In workshops I give  about building better relationships, a key module I cover is listening. It’s one of my favorite subjects. I love to talk about listening.

I sometimes read the “Please Listen” poem you can see below.  It’s a bit dated, as you can tell from the reference to 20 cent newspapers, along with a view of God I don’t agree with.  But I do resonate with everything else said about listening.

I count at least 7 ways to  listen well, which is such an important component of good relationships. How many can you find in the poem?

Please Listen

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 it 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 Abbey and Billy Graham in the same newspaper.
And I do for myself; I am 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 inadequacy.
But when you accept as a simple fact
that I feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational,
then I can stop trying to convince
you and get about 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.
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.

– Author Unknown

At times I’m certainly guilty  of doing what this poet decries. When I am, I know I’m causing more harm than good.

What About You?

Learning to listen,

P. S.

Only 21 more days before season two of the You Were Made for This podcast hits the cyber air waves! Episodes that cover the many aspects of listening will be covered. Click here to subscribe so you won’t miss any of them.