Selina: Hello and welcome to the Project Love Podcast. I'm Selina Barker.
Vicki: I'm Vicki Pavitt.
Selina: In these podcasts, we explore what it takes to create a life, relationship, and career you love.
Vicki: Not just one that looks good on the outside, but one that feels good on the inside. I am so excited about today's podcast episode, because last week I got to interview Melody Godfred, founder of Fred and Far. We had such an inspiring conversation. You just listened to it, didn't you?
Selina: Oh my God. She's absolutely amazing. It's great to hear a woman who is overseas, so strong, such an achiever, such a go-getter, that's gone on a journey to hitting a bit of a crisis point in her life, realizing what was missing was self-love, and just really finding her way back to herself. Oh God, she's so wise. She has so much to teach on the topic of self-love.
We've been following her pretty much since she began. Absolutely love what she's doing, what she's putting out into the world, and I literally could have listened to her all day long. She's just so motivating and inspiring. It's a relief listening to her. It's like, "Okay, this can be done, and there isn't any room for friction in this journey". Really cool.
Vicki: I came away feeling so full of love after talking to her. If you haven't come across them before, then you're in for such a treat today. Fred and Far is a self-love movement that's empowering women all over the world. It started with a Self Love Pinky Ring as a symbol for women to choose themselves, and love themselves each and every day. I can't wait for you to hear this podcast episode. We're going to be talking all about the power and importance of self-love. Here it is.
Vicki: To kick things off, could you tell us about you're own self-love journey, and how Fred and Far came to be?
Melody Godfred: Of course. Self-love isn't a word that I had ever heard, until I became an adult. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I was raised by women who believed more in self-sacrifice than self-love. I learned that my worth wasn't contingent on how I was aligned with my true self. My worth was contingent on how much I could do and how much I could care for others.
By the time I reached 30, I was very good at taking care of others. I was also very good at accumulating the labels and accomplishments, that I thought I needed to accumulate in order to be a valuable, happy person. I pursued a law degree and became an attorney, I started a business, I became a wife, I became a mother, I had my own home. I had all the things that I thought I needed in order to be happy.
It was incredibly jarring when I realized despite having it all, I wasn't happy. I knew I needed to do something bold, in order to reconnect with myself, and rebalance my life. To have such a beautiful life, and to not actually enjoy it, and be in it, was a critical problem.
Jewelry in my family has always been something we've used to commemorate important milestones. I thought, "You know what, I'm going to get a ring, and I'm going to wear it on a finger I've never worn a ring on before. Every time I look at it, I'm going to use it as a reminder of my commitment to myself. I'm going to use it to remind myself that every single day, I owe it to myself to practice self-love, self-care, and to explore myself, so that I can build a life that's aligned with my most authentic version of myself."
That's what I did. Within 30 days of wearing my very own first Self Love Pinky Ring, I noticed such a profound shift not just in terms of how I felt internally, but also in terms of how my relationships were faring. Most interestingly, when I thought I was doing such a good job of sacrificing myself, and taking care of everyone else, I had actually damaged a lot of my relationships, because I didn't leave any space for anyone else to be themselves, or do their best.
In stepping back and taking care of myself, my relationships really flourished. When I saw the impact of making myself and self-love a priority, I thought that I could help other women do the same by launching a company that really committed to these values. I set out, and designed the very first Self Love Pinky Ring. That was about three years ago. Now, I'm so proud that women around the world have made this commitment, wear this ring as a symbol of their self belonging, and are making self-love and self care words that kids today are hearing, not for the first time as adults, but during their formative years, when they're deciding who they're going to be.
Vicki: I love the language about choosing yourself, and how it's very much a part of your mission, empowering women to choose themselves. Can you talk to us a little bit about what that means?
Melody: If you bring up the word engagement ring, people immediately understand that when a woman is given this ring, she has been chosen, that another person has decided that they are worthy, that they are special, that they are magical, that they are the most wonderful person on the planet, and worthy of a lifetime commitment. That is what an engagement ring symbolizes, and we all know that.
We make judgment calls all day long. When we see women walking down the street with an engagement ring, we have a positive judgment. What about ourselves? Why don't we commit to ourselves in that same way? Why don't we realize that it's not a default? We don't automatically just love ourselves, know how to take care of ourselves, and think that we are the most special, magical people worthy of a lifetime commitment.
Really, the purpose of this ring, and the idea of choosing yourself is, that same passion and commitment that goes into deciding you want to spend your life with someone else, why can't that be turned inwards, so that you can choose yourself? It sounds like a novelty, but it really changes your whole perspective and daily experience when you recognize that you are worthy of your own love and attention.
