Mind, Body & Spirit 
Index    Pages 2 3  

Versions of this poem abound on the web, all possibly based on one by Dr. Ray Houghton in his book, "From Stepping Stones to Grief Recovery".   Jackie Metcalf sent me this one on how to listen to a friend, troubled or in trouble:

Listening As Healing

When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice
You have not done what I ask.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way
You are telling me to deny my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems,
You have failed me, strange as it may seem.

Listen- all I ask is that you listen-
not talk or do- just hear me-
You're trying to cure me not hear me.

The giving of advice can never take
the place of giving of yourself.
I'm not helpless or hopeless....

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 it may seem to you, 
then I quit trying to convince you 
and can get about the business of understanding 
what is behind this irrational feeling.

And when that's clear, the answers are obvious.
and you know what.....
Your listening made that possible.

Irrational feelings make sense when we
Understand what's behind them.

So, please listen and just hear me... and we can
both keep in mind that there are important times
in our lives when we just need to be heard. 

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