Self-love is often a solo journey, but Melody Godfred of Fred & Far jewelry is set on making it a movement to empower women to choose themselves and to do so loudly and proudly by wearing a symbol of self-love: the Self-Love Pinky Ring. This spring, I purchased a Self-Love Pinky Ring duo and was ecstatic when an entire community of self-lovers came with it.
Over the past decade, I have purchased two other self-love rings as reminders to put myself first—but there is something markedly different about purchasing a ring solo versus joining an entire movement and purchasing a self-love ring in solidarity with others.
Starting the Self-Love Journey Solo
I’ve always loved hard. The bad thing about loving so hard, though, is I always fall hard, too, when things are over. I’ve had a few key relationships that have really done me in when they ended. The problem was in my approach to love. I sometimes give too much of myself to others, leaving too little for me. So, when things end, I can find myself lost, having forgotten the core of who I am, or having given too much of myself away in compromise.
It was in heartbreak that I realized I needed to love myself more. Without love and compassion for ourselves, we are not prepared to love someone else. “Self love fuels all love,” Melody Godfred says. YAS, GIRL.
It was 2012 when I started on my own self-love journey. I was struggling after a breakup to find myself and my joy. I needed a change and made it my mission to treat myself like I treated my past partners: with utmost reverence and adoration. I took myself on dates, relishing opportunities to sit at a cafe, sipping a latte solo or explore a new restaurant or gallery. I strolled through parks, marveling at the beauty around me—and within. And I “surprised” myself with simple pleasures, like chocolate truffles or a glass of moscato and a movie. It was a slow process, but over the years, I’ve come to truly love myself. Some of the things I have done are just incredible—I love how I can constantly reinvent myself. I love my drive, and beauty, and passion. I finally love me, and I never want to lose that.
That year (2012), I decided to make my self-love commitment formal, with a self-love ring. Much like an engagement ring, a self-love ring is a token of commitment… but instead of to another, it’s a commitment to oneself.
I hadn’t exactly planned on buying a self-love ring, but I was visiting Palo Alto, California and happened upon a vintage diamond ring (pictured above, left) at a charming little antique store. The ring immediately called out to me and became a symbol of hope and self-commitment. I wore it daily until 2015, when I was married and a much larger cluster of diamonds outshined it. I put my self-love ring away and marveled at my engagement ring instead. Of course, I still loved my self-love ring, but the engagement ring put it to shame with a stunning diamond and diamond halo. So, I tucked my self-love ring away and rarely wore it.
I wish someone had told me that I should have held space for my much more modest self-love ring, because two years later, that marriage ended, and the engagement ring no longer belonged on my finger. I was left feeling lonely and stripped—and in need of love, a love I could have given myself if I had continued to cultivate self-love on a daily basis.
Instead, I found myself in an identity crisis. I had staked my future on a life that would no longer come to be. And my dinky self-love ring sat in my jewelry box, unloved. Every time I looked at it, I could only feel shame that the most spectacular and beautiful ring I had ever owned was bought for me, by someone who no longer held a place in my life. Not even the engagement ring was a part of my life anymore, as I had given it back out of respect.
So, in 2018, I designed a ring that was a grander showcase of my love for myself, something that would stay with me forever, that I would never feel ashamed to don. It was a yellow sapphire in yellow gold with a diamond halo (pictured above, right). This is my beauty—it is my most prized possession. It is a symbol of my resilience and radiance—it is a reminder that I can do anything, and that I will do so with or without company. I am a strong, capable woman; I love myself; and I wear this ring as a symbol of my self-love and self-worth.
Finding a Self-Love Community
Fast-forward to 2021. I needed a revival. I had made another love mistake. So typical. But this time, it was during a global pandemic. These are not times for romantic self-dates and weekend solo trips. No, no, no. For the safety of all, we’ve all stayed cooped inside when possible. (Thank goodness for essential workers who have kept the world turning. My gratitude if that is you, dear reader.)
Nevertheless, breaking up during a pandemic feels like losing love and having no community to turn to. I couldn’t grab a drink with my bestie or sweat it out in yoga class. Instead, I was trapped in my house and my head, with only virtual hangouts, chats, and my cats to get me by. (And my cats had better things to do!)
Fortunately, though, I was armed with a decade of self-love practice. I hit an all-time mental health low, but bounced back quicker than ever before when I realized it was time to double down on self-love and self-care. I got myself to therapy, took time off from work, and focused on myself.
As part of my breakup recovery, I also decided to purchase a Self-Love Pinky Ring duo from Fred & Far, a company I had come to admire, headed by visionary Melody Godfred. By coincidence, I had purchased Godfred’s book Self Love Poetry for Thinkers and Feelers and was stunned when I realized the author was also the founder of Fred & Far (which I had been following for the better part of a year).
I had already been considering a Self-Love Pinky Ring, but I found a kindred spirit in Godfred through her book, and the fact that she owns a jewelry company. (I, too, am writing a book of reflective, biographic poetry, and I, too, own a jewelry company!)
So, I reached out to see if Fred & Far could customize a ring duo for me. While the classic Self-Love Pinky Ring features a lab-created white sapphire in up to 14K gold, I wanted to choose center stones that were more of a fit for me, and I rarely wear gold at below 18K purity. Godfred herself answered on Instagram, and she confirmed they could do a custom 18K setting and had many other stones to choose from. We landed on a beautiful duo for me: one features strawberry quartz, while the other features gold rutilated quartz. Unlike diamonds (and white sapphire), which are valued for being flawless, quartz are most beautiful when they feature unique inclusions (a.k.a. flaws)… like each of us! Godfred hand-selected a beautiful combination of quartz and set off to customize my rings. I was over the moon to meet the woman who not only started this inspiring Self-Love Movement, but also wrote a book with brilliant structure, full of empowering words.
As a flawed human, the quartz stones sit well with me as symbols of self. Why be flawless when we can be flawed and beautiful? My self-love isn’t just about treating myself and reveling in my strengths, it’s about working on my flaws, and simultaneously recognizing the beauty in them. My flaws have carried me thus far, and they’ve also enabled some of my greatest adventures—and lessons—in life.
Self-love looks a lot different from a decade ago, though. What I love most about my Fred & Far experience is that I’ve now joined a self-love community. Self-love is no longer a lonely endeavor. It is a movement fueled by impassioned, empowered women who are choosing themselves and doing so daily. With the symbol of a Self-Love Pinky Ring, we are committing to be, love, and choose ourselves. And we can find solidarity in that.
A Call for Wearing Your Self-Love on Your Sleeve
I want to live in a world where every person is inspired to love themselves, and encouraged to wear that love on their sleeve.
I am a fan of rings, and so a self-love ring really resonates with me. Others, however, may be more drawn to other self-love tokens, such as tattoos, necklaces, or pocket-sized mementos.
Regardless of the form it takes, a self-love token is a powerful way to refocus energy when you’re feeling overextended or depleted from the outside world. We give so much to others; we should keep a reserve for ourselves.
I am excited to have a collection of self-love rings that remind me to take time for me—and I am doubly excited to now be a part of the Fred & Far community, where I stand strong with other women taking a self-love vow.
As the lyrics in Bea Miller and 6BLACK’s “it’s not u it’s me” self-love anthem state: “Self-love ain’t selfish.”
So, get out there and love yourself, ladies! And don’t be afraid to wear your self-love on your sleeve… or your finger.