How often have you started to recount your day or some incident that has happened to a family member or friend and they immediately want to jump in as start giving you advice on what you should have done and how you should have handled the situation.  Well I think “Listening’ by Dr Robert A. Hatcher, sums it up very well.

LISTENING

When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving 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 talk, or do
just hear me.

Advice is cheap:
20 cents will get 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 do feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational, then I can quit
trying to convince you and can 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!

By Dr.Robert A Hatcher
May 24, 1974