Monday, July 27, 2009

Listen... what does the word really mean?


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 to talk or do-just hear me.
Advice is cheap. Ten cents will get you both Dear Abby and
Bill Graham in the same newspaper.
And I can do that for myself. I'm 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 weakness. But, when you accept as a single fact that I do feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince
you and get to 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.
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."

This poem speak volumes to me. I am the person who's trying to offer advice, relate a similar story or feeling, solve the problem, interrupt and give a compliment so they don't feel so bad, or tell them they shouldn't feel that way! ... But, then I am also the one who gets very frustrated when someone does this to me. I don't tell them this, but I want to!

In the end, there are only a few people who I really go to when I need to vent or just to have someone listen. 

These people understand what it means to listen. 

They do just that... and only that... LISTEN. No advice, no interruptions, no telling me how I should/shouldn't feel. I LOVE that about them!!

And, yet, it really is so simple! But I, along with many others, choose the harder route by trying to think of something to say in return. Listening requires no real effort besides "eyes watching and ears listening" (as I teach my Kindergartners). 

My solution to becoming a better listener... letting go of the silly idea that I can "make everything all better!" because, there's no way I can.  

I have a long way to go... but the first step is acknowledgment, right? :)

1 comment:

Jilynn said...

Hey Cara!
I was just thinking about you today because the girl that cut my sons hair totally reminded me of you, her brown curly hair and her happy disposition, so I thought that I would just say hi!