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FIND your
ME

A Self Love Diary

    For She is WOMAN


    I had the great honor of being interviewed by Editor-In-Chief Cassandra Kerr on her website, For, She Is You, which is an incredible digital platform that celebrates women in all their diverse and magical glory. I hope you enjoy the interview republished below, and visit her site as well.

    How would you describe yourself in one word?
    Woman… #sheisWOMAN

    What would you tell your 10 year old self?
    Ten was the year I started noticing my thighs. The year I started noticing girls whose hair didn’t go crazy with curls when they started going through puberty. The year I fell for my first “him” and felt completely unseen. I started to define myself by my intellect. I thought that If I could be the smartest, I could be the best, which meant I was worth something.

    I would tell that 10 year old girl that instead of retreating to your brain, go into your heart and nurture yourself until you feel whole from within instead of seeking validation externally.


    What is your outlook / philosophy on life?
    Your thoughts control your feelings; your feelings control your physical experience; your physical experience control you world.

    The greatest revelation I’ve had in the last five years is realizing just how much control I have over how I feel and how I live. When I’m mindful of my thoughts, and push myself to practice gratitude, happiness, and a positive perspective, my feelings body and overall life experience follows suit. 


    I LOVE the concept of Fred and Far and everything it stands for. Can you share a little bit about your journey and how the self love pinky ring came to fruition?
    Two years ago I was on the brink of collapse as a working mother with twin toddlers. I had lost complete sight of who I was, what my purpose was, and how to be happy in my own skin. Because I love jewelry, I decided to buy a new ring for a new finger – my pinky, and wear it with the idea that each time I looked at it I would be reminded to prioritize care for, know, and love myself. Within a few months, I was transformed. The impact was so powerful I thought it might help other women as well. The origin of the Self Love Pinky Ring is deeply personal and profoundly simple. What would happen if every woman in the world loved and cared for herself, and then used that love to connect with and support other women. The community we’ve built is as much the core of our mission as the ring and choosing yourself.


    What is your self love pledge to yourself?
    My self love pledge is the same pledge we ask each Fred + Far tribe member to sign. Together we pinky promise to choose ourselves, honor ourselves, and remember ourselves on a daily basis.


    The single best piece of advice you have ever received and how has it shaped you
    Anything is possible. My parents taught me this. I was born in Iran and my parents left everything behind to bring me to America for a better life when I was less than a year old. It’s not always easy, but I feel grateful to live in a place where it’s possible to pursue your dreams, and continually re-define your future. My ability to start Fred + Far as a working mom in her 30s is a testament to that.


    Something you don’t tell yourself enough?
    Get up, put your electronics down, drink water, move your body.


    In your opinion, what is true strength of character?
    The curiosity and flexibility to continually grow and become a more authentic, inspired, and capable version of yourself.

    As such a beautiful advocate for self love, why is it so important to teach young girls to love themselves?
    I’m fortunate to have twin four-year-old daughters, Stella and Violet. Through them, I have already started witnessing the micro interactions that define a woman’s sense of worth from a young age. From groups of girlfriends who leave others out, to the challenging “us vs. them” dynamic between boys and girls. So much of their happiness can precariously depend on others unless I teach them on a daily basis what it means to practice self love and self care.


    How do you cultivate self love and what do you do to combat negative self-talk / self-doubt?
    For me, cultivating self love started through committing to acts of self care. From working out to finally lose the baby weight, to seeing a therapist to learn more about what makes me tick, or even getting a blow out weekly so I can feel beautiful. Once I started devoting time to myself it became more natural to feel good, and when you feel good self love inherently blossoms

    To combat negative self talk and self doubt, I take great care to recognize my thoughts as I’m thinking them. When self doubt takes over, instead of letting that thought become a feeling thats buried in my body, I question it, discover the root of it, and commit to a course of action and through pattern that will relieve me of it.


    Your all-time-hands-down-favorite self love ritual?
    Every morning I put on my self love pinky ring and take a moment to think about why I’m wearing it that day. Not only am I checking in with myself, I’m infusing the ring with intentions – that carries me through the day.


    How do you define kindness and why do you believe in it?
    Kindness is opening your eyes and heart so you can recognize opportunities to give, and then giving exactly whats needed without expecting anything in return.


    I believe in kindness because it is the energy that connects us all and has the possibility to bring balance to the world.


    Practicing kindness should begin with oneself. When you’re kind to yourself, you’ll be in a position to be kind to others.


