This is a fantastic poem that appears in a wonderful book I read from Marshall Rosenberg – Nonviolent Communication. Everyone should read this book I think. Rosenberg talks about how we can use the right language to avoid, calm down and resolve conflict. He talks about how we unintentionally hurt others with our words, without even realising it. And he revels how liberating it can be when we listen to the feelings behind what is said.

By Ruth Bebermeyer

I feel so sentenced by your words
I feel so judged and sent away
Before I go I got to know
Is that what you mean to say?

Before I rise to my defense,
Before I speak in hurt or fear,
Before I build that wall of words,
Tell me, did I really hear?

Words are windows, or they’re walls,
They sentence us, or set us free.
When I speak and when I hear,
Let the love light shine through me.

There are things I need to say,
Things that mean so much to me,
If my words don’t make me clear,
Will you help me to be free?

If I seemed to put you down,
If you felt I didn’t care,
Try to listen through my words
To the feelings that we share.

– Ruth Bebermeyer
Published in Marshall Rosenberg’s powerful book Nonviolent Communication – A Language of Life.

Absolutely worth a read.

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