One of my clients brought this poem to our session a few months ago.  As I read it,  so much rang true in the scheme of real life and real people.  When I work with couples, I have them practice these skills.  One talks, the other listens, then I ask them to repeat what the other said.  Often, so much is misinterpreted or missed.  Listening is a skill unto itself.  It is its own tunnel of communication between two people, and when one truly tunes in to the other breakthroughs and healing take place.  It’s miraculous to watch paths unfold as one feels supported and HEARD by the other.  There are many bumps in the road but the direction clears as one works through their challenges in life.  There is a saying, “Don’t just stand there, do something!”  Well,  there’s also a reverse to that saying, “Don’t just do something, stand there!”  Just BE with someone you care about.  Allow them to feel your presence, not your preaching.  They will come to terms with their life lessons.  Give them love, allow them to fall, and reach out your hand when they ask for a lift to their feet.


When I ask you to listen to me

and you start giving advice

you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me

and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,

you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me

and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem,

you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen!  All I asked was that you listen,

not talk or do – just hear me.

Advice is cheap: 10 cents will get you both Dear Abbey and

Billy Graham in the same newspaper.

And I can do for myself, I’m not helpless.

Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,

you contribute to my fear and weakness.

But, when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel,

no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince

you and can get about the business of understanding what’s

behind this irrational feeling.

And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I

don’t need advice.

Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what’s

behind them.

Perhaps that’s why prayer works, sometimes, for some people

because God is mute, and He doesn’t give advice or

try to fix things.  “They” just listen and let you

work it out for yourself.

So, please listen and just hear me.  And, if you want to talk,

wait a minute for your turn, and I’ll listen to you.   ~Author Unknown


5 thoughts on “Listen

  1. I listen…….I listen……..and I listen, and sometimes I listen again to myself trying to slow everything down……listening helps me be at peace.

  2. This is beautiful Cindy!

    I love the opposite analogy of “Don’t just do something, stand there.”! That is Perfect!

    Really ‘listening’ to someone when they speak is to feel all there pain or confusion without judgement or control. And to send them love sliently during their upsets.

    God ALWAYS listens and is the Best kind of listener as He lets you find your peace all on your own with his loving heart!

  3. The poem and your reflection on are both beautifully stated. As wise council the poem has stood the test of time as 10 cents will not get you Dear Abby and Billy Graham anymore. I especially like how you pointed out the converse of…don’t just stand there…do something. Wasn’t familiar with it. An eye opener Cindy.

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