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Love is Listening

By Dianne Witte

PLEASE LISTEN: A Poem

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 problems,

You have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I ask is that you listen;

Not talk, nor do – just hear me.

Advice is cheap.

A quick search of the internet will get you

Reddit.com and quora.com all in one search.

And I can do that for myself – I’m not helpless

Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

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

No matter how irrational. Then, I quit trying to convince you

And can get about the business of understanding

what’s behind this irrational feeling.

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

doesn’t give advice to try to ‘fix’ things

He/She 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’ll listen to you.

By: Leo Buscaglia (modified)

 

I like to save quotes and this came back to me recently. It really speaks to me in many ways. First of all, with the politicians telling us how to vote and what to believe or feel, it reminds me I have valid thoughts and ideas of my own. All I need is a quiet time and place to explore them.

At other times, when my inner critic is working overtime, I can come back to this quote and realize the answers lie within, and listen to my Thinker instead.

It also occurs to me this is why dogs are such good companions.  They listen.

Remembering my early married life, when we were learning to “live” with each other, I would share feelings and issues with Jim and he would inevitably pop up with some advice. While he had good ideas, it was not satisfying. It felt like he didn’t really understand or hear me. Later as I learned more about myself, I realized I didn’t really want advice, I wanted someone to listen to me.

I tried to get through to him with that idea, but he must have been a slow learner. He took great pride in being a problem solver and a very good one. Maybe he was afraid I might come up with a better idea myself and not need him. I realized it might take years of repetition, telling him, no, I really don’t want his advice, just his ear, before he might finally quit trying to fix things for me. In fact, he never did learn that, he just knew he was right and had all the answers, so I finally quit going to him with my dilemmas. You see, he did seem to know all the answers, practical and common sensible, but he didn’t know about relationships and how to support a partner. So, I adapted by finding friends who did listen and we became less close in the process. It’s sad, I know. I share this in the hope that if you recognize yourself as being a “poor listener” you can work to improve.

It’s great advice, and I need to keep reminding myself. The best friend listens. Love is listening.

There is a Difference Between Truly Listening and Waiting for Your Turn to Talk –

                                          Ralph Waldo Emerson

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