Movie release “The Truth – The Journey Within”

I had the great pleasure of acting in a movie called “The Truth – The Journey Within.” It’s a movie featuring leading teachers of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Heartmath, and a variety of other modalities – and a narrative storyline (that’s where I come in, as an actor) showing the events within a family where one family member attempts to use these approaches to try and change the damaged relationships within the family – through authenticity, connecting “from the heart,” and compassionate communication.

Website for the movie:

where the DVD can be watched online or bought online.

Hope you enjoy it! I had a great time acting in it.

(On a side note:
In the credits of the movie I was given my full name “Newton Bailey.” I mention that here because “Newton Bailey” is a name I rarely use, so that name does not have much of a web presence. So… if you watched the movie and found yourself drawn to investigate more about “Newton Bailey” (Hi! Thanks for tracking me down!) there’s a good chance your search engine will bring you to this blog posting, from where you can find out more about the one-and-the-same “Newt Bailey” – me.

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“You made me look like a complete fool!” (part 2)

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“You made me look like a complete fool!”

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Responding to Anger

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“I’m just joking around”

Question: In my job I feel like there’s a culture of gossip, disrespect, and put-downs. Sometimes it’s played off as “just a joke,” but to me it’s not very funny. I don’t want to be the boring, super-serious co-worker, but I don’t want to put up with unfunny put-downs either. What do I do? Thanks, Jackie.

Answer: Firstly, if you refrain from gossip and from making jokes at the expense of others, you’re no longer contributing to that issue. As for respect, it is possible, though perhaps scary, to meet others with honesty, transparency, and with respect, even if their actions strike you as “disrespectful.” In other words you don’t have to wait for the other person to lead with respect, you can take a leadership role and go first, without getting caught up on whether they “deserve” your respect or not.

For example:

Your co-worker: “Jackie’s going to be the weakest link on this project…”

You: “I’m starting to get the feeling that you have very little respect for me and my work. If that’s true I’d love to find out from you what it would take for us start building a respectful working relationship. Is that something you would be wiling to discuss?”

Your co-worker: “Don’t be so serious, I’m just joking around.”

You: “I’ve heard you say that before, and yet when I hear you say “Jackie’s being the weakest link again” I can’t shake the feeling that you have a genuine grievance. So I’d like to check now, is there anything at all about the way I work that you don’t like?”

This is an invitation to the other person to step into a position of greater integrity, which they will probably actually prefer, even though it may be scary for them to do it. Of course, you’re inviting criticism, but guess what, if the criticism is already there it’s better to get it out in the open so you can do something about it.

You probably won’t fix a situation like this in three quick exchanges, it will take persistence, so here are a few more ideas…

Your co-worker: “No, like I said, I’m just kidding around.”

You: “OK. Well if anything about how I work starts to bother you would you be willing to let me know immediately.”

Your co-worker: “Er…..sure.”

or you could try….

You: “I’m still finding it hard to believe that there’s nothing I do that bothers you, when I think about the comments you’ve made. It would help me to shake that idea if you could tell me about something I’ve done that was of benefit to you.”

This is not fishing for compliments. You’re actually continuing to do a reality check, treating the other person with respect, and seeking a deeper understanding about your working relationship with them.

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“That’s not what I said!”

Question: My wife and I get into these insane fights where she totally makes stuff up that I said, then gets upset because I don’t agree with her memory of things. How do you deal with it when someone just makes stuff up?

Answer: This sounds pretty frustrating for you, to find you have such a different recollection of events to your wife. And, of course, if I spoke to your wife she would insist that it is your memory that’s at fault, not hers. Or she might say you’re changing the facts to support your position, and you might say the same of her.

Let’s consider this. Your wife says you agreed to spend this Thursday evening with her, and you say you never made any such agreement. You’re convinced she’s “wrong” and she’s convinced she’s “right.” Why does it matter to you that she agrees with your version of reality? If she suddenly starts saying sincerely “You know, you’re right, I remembered incorrectly,” what would that give you that’s valuable to you?

If you say “Now she’s being honest” then that might contribute to your level of trust in her. It might also give you a sense of trust in your own memory, or a sense of actually “living on the same planet” as your wife — having the same shared perceptions and recollections of reality.
Similarly, if her version is so different to yours, you might be very exasperated by the quality of communication you experience, and the level of ease the two of you have in organizing your lives together harmoniously.

Whatever your answers are to my question, I would try conveying that to your wife, rather than trying to convince her that she’s wrong. Include how you feel with things as they currently are, and do your best to simply describe your experience and desires without any blame, criticism, or demands (since I’m guessing you’ve already tried all those with limited success).

For example:

You: “I’m so exasperated right now that you remember me saying something that I’m totally sure I did not say. We seem to remember things differently way more often than I’d like, and I’d love us to somehow change this. How do you feel hearing me say this?”

Your wife: “Don’t blame me, you’re the one who’s forgetting things all the time and changing your plans without telling me.”

You: “I have blamed you in the past, so I can see why you’d hear what I said that way. Right now I’m trying to do something different….”

Your wife: “It’s just so annoying that you don’t remember things.”

You: “I’m annoyed too, because I really want us to communicate in a way where we end up on the same page about events, plans and decisions. Can we talk about what we can do differently to make it less likely that this happens again?”

It may take a while to get there, but if you give up on trying to prove your wife wrong, I think she’ll notice soon enough, and join you in figuring out what can be changed. Someone has to take the lead, so don’t be surprised if your wife continues with the “Who’s right/who’s wrong” thinking for a while if that’s how you’ve communicated up until now.

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They always say the “right thing”!

Question: I’ve been around some people who seem to always know what to say. They respond with some mixture of wisdom, compassion, courage, strength, and assertiveness – and seem to intuitively know what mixture of these qualities is needed. Are people just naturally that way…or what’s the trick?

My answer: I’ve had the experience of simply “riding” my intuition when communicating, and being very satisfied with the result. It’s not totally reliable though, so I see the communication work I do as providing myself and others with “training wheels” to help with communication when the intuition dries up, or when what I’m intuitively drawn to say seems to be making things worse. Training wheels are also known as “stabilizers” in the UK – and what I’m describing here can certainly contribute to my sense of stability, even when navigating through difficult conversations.

So, riding with the “training wheels” means I limit myself to thinking, speaking, and asking about just four areas of focus.

* What am I hearing/seeing right now? What did the other person actually just say or do – can I get clear on what I’m actually observing separate from my thoughts and judgments about what’s happening?
* What’s the impact on me of what I’m hearing/seeing? How am I feeling?
* What do I want, fundamentally, at this moment, or in this conversation?
* What am I moved to do or say? What do I want to ask the other person to do, or to tell me?

Focusing moment by moment on these four areas of inquiry usually helps me to communicate. And if I want to take this a step further towards really connecting with the other person and moving towards mutually satisfying communication – I will ask myself the same four questions about them too, repeatedly, as the conversation proceeds. What are they observing? What’s the impact on them? What do they fundamentally want? What would they like to hear from me or ask of me? You’ll see these basic questions at play throughout this blog.

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Introduction to Connected Communication (podcast)

I discuss the foundations of what I call “Connected Communication”, also known as Nonviolent Communication or NVC.

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