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It’s hard, just to listen

Please Listen

When I ask you to listen to me

and you start giving me 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 ask is that you listen.

Don’t talk or do—just hear me.

Advice is cheap; 20 cents will get

you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham

in the same newspaper.

And I can do for myself; I am 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

inadequacy.

But when you accept as a simple fact

that I feel what I feel,

no matter how irrational,

then I can stop trying to convince

you and get about this 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.

God just listens and lets 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 will listen to you.

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Published in POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY, WELLBEING & POETRY

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