Bernadette O'Connor's open letter to her daughter on the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence

It's not OK for someone to use violence as a way of controlling you.

By Bernadette O'Connor
Do you remember when you saw Tommy cutting the carpet in your Kindergarten classroom? You put your hand up and said, 'Excuse me Mrs Smith Tommy is cutting the carpet' only for Tommy to jump from the ground and hold the scissors to your throat.
I didn't make a fuss at school because I could see you were okay and being empathetic I understood Tommy*'s challenges.
Yet as the afternoon passed my unease grew and I quickly realised it was imperative that I spoke to you before your subconscious programmed you to believe it was okay for someone to use violence as a way of controlling you.
"It is never okay for anyone to be violent towards you because of what you said, what you did or because of who you are. It was not okay for Tommy* to hold those scissors to your throat just because you spoke up and he didn't like it," I said. "You did the right thing in telling someone in authority and you should never be punished for that. No one EVER has the right to abuse you because you speak your truth."
People will be drawn to you because of your light and some will be threatened by it. They will try and bring you down but don't let them win.
Hold onto you by focusing on you and by nurturing the integrity of your extraordinary being every day. When you focus on what others are doing or saying or how unfair things are or trying to understand others behaviour, you are neglecting your SELF. When you nurture your SELF you are powerful and no one can take that from you.
No schoolyard bully. No jealous colleague. No toxic employer. No abusive partner.
Bernadette O'Connor is the Australian author of Let's Go Home: Finding There While Staying Here which was included in the 2019 Oscars Swag Bag. (Image: Supplied)

How do you hold onto your power?

First you build resilience by honouring your emotions: if you feel it, acknowledge it and then let it go. Resilience doesn't mean you don't feel, nor does it mean you don't show your feelings. Resilience is coming back into centredness when you have had an emotional response to an experience.
When you don't acknowledge your anger, frustration, fear, sadness or other emotions you retain their vibration and it builds up within your body and stops you from being you. They make you heavy, irritable, prickly and withdrawn, and you lose your connection to you and we lose you.
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Here are seven simple ways you can release your emotions, reclaim your centredness and your power:
  1. Move your body by dancing, running, jumping on the trampoline or swimming in the ocean. Think about the feelings you wish to release and feel the energy of these emotions shift as you move - if you cry that's okay, please don't stop those tears!
  2. Take off your school uniform when you get home and have a shower and as the water floods your body see all the emotions you are feeling wash away, cleansing you and bringing you back to you.
  3. Sing because you love to sing, it makes you happy. And as you sing the energy in your throat will start to move and all the things you haven't said that are stuck become free and all the things that you may have said that you regret are released.
  4. Journal how you are feeling on a scrap of paper. Don't think about what you are writing just let the words and all the feelings spill over onto the paper, and then rip it up and throw it into the bin.
  5. See yourself in your truth, because sometimes when the emotions get heavy and stuck they stop you from seeing YOU. Write a beautiful long list starting with 'I am amazing because…'
  6. Be grateful for the big and little things and make a practice of writing a list each day of all the good things in your life and sink into the feeling of gratitude.
  7. Compassion and forgiveness are the most powerful tools in your toolkit. Nothing will free you quicker than allowing yourself to see those who have hurt you with compassion and forgiving them for what they have done or said. Imagine your heart space open and think of this person or people and send them love and say 'I see you and I wish you well' repeatedly.
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Trust me my darling girl, these techniques will free you from the heavy emotions that pop up from time to time and block you from being you.
They will bring you back to who you really are, and the world needs her because she is extraordinary.
Don't allow those who seek to bring you down, win. Work every day at centring yourself, staying in your power and being the magnificent girl you are and the woman you are becoming.
Bernadette O'Connor is the author of 'Let's Go Home: Finding There While Staying Here' which was included in the 2019 Oscars Swag Bag and 'Beneath The Veil', her new release, which addresses the abuse of power by the patriarch and the story of rising from a place of suppression and brokenness.