When I ask you to listen to me, and you start to give 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, not talk or do – just hear me. Advice is cheap; 50 cents will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper. I can do for myself; I’m 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 simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you and 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 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.
“A naturally therapeutic person is one who, by a natural response to those in pain, empowers them to realize that their own healing potential lies within them, and never in the one who is helping or giving advice.”
Jaquelyn Small, 1993