Dove with Branch
December 8, 2014

Insights From

the Dean of Peace

Notes from the Dean's Desk
Dear Peacemaker,

This weekly newsletter is available free by subscription. All copies are available on my website.


If you enjoy this newsletter and know someone who you think may enjoy it as well, please feel free to share it with them.

Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, My friend is always having problems in his life and I always try to help him. He thinks life never treats him fair. He frequently asks for help and I do even though I am getting tired of it. The problem is that no matter how hard I try he doesn't appreciate it. He asks for my advice, never follows it, and then he blames me when it doesn't work out. This upsets me. How can I get him to appreciate what I do for him? - Dick in MN


Dear Dick, You probably can't. You can however learn not to expect or require his appreciation. You can learn to look at your advice as given with love and without "strings of appreciation" attached. If this doesn't work for you, and you want to retain him as a friend, try telling him that you have no more advice to give, or that it is given only when appreciated. If you still feel a need to help, and to be appreciated, it might pay to find a different friend. Friendship should be based on love, and without stress. - the Dean


Dear Dean, I am in a situation that puts me in between those I dearly love. One member of this particular household where I spend a fair amount of time uses a lot of sarcasm to express anger. I grew up in a home where I hardly knew what sarcasm was and I was told a number of times by my mother that she and dad had an agreement not to argue in front of us children. My parents were very respectful of each other ...however I did not have the experience of seeing them work out differences. Looking back I remember being somewhat frightened when I began school and saw angry behavior and experienced teasing and sarcasm, even sometimes from my teachers. In the current situation I would like to speak up but I am not sure how to approach the situation described above since I am not a full time member of this household where there is often an undercurrent of defensiveness and sarcasm. This dynamic is particularly hard to be around. I would love your insight. - Be in OR


Dear Be, It sounds like this is not something you willing to walk away from as a solution and where you kind advice is not solicited and perhaps not even accepted. You are going to have to 1. work on yourself and 2. find more creative ways to change the dynamics. I see you setting yourself up as a victim of your past. It would be helpful to create a desire to change how you view this and be confident that you can and then picture what that change would be and work on it. Being an example of how you deal with things with the others of course is helpful. Try to find non-confrontational ways to engage in mutual problem solving to present ideas to the others and only present them as things to think about or discuss. Always stay "in love" and honestly caring and open to help in any way you see to be helpful and always being aware not to push against resistance. - 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

Peace can only come from within the individual. Peace cannot be imposed on people. No matter how enlightened some concept or philosophy may seem if it is not embraced by most individuals it will not create peace. It is the nature of humans to resist the things they do not understand or accept. If a concept is not accepted by society then that concept will not survive peacefully because we humans will continue to resist what we do not accept of our own free will. Thus the great revolutions we see in our history.


However true this is, it remains the nature of mankind to seek peace. To humans, love feels good, and fear and anger feel bad. We grew up in a world where the strong have dominated the weak. In our early society, before we had laws, strength; either individually, or that of the community or nation was the way we survived. Tribes banded together for their survival. Other tribes who were more aggressive banded together to provide for themselves by taking from the weaker and less aggressive tribes.


As our society evolved we saw that great power as well as wealth was to be desired. However, as we evolved intellectually we came to realize that those in power tended to look out for their own self-interests rather than those of the group. As people became more aware they refused to accept the leader of power. As the people became strong enough they began to overthrow their abusive leadership and replace it with leadership whose power is derived from the consent of the governed. That process is still going on today in many parts of the world. It is still being perfected and improved everywhere it exists as the people grow more in awareness. Gradually those governments who want to take power over their own, or other people, by force are finding it more difficult to do so.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

It is good to be attached to our positive goals. This attachment is part of the power that helps us attain those goals. Such attachment, however, should be limited to continued focus on seeking your goal in a positive way. If your goal (or your pursuit of it) is no longer positive then shift it back to being positive. If you can't, then release it. Seeking a goal that is no longer positive - or seeking it in a manner that is no longer positive - produces negativity in our lives.


It is never good to be attached to our negative or hindering goals. As with our positive goals, our attachment creates the power to attain them. One of the skills we need to learn is to let go of those things that produce negativity in our lives.


Review your goals in all areas of your life and identify those that are upsetting you. Just like a smoker who would like to quit, we hang on to things that we think we just must have in our life, even though we know they are hurting us. Try to figure out why you are pursuing your negative goals so that you will gain new insight about your own motivation, and therefore be able to let go.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Review all of the goals in your life relating to the personal aspects of your self. Make a positive list and a negative list.


Tuesday: Review each item on the negative list and see why you still want to keep it.


Wednesday: Review all goals in your life relating to how you are with others. Make a positive list and a negative list.


Thursday: Review each item on the negative list and see why you still want to keep it.


Friday: Review all goals in your life relating to your work. Make a positive list and a negative list.


Saturday: Review each item on the negative list and see why you still want to keep it.


Sunday: Release all those negative goals you no longer desire to keep in your life.


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."


If you are a charitable or religious organization and would like to reprint any of my articles please contact me for permission, which will be cheerfully granted.


If you know someone who might be interested in using any, or all of my regular newspaper columns please pass this information on to them. Or send me their e-mail address, or telephone number, and I will be happy to send them the information.


Past issues of this newsletter are archived on my website.


I welcome your suggestion or comments. If you have a question that you would like addressed in the Ask the Dean? column feel free to send them to

If you wish to no longer receive this newsletter please send a reply which includes "unsubscribe" and the existing subject line in the reply.

The subject line and the address to which it was sent must be included.


Contact Information

phone: 800-359-6015 fax:541-935-9361
Join our mailing list!