Dove with Branch
July 23, 2012 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Dear Peacemaker,

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, Thank you for another excellent newsletter. About your message "Do you want to be right - or do you want to be happy:" I find that I often get into silly arguments over things my partner is saying wrong simple because they are wrong. It really doesn't matter that they are wrong about many things so I have slowly learned not to argue about things that don't really matter whether they are right or not. You are right it doesn't matter whether we had baked potatoes on Wednesday or Thursday - Brenda in MA

Dear Brenda, Thanks for your comments. When we let go of the unimportant stuff we release a lot of anger production. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My spouse is a very poor cook. I tell her what I want for dinner and she never seems to get it right. What can I do to make her fix things the way they should be cooked? - Ken in CO

Dear Ken, Your wife is not here to be your servant, unless she agreed to fix the meals and just the way you like them before marriage. If you are not satisfied with the meals she prepares you always have the option of fixing them yourself. You most likely would find your meals prepared better if you compliment her, even when they are not. The more you compliment her for her successes the more she will be motivated to cook your meals the way you want them. Besides that, she will be more loving to you as well. When you complain about burnt toast something else is apt to not turn out the way you want. - 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 grow up in our own Society and we are taught pretty clear rules about what is right and what is wrong. We know what we "should expect" from other people, and what they "should expect" from us. When we are growing up, we learn to comply with these rules because others get upset at us and punish us in some way - if only by the way they accept and respond to us. We learn to follow the rules because of the trouble it causes when we don't. We punish others by the way we respond to them when we don't think they are following the rules.

This works fairly well when we live in a homogeneous society where we have all learned the same rules. When we try to apply our rules to others who have different values, we run into problems. When I lived in other countries, I often found that many who visited would become upset because they weren't being treated according to their own rules. "They are wrong; we know the rules and we will correct them!" - was their thinking.

Unfortunately this thinking often carries over to our expectations of what is right or wrong in relationships between countries. We make judgments that they are wrong and must change their behavior. How would you feel if the positions were reversed? We do need some rules about what is right and wrong for all. However they should be created by common agreement, treaty, a world governing body, or some other way we can come to agreement. Dictating how others must act, when we "know" they are wrong only leads to trouble. To live in Peace we must build a path that all societies are willing to walk down.

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 fulfilled.

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 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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