Vicki: You're already creating a movement, a self-love movement that empowers women all over the world to choose themselves, and to love themselves each and every day, which is absolutely incredible. You must get so many stories of women all over the world, sharing how the ring has supported them, empowered them, and how self-love has really changed their lives. Could you share some of those with us?
Melody: Absolutely. I think what makes this ring so powerful is that it is not limited to a specific type of woman. It is not a ring for single women. It is not a ring for feminists. It is not a ring for divorcees. It is not a ring for young women or old women. It is a ring for every woman. As a result, the stories of the women who have found themselves through this experience of choosing themselves, are so diverse and so powerful.
No two are alike, which is something that I am super passionate about, this idea that we are all one of one, and that we are all capable of making a unique contribution to the world. Hearing the stories of the women in our community has really reinforced that idea. We've had women who come to us who have been battling life-threatening diseases, from cystic fibrosis to a very interesting illness that I had never heard about, that's like when you get water in your brain.
It's just things you would never think of, that people have to deal with on a daily basis. Having this ring has allowed them to find strength within themselves as they go into surgery number two, three, or four. Women who are widowed, or divorced later in life, who had spent their lives devoted to taking care of other people, whose entire identities were defined as wives and mothers, who now in their 50s and 60s have decided that, "You know what? For the first time in my life I am ready to actually be my own."
We had a woman who bought a ring for her mother because her husband had, after 27 years of marriage, asked for a divorce through a text message. She sent me a picture of her mom's hand without her wedding ring on for the first time in 27 years. You could see the mark that her wedding ring had left on her hand. It was permanent. Yet now, she had this pinky ring right next to it, and with such pride she was beaming, that even though that chapter of her life was ending, a new, more exciting one was beginning.
The ring really helped her reframe what this next chapter of her life was going to be about. Instead of being abandoned, she had reclaimed herself. Again, no two stories are alike. We've had women in countries where women are oppressed, whether it's in the Middle East, or in South America, where a woman who isn't married by the time she's 27 is damaged goods. They have found the ring as a source of validation that they are still worthy. Even though their society doesn't understand them, that doesn't matter.
I could go on and on. This is the part of our community that I'm most passionate about, witnessing and celebrating the individual stories of the women who join us. That's why on our website, on our blog, we have a tab called Our Tribe, and we share as many of those stories as we can. If you read through it, you'll see that no two stories are alike, but yet each one is independently so profoundly powerful, and inspiring.
Vicki: Wow. It shows you that there are these individual stories, but there's such a common theme for how people can go on a journey of discovering their self-worth in a way that they've never experienced before. Than, what that can then enable them to do and be, in the world. How they then are able to show up more in their relationships, or at work. We did a 28 Days of Love campaign back in 2016. One of the things that somebody shared with us was in practicing self-love, so doing one act of love a day, every day.
They had the confidence to ask for a promotion at work where they never felt like they could before. It's the power of that, just 28 days of practicing self-love, everybody flexing the self-love muscle.
Melody: It's funny you mention that. Just last week, I got a message from someone on Instagram who said, "You know what, I quit my job today, because they weren't treating me the right way." That took incredible guts. She said that having our Instagram community really helped her realize that it was the right thing for her. The second part of the story that's even better is that within days, she got second and third round interviews for two other opportunities. She had never in her life been called back for an opportunity of that magnitude.
It was an immediate pay-off of her choosing herself. She chose herself. She walked into the future, even though it was uncertain, with such trust in herself, and she immediately got a better opportunity. That's really one of the things that happens when you choose yourself. It is, the future goes from being this thing that is scary and uncertain, to something that is full of opportunity, because once you trust yourself, the universe acts in accordance, and really supports you in that.
Vicki: We see this time and time again in our Get Ready for Love community. We have an online journey called Get Ready for Love that helps people on their dating journey. We hear this all the time of women saying, "When I started the course, I felt alone, I felt desperate to find somebody. I had this sense of urgency around finding a partner." Upon the end of the course, they just started to relax about the whole thing. They just knew they had this trust that, of course, it was going to happen for them. It's not a case of ‘if,’ it's ‘when’ it's going to happen for them. They just don't feel in such a hurry anymore.
Then of course, they go on to enjoy dating more, because they're relaxed, they're able to enjoy it, and have fun. Then, they notice that who they are then attracting, is different. When you start to really cultivate a loving relationship with yourself, who you attract changes in parallel. People are finding that they're not attracting in the unavailable people, the ones that are not ready to commit, the ones that aren't looking for a relationship, which is amazing. It's like clearing that space for something new, for something better. You have to, first of all, believe that you are worthy of that.
