.

Tuesday: Realize that other people act appropriately according to their own beliefs.

Wednesday: Realize that the beliefs you hold are based on your own special upbringing and training.

Thursday: Realize that other people are trying to get along in the world the best way they know how, just as you are.

Friday: Think about the problems your anger causes you.

Saturday: Realize that any time you got angry it was because you chose to.

Sunday: Resolve that when you get angry you will determine the belief that caused your anger and change it.

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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