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 problem, you have failed me,
strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I ask is that you listen.
Don’t talk or do-just hear me.
Advice is cheap; 20 cents will get
you 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 need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.

But when you accept as a simple fact
that I feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational,
then I can stop tying to convince you
and get a bout this 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 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.