Melody: I'm experiencing something in parallel to that, because it's been three years since we started Fred and Far. Now, a lot of the women who bought a Self Love Pinky Ring in those early months, I now see are getting engaged. I follow all of them on Instagram. I follow every customer, I follow everyone I can who believes in our mission. It's been so incredible to see that a lot of them, for example, will wear their engagement ring alongside their Self Love Pinky Ring. They'll message me and say, "You know what? Me choosing myself is what opened the door to this relationship."
I always say that self-love fuels all love. I've really been able to witness that this year with our Tribe members getting engaged and married. It's been so beautiful to witness.
Vicki: Wow. That's absolutely incredible. We've seen the same. We're in our fifth year now. We just celebrated five years back in September. We're seeing the impact of this now, of people going on their own self-love journeys. Regardless of the change that we help people to make, whether they come to us to find love, to find a career that they love, or just to lead a happy and fulfilled life, no matter what the change is, self-love is really at the heart of everything that we do.
We're now seeing that impact. There are people sharing stories of getting engaged, moving in with a partner, going on to start families, or just women discovering self-love. They've never experienced that love towards themselves before and how liberating and how empowering that is.
Melody: Exactly. I always say, "I'll love myself, you love yourself and with that wholeness, we will love each other."
Vicki: I love that. That's beautiful. We were talking a little bit before we hit record about the difference between intellectually knowing the importance of self-love than the practical ways that people can practice self-love on a daily basis. Make it super easy to implement. Tell us how you practice self-love and then talk to us about the book as well.
Melody: Well, the book is called The ABCs of Self Love. It's basically how I practice self-love and everything I've learned through this movement in 26 little micro chapters–one letter for each value that associates with self-love. It's in alphabetical order. It's super easy to read and has a little activity. The inspiration behind the book was exactly what you bring up. It's really easy to tell someone, "Go love yourself, go choose yourself," and everyone can agree that those are good things. The bigger question is how, how do I love myself? This is something I think everyone struggles with.
Even if you're committed to an ideal, putting that into practice in a way that works for you is easier said than done. A lot of times, people get so disheartened that they don't know how, that they give up. This book was really my attempt to make it actionable in a very easy bite-size way on a daily basis. Some of the ideas that are in there are ones that I really count on, on a daily basis through my own self-love and self-care practice.
I'll give you a few examples. Boundaries is B, and boundaries are something that have absolutely revolutionized my life. I have two companies, Fred and Far, and I also have another company as well, that I've had for almost 10 years. I have three children, I have a husband, I have friends, I have family that I'm incredibly close to. If I don't set ground rules for myself, I drown.
I know now that I do not check my work emails once I'm home with my kids, because I know that it clouds my brain. I don't have the time to deal with it, they feel neglected, and I feel guilty. It creates this cycle of pain for everyone. It was as simple as just setting a boundary. No emails after 6:00 PM. It was hard at first, and now it's liberating. I don't even notice the notifications. I am so committed to that boundary, because I know that my wellness depends on it. That's a very practical thing.
It's just recognizing where your limits are and honoring it. Then on the flipside, setting positive boundaries, knowing when to say yes. A positive boundary is, if my kids say to me, "Can you read me a book? or, can you give me a foot massage before bed?" which is something I do for them, I say yes to that. I know that it's going to make me feel whole, and connected to my kids. Without that feeling, I cycle into guilt, and being a bad mother. It's knowing when to say yes, and it's knowing when to say no. That's how boundaries have really changed my life.
Another thing that is something that people can immediately start doing is recognizing that our thought patterns are optional. Regardless of what happens to us, how we think about things is our choice. Part of choosing yourself is recognizing which thoughts you want to entertain, and which ones you want to send away. I'm somebody who naturally is inclined to worry. I'm a worrier.
I feel like it's ingrained in my DNA. When things happen, I oftentimes have this instinctual negative response. I've learned to catch those thoughts, challenge myself to reframe, and wonder if there is a way I can think about this thing that's happening, in a more positive light. In doing that, I have relieved myself of the burden of fear, of doubt, of so many different feelings that used to weigh me down on a daily basis.
I've liberated myself by just recognizing that in any given moment, if a thought doesn't feel right in my body, if it's causing me pain or trauma, I can choose a different one. In the book, we talk about that in two different chapters. One is choosing happy thoughts, and another is questioning negativity. If we're surrounded by people who are negative and have a negative perception of the world, that's invariably going to imbue our vision of the world as well.
