From #MeToo to Respect & Healthy Cultures


Dear Tomas Bjartur and Audur Ina,

It’s time for the holiday letter from mom. Last year I shared 10 lessons with you, this year they are only three, but no less important. It feels like a very important time in history. We are in the middle of a global #MeToo revolution, a revolution I hope will eventually bring about more respect and healthier cultures everywhere. This holiday season I want to encourage you to become the change we need to see. As always, know that I believe in you and in your leadership in role-modeling a better way forward.

  1. Respect yourself, set clear boundaries and be unafraid to ask for help

I always remind you to show others respect. Now I want to urge you to also remember to practice self-respect. You have the right to set your boundaries and other people have no right to say or do things that make you feel uncomfortable or cause you to fear about your safety and wellbeing. Love yourself and your body as it is, and be very clear if someone offends you or your boundaries, disrespects or harms you in any way. It is always your right to say “I am uncomfortable when ….” or “I don’t feel good when ….”  If that is not enough for you to feel safe and secure, please get away as fast as you can and be unafraid to ask for help. Never, ever think that it is your fault if something is done to you. You are never to blame for other people’s inappropriate and hurtful behavior and you should never stay silent about it.

  1. When you see something, say something

Don’t stand on the sidelines and remain silent when you observe words or actions that make others uncomfortable or cause them harm in some way. Please have the courage to say something, to stop a situation that may cause another innocent human being undeserved pain and suffering. You could save the soul and wellbeing of a person if you have the courage to say “this is not OK” or “would you like someone to treat you this way?”

  1. Always be careful with all your words and actions

Be conscious of the way your words and actions may impact others, be it online or offline. Don’t say things you would not like to hear and don’t do anything you wouldn’t want done to you. Never take part in dialogues or herd behavior that may harm others, even if it seems “everyone else is doing it.”  Be loving, generous with your words and be the role-models that show the change we want to see.