Listening, a Poem by Ralph Roghton, MD

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 problems
you have Failed me, strange as that may seem.
Listen, All I asked was that you listen – Not talk or do, Just hear me.

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. 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/She doesn’t give advice or try to fix things.

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. –
-Ralph Roughton, M.D.

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