One thing people can do in this very moment, as they're listening to their podcast, is look at the relationships that are around you, whether it's the real-life relationships, or the social media accounts you're connected to, or follow. If they're negative, or if they evoke negativity in you ask, yourself why are these people or accounts in your life? If it feels bad, let it go, and let it go today. These are just a few things that I practice on a daily basis, and that have made a huge difference in my life.
Vicki: I love that. Just going back to boundaries is such a big one. I was on my way to come and record the podcast, and one of my friends was telling me how he had to stand up for himself in an email. We were like, "Boundaries." Both had that knowing look. He is like, "Yes, I'm learning." I was like, "Me too. We're all learning." We're all on this evolving, learning journey of what you will and won't tolerate. How to then communicate that to other people. Then sometimes, it's being okay with the fact that maybe people will be disappointed by the fact that you can't respond to that email in that time. That's okay, and being okay with that.
What I've found is that when you respect your own boundaries, you then invite other people to also respect your boundaries, but it has to come from you.
Melody: It's so funny. I have also found that people actually expect a lot less than what I'm delivering. I have such a high personal standard and I hold myself to just-- You wouldn't even believe the things I do sometimes. In doing less, nobody's actually been disappointed. I have always assumed that if I didn't do my highest highest, best best best in every given moment, that everyone around me would be angry, upset, customers, family.
I've realized that I can actually do less, and everyone will be fine. That's been really revolutionary. I think, sometimes that comes with being an introvert. My inner world is so robust that sometimes, I forget that the external world isn't necessarily as intense. I can just take it easy a little bit, and everything will be fine.
Vicki: It's like going a little bit out of your comfort zone. For some people, putting on an out of office at six o'clock, or deciding that you're not going to reply to emails after six o'clock, could feel very very scary. It's like, "Okay. Well, how much out of your comfort zone is that? If that's, say, 50% out of your comfort zone, then, what could you do that's maybe 10-15%?" Just start small and then incrementally build up from there until you really start to practice this.
Melody: So much of it has to do with forming habits. If you say like, "I want to run a marathon," you're not going to walk, buy some shoes, walk out the door and run a marathon. You're going to train. You're going to do it little by little. You're going to make incremental improvement. You're going to see if it feels good for your body to run a certain way, you're going to adjust yourself.
When you're thinking about self-love and self-care, it's the same kind of long-game commitment you're making. Every day, you make little incremental shifts, little incremental gains, on your road, because self-love, as you've noted, is a journey. It's not a destination. As long as you wake up in the morning, and you start your day with the right mindfulness about the place and space you deserve in your own existence, that's really going to inform everything that follows.
That's why the ring was such a big deal when we first came up with it, is because it created mindfulness. Every time you look at your hand, you had no choice but to think about this issue. Creating cues for ourselves, whether it's wearing the ring on your pinky, or setting an alert in your phone, you can create habits that help you achieve a really healthy mind-body-soul balance that's infused with self-love and worth.
Vicki: What you focus on expands, so having that symbol to help you to remind you of your intention to choose yourself, it's like, "Okay. That intention's there." Then, you're more likely to notice if you're maybe forgetting to choose yourself. Then, you can always return, return to love, return to that space of self-love, and course correct, rather than giving ourselves a hard time if we then veer off track, and then we're in a very fearful place again. We can always come back to that loving place.
Melody: Exactly. You bring up one important point, which is, perfection is not only non-existent, it is never the goal. It's not something we should ever try to chase. What we should chase is authenticity. Everyone has a different authentic experience. If you can be connected to yourself, and choose what is true to you, you're going to be happy, you're going to be fulfilled. You're going to experience a life that isn't in opposition with your true nature. A lot of times, we seek perfection, which is other, instead of seeking authenticity, which is ourselves.
Vicki: Boundaries is such a key element of that. When you are establishing boundaries, and you're saying, "That works for me, but that doesn't work for me," that's really all about being authentic, just being honest. It sends a really positive message for everyone to relax, take the pressure off yourself, just embrace our imperfections, and that we're all doing our best.
Melody: You just brought up something that's super important, which is, compassion. I had a period of time where I was really struggling in one of my relationships. The reason I was struggling is, I felt like nothing I ever did was good enough for the other person. I constantly felt like I was letting them down, making mistakes, and I actually went to a therapist to discuss this issue. Once I'd finished describing our dynamic, she looked at me and said, "Oh my, I'm so sorry."
I thought she was sorry for me. She said, "No. I'm sorry for her. Because if she's this hard on you, imagine how hard she is on herself." That floored me because that was the truth. This person was exponentially harder on herself than she ever was on me. In realizing that, having compassion, and holding space for her, I not only was able to heal myself, I was able to heal the relationship, and open the door towards this person healing herself, by just telling her, "I see how hard you are on yourself. I love you. It's okay. You don't have to be so hard on yourself."
