I stumbled upon this poem and thought it was worth sharing.  If you have ever thought it was your job to solve others problems, offer advice before it is requested of you, or tell others what to think or feel,you are not alone.  Let this poem be an encouragement to release the need to jump in and rescue, and to simply listen.  It’s not up to us to do for others what they can and should do for themselves.  Sometimes, most of the time, listening is enough.  That is also what a good coach will do with their clients.  They will ask good questions and listen.


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 asked was that you listen, not talk or do – just hear me.

Advice is cheap; two cents will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper.

And 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 can 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 and meditation works, sometimes, for some people because a Higher Power is mute and doesn’t give advice or try to fix things. Meditation and prayer is talking to our inner-self which only listens… and lets us work it out for ourselves.

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.”


“A naturally therapeutic person is one who, by a natural response to those in pain, empowers them to realize their own healing potential lies within them, and never in the one who is helping or giving advice.”

— Jaquelyn Small, 1993