    What is the kindest thing someone that has ever done for you?
    My best friend believed in me enough to help me start Fred + Far.


    In your opinion, what can you can do for someone who you may notice is directly experiencing unkindness?
    Witness them instead of looking away, and when you can – stand with them, and for them.


    Why do you believe it’s important for girls and women to stand together, support, champion and build one another up rather than tearing each other down?
    The future of the world depends on it.


    If you had a ‘MY 3AM MIND’ notebook, what would we find on it?
    When I’m at peace, you would find nothing. When I have anxiety, the running to do list in my mind that I refuse to write down.


    How do you deal with stress?
    By caring enough to identify whats causing it, and committing to making changes. Whether the change is a shift in my perspective, or in my circumstances.


    From your experience, do you have any wisdom to impart on networking and ‘putting yourself out there’? 
    Last week I was having a conversation with my four year old daughters about making friends. One is feeling very neglected and alone at school. The other looked at her and said, “If you want to play with someone, why don’t you just go up to them and say ‘I want to play with you.’” There is a really powerful networking lesson there. Identify who you want to play with, and play with them. 


    Life is too short to tolerate….
    Bad energy.* (this may result in lost or paused relationships if you truly practice it – but it is worth it)
    What real advice can you offer on believing in yourself and following your dreams
    Believing in yourself and following your dreams are not all or nothing propositions. You start, you take a step, you take another step, and eventually you look back and realize you’re getting somewhere. For me, having written and published a book, started two businesses, and survived a brief career as a litigation attorney, the best place to start is by doing something that is completely within your hands. Whether its starting a blog to share your voice or creating art to share your vision. You don’t have to have a business plan with every detail plan sketched out to start a business. All you have to do is have an idea to get started, the magic is in your commitment to seeing it through.


    If you had 1 minute to talk and be able to reach and inspire every single young girl and woman around the world, what would your message be?
    This is my role as a woman, and especially as a mother of daughters:
    To teach that self love is sacred, and self care is survival. To show that we are born whole and all the love we need is within our own hands. To model what it means for a woman to choose herself, each and every day.
    So women, this is my invitation to you:
    Reclaim yourself. Belong to yourself. Redeem yourself.
    Carve out a moment to delight. To discover. To be.Remember yourself.
    You’re the catalyst. You’re the cause. You’re the one.Engage in yourself. In life, in love, in health.

    Revive yourself.
    Shed the weight – of uncertainty, of pain, of disappointment, of pressure.

    Commit to something better.
    Choose.
    Choose happiness.
    Choose love.
    Choose power.
    Choose fulfilment.
    Choose choice.
    Choose yourself.


    Your favourite quote that always inspires you?
    “Your self love is a medicine for the earth.” by Yung Pueblo

    Republished from www.forsheisyou.com. 

    MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS

    As a woman, as a daughter, and as a mother of daughters, I’m fascinated by the magic we house within us, a magic that I believe can and will heal the planet – if we let it. Self care and self love unlock this intrinsic magic, and it is our divine responsibility to practice both on a daily basis, and to teach our girls to do the same.

    To discover and honor the relationship between mothers and daughters, and to explore the magic of being a woman, I invited tribe members Lenea Sims, with her mother Loretta Brazil, and Shyla Marie, with her daughters Faith, Kennedy, and Mackenzie, to join me for an intimate photoshoot and interview. I’m so proud to share them with you. If the questions resonate, I invite you to ask them of yourself, your moms and your daughters, and share them with me. 

     

     

    Lenea Sims, Daughter

    What do you admire/love most about your mom?
    What I admire most about my mom is her continued zest for life. At 56, she's recently earned a Masters degree, begun school for her PsyD, and started a whole new career as a therapist after retiring from a 25-year career just last year. Plus, she's incredibly silly, wise, generous, caring, and strong. She's proof that you can be anything you want as a woman AND that you can be all of those things at one time!

    What did you learn from your mom that has defined you as a woman?
    From a young age, my mom has always taught me that it's okay to be powerful. That has been an invaluable lesson for me as I move throughout my own life and challenge myself to achieve more and more. It's amazing what you can accomplish, after all, when you aren't afraid of your own strength. 

    What do you think makes being a woman special?
    Being a woman is special for so many reasons, but my favorites have got to be the ability to empathize, show compassion, and relate to a variety of people effortlessly. I think this is due to our inherently emotional nature and it's something to embraced, not rejected.

