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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 sound.

Listen! All I asked was that you listen. Not talk or
do -- just hear me. Advice is cheap; ten 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

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 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 sometimes for
people, because God is mute and "He" doesn't give
advice or try to fix things. "He" 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'll listen
to you.

-Author Unknown            

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We have the opportunity many times a day, everyday, to be the one who listens to others, curious rather than certain. But the greatest benefit of all is that listening moves us closer. When we listen with less judgment, we always develop better relationships with each other. It's not differences that divide us. It's our judgments about each other that do. Curiosity and good listening bring us back together.

-Margaret Wheatley from Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future

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