Very few people actually want advice when they are coming to you with a problem! In this podcast episode, Elizabeth Polinsky interviews Lisa Ligouri on the benefits of sharing personal experiences versus problem solving or advice giving in personal relationships.
IN THIS PODCAST
Introduction to Lisa Liguori
Lisa Ligouri is passionate about facilitating communication and connection with (and for) those around her. Though she has been helping companies flourish as a venture capital investor for over 20 years, her deepest passion is leading peer groups. In these groups, individuals share their life experiences with one another to combat isolation and accelerate their personal growth.
She is also the host of Advice Column Podcast (a podcast that also uses experience-sharing to empower people). Lisa is empowering people to build authentic connection with others and to gain wisdom through sharing.
She has worked to promote experience-sharing in a variety of settings. She has practiced this in business settings, with her family, and in peer-groups where they used the experience sharing format. She has also used the same format in her marriage to improve her relationship with her husband. In each of these settings, when she started to practice reflective listening and experiencing sharing, the emotional safety in the relationship increased.
Why it's better to share experiences than give advice:
Often times people get annoyed when you give them suggestions and start problem solving their situation. This is because most people are seeking understanding, validation, and to know they aren't alone in their experience.
When you give advice, it often creates distance with people because it creates inequality by suggesting you know better than they do--and it also create inequality in emotional vulnerability. In contrast, experience sharing puts you both as equals and as vulnerable together--something that leads to more emotional connection.
Shared vulnerability builds trust." - Lisa Ligouri
How to practice sharing personal experiences:
To practice Experience Sharing:
The types of communication that facilitate meaningful connection:
Vulnerability is really important for feeling connected in relationships. It builds trust. Even though you may want to hold your vulnerable feelings inside, when you share vulnerably you often have a higher quality conversation, feel more connected, and take steps to make the relationship stronger.
It's common for couples--especially when their is distance from work trips or deployments--to have insecurities. For example, many people worry that their spouse wont love them anymore or will no longer be physically attracted to them once they return home. These types of insecurities can be hard to share with your partner; and when you can share them in an "I statement" format and in a vulnerable way, it has the potential to lead to deeper conversation and feeling of connection for your both.
How Lisa learned to share her experiences:
When sharing doesn't feel safe:
Evaluating the safety of the relationship is important when it comes to sharing experiences. You might start with dipping your toes into the vulnerability and see if it is safe to continue being vulnerable.
A way to see if someone is safe to be vulnerable with is to try sharing something that is just a little vulnerable, and then see if they match your vulnerability by sharing in return. Do they meet you in the vulnerable space? Are they on the same path and willing to try to engage in the same way?
Big feelings of connection come when someone is willing to engage and meet you in the vulnerable places. The level of depth of sharing from your heart--when someone joins you there is very powerful. At the same time not everyone is willing or open or able to do that. So it is often wise to tread carefully and not bear your soul to everyone.
Tips for military couples:
Active duty service members are gone a lot. There is a difficulty in being separated from your spouse, but also being separated from family and friends when you move every few years. Sharing personal experiences can be a tool for developing meaningful friendships for military couples who are moving to a new place, feeling isolated, as well as improve thing connection in the relationship.
One of the things they use in the experience sharing peer groups is a tool called the 5%. They bring the 5% best and worst parts of life that they don't share with the general public. This helps take the conversation to a depth that is significant--versus just staying on the surface with easy stuff. Trust and confidentiality is a significant part of these groups.
So when making friends, drop down into some vulnerability to take the conversation to a deeper level. You can test the waters to see if someone will match your vulnerability. You want to goo slowly to test if the trust and confidentiality is developing between you in the new relationship.
As with any skill, learning a skill in communication takes time" --Lisa Ligouri
Learn more about working with Lisa:
Lisa's number one tip is to ask your spouse if they are up for trying this, even once a week. You can also download her free worksheet on 5 Pitfalls to Avoid when Giving Advice here.
If you are interested in learning more about Lisa or working with her, you can find her the following ways:
Liz's Useful Links:
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Thanks for listening!
Elizabeth Polinsky is a marriage and couple therapist specializing in working with military members, veterans, and their families. Liz has offices in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Fallon, Nevada, and also provides online counseling services throughout Virginia, Nevada, South Carolina, and Arkansas.
My podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are general information for educational purposes only; they are not psychotherapy and not a replacement for therapy. The information provided does not constitute the formation of a therapist-patient relationship. You should consult your doctor or mental health provider regarding advice and support for your health and well being. I cannot answer questions regarding your specific situation. If you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, you should call 911, report to your local ER, or call the National Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Nothing I post should be considered professional advice. The information in my podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are not intended to be therapy or psychological advice. The podcast, blogs, videos, newsletters, and products are not a request for a testimonial, rating, or endorsement from clients regarding counseling. If you are a current or former client/ patient, please remember that your comments may jeopardize your confidentiality. I will not “friend” or “follow” current or past clients to honor ethical boundaries and privacy; nor will I respond to comments or messages through social media or other platforms from current or past clients. Current and past client’s should only contact me through the professional contact information provided on the website. Lastly, accounts may be managed by multiple people. Therefore, comments and messages are monitored by staff and are not confidential.
The Communicate & Connect Podcast
In Communicate & Connect For Military Relationships, I provide educational tips for relationships, communication, and navigating military family life.
Hey, I'm Dr. Elizabeth "Liz" Polinsky and I am a marriage counselor in Virginia Beach. I provide online counseling across the states of VA, MD, NC, SC, AR, and NV.