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To listen is to heal... Thursday April 17, 2014

Last week I offered a story on why people shout and do not truly listen to each others hearts.

The best poem I know about listening is below, see what you think or should I say 'feel'.


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

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.


How much do you listen? Are you mixing with people who do not listen to you? What do you display and accept into your life?

"Hearing is one of the body's five senses, but listening is an art and with it comes the gift of healing"

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 7:17am

Excellent, Les i know this poem, but haven't seen it written down for a while now, and it acts as a timely reminder just now. Thanks so much. It is so true.

Ginny Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 7:40am

Yes I have heard this before but not seen it written down either! There is lots i want to say about it. i will try not to get carried away.
First I am not very good at listening so I cant really expect others to listen to me.
I couldnt show this to my hubby cos he would see it as a threat.
The comment about God and he just listens is true. i used to believe, but from experience you listen to God for the solution to your problem, and then he lets you know what he wants you to do! /so to me that is God giving you advice. Sorry to bring religion into this but God was mentioned as a possibility and it might help some people

Anonymous Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 8:22am

i don't agree that the poem is really positive - i see it as demanding and quite aggressive to your fellow human being who also has different realms of thinking and sharing themselves. there are ways to find the right person who will listen to you- but to demand it. not sure - maybe you have to believe in god.

Anonymous Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 11:13am

I have faith and I try to do what I think Jesus would do, so I listen and I don't judge. I try to see the positive in everyone and constantly make excuses for their bad behaviour, but it doesn't make me happy. In fact it makes me feel very sad. While making excuses for the people in my life that I love I seem to have opened up the flood gates to allow them to constantly criticise me and put me down and after 40 odd years of hearing only negative things about myself from the people who are supposed to care, it has left me feeling really bad about myself. I try so hard to listen to them, yet they never listen to me. God is the only constant in my life from whom I receive no criticism...thank GOD!!!!

Julia Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 11:50am

I do like this poem. It is very relevant to my situation. I think I'm a good listener but am surrounded by a few people who always have their own agenda so don't listen but wait for a pause in the conversation to introduce their own agenda. So a big thank you Les.

Julia Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 11:57am

Also meant to add that one person I am close to always wants to offer solutions which I know some will say is kind but as the poem says that is not what I need all the time.

Anonymous Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 12:35pm

This is a good one for me because when people are telling me their problems, i am almost in a panic trying to think of what to say by way of making them feel better or solving their problem. In doing so, i often close my heart and work from my brain instead. If the heart is opened first, then inspiration will follow....and that inspiration may be to simply sit still and just be there. Thanks for posting this, Les.

Anonymous Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 1:20pm

This is so good Les - thank-you; having just failed to "listen" to one of my nearest and dearest who is now not talking to me, this really helps. Frankie

Anonymous Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 2:41pm

I semi-agree with you. It's a timely reminder to me not to be a rescuer offering solutions, and to listen more. I'm agnostic and I don't subscribe to the references to God. However, each to their own beliefs. I completely agree with your comments about it being demanding - I interpret it as insisting the reader agree with the author's view, this could be undermining for some. The poem makes me feel uncomfortable and vaguely irritated. It's a bit preachy. Prefer something that gives greater autonomy to the reader, "Autobiography in Five Chapters"?

les Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 4:03pm

Hi Anonymous's
We will all view things through our own eyes and feelings, as we should.
This is not at all demanding for me, it simply means that if I am speaking, respect me enough to listen and then I'll listen to you. It even asks 'please'.
We do of course not have to agree with each other - it is simply about respecting that someone is talking and thus hearing their viewpoint. Otherwise how can you actually have a two way conversation?
If you are not prepared to listen and thus attempt to understand me, should we differ, then for me, I'd likely not wish to listen to you - someone who is then demanding that I hear you before you hear me out!
So for me, if anyone is demanding anything - I'd likely not wish to carry on in that conversation or relationship, as it is not respectful.
If you wanted to 'feel' a demand in there, which you may, as that is the way you have read it and thus 'feel' about things - any demand would be about being respectful to each other.
So for me it is - win win or no deal.

heather Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 4:19pm

I think there is a time and a place for "just listening" and I should remember this, as I know I am often thinking of possible "solutions" and similar experiences to share. and there is nothing more disappointing than talking to someone who is just waiting to "chip in" so I must sit back more often and just listen. However, all relationships should l be two-way and I am sure we have all known people who just want you to listen all the time and the last verse of the poem seems to indicate that there would be no real conversation - just listening to each other. Very strange. Even in deep depression certain people have said certain things to me which resonated and helped a lot, so lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater !

Anonymous Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 5:40pm

I don't think anyone said anything about not being prepared to listen Les. The discussion is about the tone of the poem which demands a certain response from the reader, implying they are inadequate or at fault if they don't meet the authorial request. I can't think of anyone, including experienced therapists, who can meet all of the requirements of the author. We're all fallible.

Richard Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 6:06pm

Les, the poem's great. It made me feel better. More!

Diana Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 8:10pm

PERHAPS it's O.K. to offer suggestions - but also be patient and wait for the
right time; but other people are other people, and there is a well - known quote
that ( forgive me ) " other people are Hell " !

Silvia A Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 9:01pm

thumbs up.

Anonymous Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 9:52pm

There was a humble offering on listening last year and one comment said that it was too preachy. Me being me, I took it personally and felt wounded. :o/.To be listened to and to feel truly heard, when pouring out precious, fragile feelings is a priceless thing. That's all I know.
It's a skill, to be able to go to the other side of the room, and really try to see from the other person's perspective. Often, to be able to do that, real listening needs to take place. Like any skill, listening can surely be honed and improved.
We have two ears but just one mouth, so twice the amount of listening over talking would be a goodly thing. (I include myself in that!). This poem is a fantastic reminder.
Thanks Les. Suzy

Meiyuna Thu, Apr 17th 2014 @ 11:13pm

This was beautifully written even though I'm not religious kind. The ability to listen, is truly a wonderful skill to have, especially for those whose closest friends or family are in bad shape. Thank you for writing this!

Anonymous Fri, Apr 18th 2014 @ 7:26am

I've got a prob with this. The title Listen is a command not a request. Would be less off putting if it was Please Listen.

Anonymous Fri, Apr 18th 2014 @ 9:06am

I believe in God he's the best listener and healer of all xxxx friends blogs and counselling are all fantastic facilitators but in the dark of the night when I need to talk, it's God that's listening xxx wishing you all peace which ever way works best for you all, different strokes for different folks xx

Diana Fri, Apr 18th 2014 @ 6:04pm

I wish to amend my comment. I believe the quote was more like " Hell
is other people " - which isn't quite the same as other people are Hell ! !
Yes, anon/ above - I talk to God in the night - mostly by reciting The Lord's Prayer ( even several times, very soothing... ! )

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