The following is in the May ’07 Friends Journal, it is a reprint from a Oct 1984 issue.
When I ask you to listen to me and you start by 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 it may seem.
Listen! All I ask is 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.
And I can do for myself, I’m not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
But when you accept as 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 understandind 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 just listens and lets you work it out 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.