please, just 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 asked was that you listen,
not to talk, or do… just hear.
advice is cheap; twenty-five cents will get you both
dear abby and billy graham in the same newspaper,
and i can do that 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 inadequacy
but when you accept, as a simple fact, that i do feel
no matter how irrational, then i can quit trying to
convince you and 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 makes sense when we
understand what’s behind them.
please listen and just hear me, and if you want to talk wait
a minute for your turn, and i’ll listen to you.

written by ray houghton, m.d.