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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 that 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.
         Anonymous

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Listening is probably the greatest gift we can give to a griever. Finding someone who genuinely listens is not easy. Remember that only 7% of communication is contained in the words we use, we must also listen with our eyes and heart.
It also helps to know that no matter how tough people appear on the outside, inside each one of us has a tender inside and has a desperate need to be understood. Here is a wonderful poem that helps convey this idea:
Please....Hear What I'm Not Saying
   Don't be fooled by me.  Don't be fooled by the mask I wear. For I wear a mask, I wear a thousand masks, masks that I'm afraid to take off, and none of them is me. Pretending is an art that is second nature with me, but don't be fooled.
   ...I give the impression that I'm secure, that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without; that confidence is my name and coolness is my game; and the waters are calm and that I'm in command and I need no one. But don't believe it; please don't.
   I idly chatter with you in the suave tones of surface talk. I tell you everything  that's really nothing, nothing of what's crying within me. So when I'm going through my routine, don't be fooled by what I'm saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I'm not saying; waht I'd like to able to say; what, for survival, I need to say but I can't say.  I dislike the hiding. Honestly I do. I dislike the superficial phony games I'm playing.
  I'd really like to be genuine, spontaneous, and me; but you have to help me. You have to help me by holding out your hand, even when that's the last thing I seem to want or need.  Each time you are kind and gentle and encouraging, each time you try to understand because you really care, my heart begins to grow wings.  Very small wings. Very feeble wings. But wings.  With your sensitivity and sympathy and your power of understanding, I can make it. You can breathe life into me. It will not be easy for you. A long conviction in worthlessness builds strong walls. But love is stronger than strong walls, and therein lies my hope. Please try to beat down those walls, with firm hands, but with gentle hands, for a child is very sensitive and I am a child.
  Who am I, you may wonder. For I am every man, every woman, every child....every human you meet.
Charles C.  Finn

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