    Do you love yourself? How do you express your love?
    Absolutely. I express my love by making the conscious effort to get to know myself and by protecting my energy in every commitment I make and relationship I have. I also bask in my alone time, intuitively doing whatever makes me feel good one moment at a time.

    What do you love about yourself most?
    More than anything, I love my ability to remain calm, level-headed, and adaptable in situations that panic most people. I'm also quite fond of my ability to fit in pretty much anywhere and make friends with just about anyone. I think this ultimately stems from unwavering confidence in myself, which is something else I definitely get from my mama!

    When you look within yourself, what do you carry as your mother's legacy? 
    Ultimately, so much of who I am has to do with my mother and the choices – good and bad – that she's made. I grew up learning from her mistakes and her milestones and I'm fortunate to have always been able to talk openly about it all with her. Above all, she has taught me to be fiercely independent while still valuing those close to me, and that is something that I'm sure will serve me forever.

    Finish these sentences:
    Women should: ignore all advice that begins "women should"! Oh, except for self-care. Absolutely all women should be doing that!
    Women can: be anything and EVERYTHING that they want to be.
    Women will: continue to change the world.
    I am: proud to be a woman, proud to be a daughter, proud to be me!

     

     

    Loretta Brazil, Mother

    What is your responsibility as a mother of a daughter?
    To embrace life in such a manner that my daughter mirrors living her authentic life.

    How did becoming a mother change you?
    I became a mother at 18, which for me meant that I had to take a position of authority immediately. I never experienced being a carefree young adult. However, there is not much I would change about my lived experiences. I would not be the person I am, if my life had been different.

    How do you manage to give yourself “me time” with all of the responsibilities of being a mother?
    I am 56 years old, retired, and pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. I practice balancing my time, which includes listening to music, relaxing with my Honey, enjoying time with family and friends, and more recently some form of exercise daily (dancing, and walking).

    Do you love yourself? How do you express that love?
    Yes! By being kind to myself and appreciating me.

    When it comes to your daughter, what do you dream about?
    Her happiness. She is a beautiful, courageous and intelligent young woman, and I dream that she will continue to explore the world, and experience life through her very talented lens.

    Finish these sentences:

    Having a daughter: is an opportunity to support and encourage another woman to be her best self in all aspects of her life.
    Being a mother is: a position of honor, and privilege.
    Women should: realize how awesome we are!
    Women can: accomplish and realize all of their aspirations.
    I am: in love and loving life.

     

     

     

    Shyla Marie, Mother

    What is your responsibility as a mother of daughters?
    My responsibility as a mom to my girls is to teach them there are no limits to what they can do. If you are true to yourself and your passions, and educate yourself, you can shatter the glass ceiling.

    How did becoming a mother change you?
    Becoming a mother made me more understanding. It made me see both sides of the story.

    How do you manage to give yourself “me time” with all of the responsibilities of being a mother?
    I have to put it on the family activities schedule. If it's not on the schedule it won't happen.

    Do you love yourself? How do you express your love?
    I do love myself. I express it in the work I do. I don't settle for less for myself. I follow how my heart feels.

    What advice do you wish someone gave you before you became a mom?
    I wish they told me I'd never sleep again lol.

    What do you think makes being a woman special?
    Woman are the soul readers. That’s what makes us special. 

    Finish these sentences:
    Having a daughter: is magic.
    Being a mother: is divine.
    Women should: be allowed to be themselves and not be judged.
    Women can: do anything.
    Women will: be the leaders of this world.
    I am: a woman prepared to take on the world.  

     

     

    Faith, Daughter, Age 11.5

    What do you admire/love most about your mom? 
    My mom has the best hair, she cooks the best food ever and she's so encouraging. I'd say she's my hero.

    What is one thing you've learned from your mom?
    To not to throw a temper tantrum, how to clean my room and that I must go to school.

    What do you think makes being a woman special?
    We can be glamorous, we can relate to each other in many ways.

    What do you love about yourself most?
    I'm a good human being and a nice kid and I like to help others.

    Finish these sentences:

    Women can: do anything.
    Women will: follow their dreams.
    I am: worthy.

     

     

    Kennedy, Daughter, Age 9

    What do you admire/love most about your mom?
    We always go to different places, she's always respectful, caring and fair. She always gives us chances.