Everything changed with an ounce of compassion and perspective. These are the things that happen when you start thinking a little bit more mindfully about how you're feeling, the relationships you're in, how you want to exist on this planet. We have choices. That's really-- When you choose yourself, it's recognizing there is so much choice that you have in terms of how you want to live, how you want to feel, and how you want to make an impact on the world.
Vicki: Imagine the impact of everybody, the whole world, practicing self-love, treating themselves like a friend, and talking to themselves like a friend–with love and support–what the world could look like.
Melody: I think the world needs it now more than ever. I think the old way isn't working. I think that there is this energy that's swelling, this more feminine energy. I'm really excited to see what comes of it, because the future depends on it.
Vicki: You have a very big mission I spotted on your Website actually–“self-love and sisterhood will save the planet.” I just love that.
Melody: I believe that and I've experienced it. I see the trickle down effect, because it starts with us healing ourselves as women, bonding together, and joining forces. Then, it trickles down to all the future women that we are helping raise, that we are helping teach, that we are modeling for. When my daughters who are six years old, talk about who they love, they include themselves on that list. Can you imagine? Imagine going into your adolescence and your adulthood from a place of self-love.
Vicki: Just thinking about schools, if this is taught at that level, the impact of that.
Melody: The quote that inspired my book is, "So many years of education, yet no one ever taught us to love ourselves, or why it's so important." That's an anonymous quote that's been circling the web for years. When I read it, I thought to myself, "You're right, we need to educate ourselves, and our children." One of the things I'm working on, hopefully that'll be done this year, is I want to take The ABCs of Self Love and adapt it for younger girls, so that it can be something that, at the age of seven or eight, these girls can start practicing self-love and self-care, so that they go into the hardest years of their lives with a really strong sense of self.
Being a teenager was hard for me 20 years ago. I can't even imagine how hard it'll be now, in the era of smartphones and social media.
Vicki: Putting it into the ABCs as well, it just makes it super accessible for people to understand it, but also then to practice it. These small 26 ways that you can practice it, that's so exciting. I will put a link to the book so that you guys can go buy it. I feel I could talk to you all day. I'm conscious that you've just started your day. Melody is over in L.A., so I will ask you one final question if that's all right.
Vicki: Talk was about the future of Fred and Far. You talked to us about the book. Is there anything else on the agenda, or anything else that you want to share with us?
Melody: It's interesting question. I feel like I'm at a very transitional moment with Fred and Far because when I started this company, I had no experience in jewelry. Self-love was something I, myself, was just starting to explore. By the grace of the women of this world, who helped us get a strong launch and helped us go viral around the world, we became a full-fledged business, seemingly, overnight. The heart of that business was the Self Love Pinky Ring.
Now that I've gotten into it a few years, and I'm realizing more and more that what I'm most passionate about is the actionable items of self-love, the content, and the experiences that help women, take this idea, and turn it into something that's a part of everyday. What I see as the future of Fred and Far is more content, more books, more experiences that help women not just make a one time purchase, that'll help them get on the road, but a lot of support and a lot of community, so that everyday becomes a day that is filled with self awareness, self-love, self-care, and self-worth. I see more books coming and I'm very excited about that.
Vicki: So am I. Oh my God, it's amazing. I love that it started with the ring as the symbol. I just love your mission, and the movement, that you've created, of women all over the world. It's just absolutely incredible.
Melody: Thank you. Well, I'm here because of you, and every single woman who just resonated with, who chose herself, in her own way. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to witness women around the world and to get to know them. I'm so grateful that I get to do that on a daily basis. I'll just leave with this, that if anybody wants to connect, DM me on Instagram @fredandfar. I manage the account personally, I respond to every message. I want to be there for you, and I want to know you. Just reach out, start your journey, and let's see where it takes us.
Vicki: Your Instagram is just packed full of empowering and inspiring messages of support and love. Do go and check out Fred and Far's Instagram. What's your handle? Is it @fredandfar?
Melody: Yes. It's @fredandfar.
Vicki: Okay, perfect. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. I've absolutely loved it. I'm so glad. After first getting in touch with you back in 2016, we've managed to come together and have this podcast discussion. Thank you so much.
Melody: Thank you, I'm so grateful. Congratulations on five years. It's incredible act of service, this beautiful community you've cultivated.
Vicki: Thank you.
Selina: You've been listening to the Project Love podcast. We really hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, then come and subscribe on iTunes, and we'll deliver each new episode straight to your device.
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Selina and Vicki: Thank you.