    What is one thing you've learned from your mom?
    Don't be mean to others. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

    What do you think makes being a woman special?
    Women are smart.

    What do you love about yourself most?
    I'm not disrespectful, bossy or mean and I'm good at following directions.

    Finish these sentences:

    Women can be: smart, fair, respectful, caring.
    Women will be: kind and nice.
    I am: smart and awesome.

     

     

    Mackenzie, Daughter, Age 6.5

    What do you admire/love most about your mom?
    She helps us get things done fast.

    What is one thing you've learned from your mom?
    Never tell a lie.

    What do you think makes being a woman special?
    Sometimes woman can learn things faster.

    What do you love about yourself most?
    I'm the highest in my computer reading program at school.

    Finish these sentences:

    Women can: wear pretty things.
    Women will: do the right thing.
    I am: going to be a star.

    Learn more about our tribe members:

    Lenea Sims
    Lenea Sims is a self-care writer and explorer who's infinitely curious about the ways we heal, cope, and thrive. She's also the founder of Gooey Girl – an online publication dedicated to celebrating the people, practices, and products we turn to for self-care and self-love. 

    Loretta Brazil
    Loretta Brazil is a mother, grandmother, and doctoral student of Depth Psychology. She has a passion for self-care, self-awareness, gaining ego strength and self-love. 

    Shyla Marie
    Shyla Marie founded Shyla Marie Photography in 2008 with the goal of turning her passion for photography and beauty into a thriving business. Along with running the studio and doing photoshoots, Shyla is a featured speaker and trainer, passionate about inspiring and guiding other women in pursuing their dreams of launching their own photography businesses. Outside of photography, Shyla is a singer/songwriter, actor, and mother of four alongside her husband, Mark.

     

     

    Just the Questions:

    DAUGHTER

    What do you admire/love most about your mom?

    What did you learn from your mom that has defined you as a woman?

    What do you think makes being a woman special?

    Do you love yourself? How do you express your love?

    What do you love about yourself most?

     

    Growing up, how did your mother practice self care and self love?

    If there was one gift you could give your mom - regardless of any boundary including time, reality, financials or anything else - what would it be?

    When you look within yourself, what do you carry as your mother's legacy? 

    Women should _______________

    Women can ________________

    Women will _______________

    I am ________________

    MOTHER

    What is your responsibility as a mother of a daughter?

    How did becoming a mother change you?

    How do you manage to give yourself “me time” with all of the responsibilities of being a mother?

    Do you love yourself? How do you express that love?

    What advice do you wish someone gave you before you became a mom?

    What do you think makes being a woman special?

    When it comes to your daughter, what do you: 

    dream about?

    worry about?

    work towards?

    How has your relationship with your mother impacted your relationship with your daughter?

    Growing up, how did your mother practice self care and self love?

    If there was one gift you could give your daughter - regardless of any boundary including time, reality, financials or anything else - what would it be?

    If you could change one thing about your approach to motherhood when your daughter was young, what would it be?

    Finish these sentence: 

    Having a daughter is _________________

    Being a mother is _________________

    Women should _______________

    Women can ________________

    Women will _______________

    I am ________________

     

    Awakening

    I took the breath. It was my first step.

    I let time slow. That was my next step. 

    I stopped rushing. Filling time. Feeling busy. Feeling full but empty and dull. 

    I closed my eyes. I looked in. I found it all. 

    Everything that had been brushed aside. 

    Overlooked.

    Unacknowledged. 

    My ME was there. 

    Patient. Waiting. There. All along. 

    I opened my eyes. My next step. 

    I let my ME lead. THE defining step.  

    The changes were subtle. They were extreme. 

    They were everything in between. 

     

    Mother of Dragons

    I spoke to my mom today to ask how my daughters are doing since I'm out of town and she’s taking care of them. She told me about how they used flowers pots to create a nook in the backyard where they can read books. She said, “It was completely their idea!” and of course it was. Because they are four. And they are still their untarnished, purest versions. They are full of good ideas and confidence and light and feelings they are feeling in real time.

    My job is not to crush them. To help them preserve their ME, to nurture their ideas, to witness their feelings and create space for them to dance with them. To teach them that self love is sacred, and self care is survival. To show them they are born whole and all the love they need is within their own hands. To model for them what it means for a woman to choose herself, each and every day.

    This is my job as a mother of girls. A mother of dragons. A mother of the future.

    The last guest to arrive

    11 pm. Everyone in the house asleep, except for me. And so, my anxiety invites herself into the room to keep me company. She takes what was the air and makes it into her pool. She does laps around the room and I hold my breath, submerged, paralyzed, at her whim. My anxiety is clever. She likes to play dress up. Sometimes she shows up disguised as spiders. Other times a man in the corner of the room. I'm asleep. I'm awake. I'm somewhere in between. She is with me everywhere. 

    I see her. I don't mean figuratively. She manifests herself and does whatever it takes to get my attention. She is screaming. "There's something going on. You're feeling something. You're uncomfortable about something. Please. Know yourself. Figure out what's wrong. Do something about it. Let me go." Because my anxiety, she doesn't want to be there either. Who wants to be the guest that's only invited when the party is over? She is the messenger. I do my best to embrace her (and in turn, fully embrace myself). Thank you anxiety. Thank you ME. 

    Soul Song

    I breathe

    My soul song slips into the room lingering

    On my elation.

    I let go

    And let in

    The enigmatic with open arms.

    I sleep

    And dream of moments like this one

    Where all is light and life is letting

    Me embrace

    ME.

    Amnesia

    I self impose amnesia

    To relieve myself of you.

    To make my way forward

    Without remembering a thing

    About you

    About us.

     

    But you can’t be forgotten: you existed, you still exist.

    And despite my pain, I’m still here, intact.

    More intact in fact than when you were here.

     

    So instead of forgetting,

    I must push myself to remember us honestly.

    Because honestly, you did not honor my ME.

    And when we were together, neither did I.

    So I choose to remember.

     

    Obsession

    There was a time, that my ME was drunk on obsession.

    Replaying old stories on repeat, until I shamed or blamed myself into oblivion.

    Starving myself of food and love and self acceptance.

    Consuming myself with judgment - from others, from myself.

    All the things that could have been done better.

    The body parts that should look better. Function better.

    The milestones that remain out of reach.

    The mistakes, the mistakes, the mistakes.

    My ME was high on these regrets. The insufficiency. The dreams deferred.

    But now my ME is sober.

    My ME creates space for the unknown.

    She can remember the past without being defined by it.

    She can manifest the future without being tied to it.

    She is present.

    She is peaceful.

    She is powerful.

    In bloom

    All the parts I locked away and neglected

    Are opening.

    I reveal myself to myself,

    And revel in myself.

    Turns out I am not a tight bud desperately trying to keep it all together.

    I am an open blossom who is ready to let it all go,

    And take it all in.

    Feeling It

    All the ways

    We try to avoid our pain

    When the only way through

    Is to feel it.

    My ME reminds me to feel.

    Self Love Queen

    I feel

    Like a Queen

    Living luxuriously

    Draped in a cloak

    Lined with my hope

    And adorned with my love

     

    View from the top

    I’ve put you a hill…

    More like a mountain.

    I’ve surrounded you with gardens and light

    That in the distance shimmering…

    Compel me to climb.

    I climb this woman-made incline

    This pedestal

    Fueled by the hope…

    Of one day reaching you

     

    And yet,

    The closer I get

    The more I see

    The more I realize

    Each garden a mirage

    Created by my love, so determined to find a place

    To plant and grow

     

    I reach you

    Atop my own personal Mt. Olympus

    And you stand

    And I stand

    And I, no longer craning my neck,

    Trying to distinguish your glory from the clouds…

    Realize that sometimes

    Mountains are really hills

    And hills are really plains…

    And the view is not always the best

    From the top.

     

    Love and loss

    Where does lost love go? Does it linger… a shadow on one’s heart that forever changes all future love? Does it burn away… inconsequential, forgotten? When a love is lost, abruptly cut short, can it still grow? Does it fill one’s heart and give her strength to continue, or is it a vacancy that swallows you whole?

    When I honor my ME, my love is constant. Even when love with another shifts away, love for myself remains. In periods of loss, my ME holds me steady. 

    The Beginning

    I feel it. The change I've been secretly hoping for, praying for, desperate for, I feel it. I've been in slow motion. That rut I fall into where I let my inspiration float away, dissipate, and seemingly die. But it didn't die. I am still here. That inspired person is who I am. It has merely been nesting, hibernating, waiting for me to realize that with each tick tock or click click every single important thing to me was receding, disappearing.

    I am going to reclaim my life. I am going to work hard, and live. Make every second about happiness, fulfillment, potential realized. I'm going to be ME again.