The ABCs of self-love

Presented by Melody Godfred, The Self Love Philosopher and Author of Self Love Poetry at Simon & Schuster

Who is Melody Godfred?

A self love philosopher, poet, and author, readers have called Melody Godfred’s work life-changing pandemic medicine and part of their everyday ritual. 

She started her career as a litigation attorney, and soon founded Write in Color, a full-service resume and career development company that helped transform the careers of hundreds of women. 

In 2016, Melody invited women to wear the Self Love Pinky Ring and make a pinky promise to choose themselves. Within just six months, the self love movement had spread across the globe, with women in over 40 countries saying yes to themselves.

What started with a ring became a global self love movement with her company Fred and Far. Through Fred and Far, she began writing poetry to inspire moments of self-awareness, love, and care, which gave rise to the collection ‘Self Love Poetry: For Thinkers & Feelers.

Melody Godfred was kind enough to join the Within Health Summit to present her recent work, “The ABCs of Self Love,” and the importance of living as your authentic self.

What is self love?

“Self love is a daily commitment to honor your authentic self.”

Self love can have different meanings to different people, but essentially it means having a high regard for your own well-being and joy. It can mean putting yourself first and not settling for less than you deserve.

The cycle of self love

The cycle of self love has four main steps:

  1. Self-discovery: Getting to know your true, most authentic self
  2. Self-care: Nurturing and honoring your true self with your time and commitment
  3. Self-acceptance: You know, accept, and care for all parts of yourself, both good and bad.
  4. Self-worth: You own your worth and feel whole within yourself.

What is your authentic self?

Each person experiences a duality between their ego-driven self and their essence-driven self. Our ego-driven self is typically fueled by external validation and the quest to meet society’s expectations. Our essence-driven self is fueled by internal validation and sees achievement as simply being your authentic self.

“True growth is not born of moving on a linear timeline but of going deeper within and getting closer to your authentic self.”

The ABCs of self love

‘The ABCs of Self Love’ is a self-guided journal that features a unique blend of inspiration, education, and action to make self love part of your daily life. There is a lesson to learn with each letter of the alphabet. The beautifully illustrated self love workbook uses real-life examples, poetry, and journal prompts to take you on a journey of self-discovery.

You’ll learn foundational self love concepts, including authenticity, forgiveness, boundaries, and progress over perfection. Plus, ‘The ABCs of Self Love’ will help show you how to let go of shame, self-doubt, and regret, so you can love yourself as you are.

Take a look at some of the ABCs from ‘The ABCs of Self Love’ and some of the book's key messages.

‘A’ is for authenticity

“When you stand naked before yourself stripped of guilt and shame, expectations and regrets, the person you will see before you is your authentic self.”

Your authentic self never leaves you; it’s always with you. One of Melody’s favorite ways to stay connected to the authentic self is to use a childhood picture as your phone or computer background image. Every time you see the smiling, carefree picture of yourself, you’ll be reminded of your authentic self.

Ways to honor your authentic self daily

There are four ways you can honor your authentic self daily. Practice these methods, and over time they will become an instinctual part of your daily life.

1. Thoughts

‘Q’ is for question negativity

“I’m made of trillions of cells. I’m done letting one negative thought make all of them suffer.”

You can choose your own thoughts. You don’t need to let your one negative thought overrule all of the others. Remove the things from your life that inspire negativity, be it a person with a toxic influence or social media profiles that make you feel less than.

2. Feelings

‘E’ is for emotional empowerment

“All the ways we try to avoid our pain when the only way through is to feel it.”
The feelings wheel

The feelings wheel is a simple yet effective tool for helping you to understand why you feel the way you do by discovering the root cause of your emotions. Or you can use the feelings wheel to inspire emotions in yourself, e.g., if you want to feel joy, you could try doing something daring, or if you want to feel powerful, you could do an activity that makes you feel worthwhile.

3. Actions

‘D’ is for daily dream

“Dreams only come true if you have them.”

Dreaming is a way to connect and honor your authentic self. Your ego-driven has what it needs with your to-do list, but your essence needs sustenance too. Dreaming is like a to-do list for your essence, so remember to make time in your day to dream. Write down your dreams in a journal as a reminder of all the things you want to do that will bring you joy. 

4. Intuition

‘I’ is for intuition

“Intuition is the voice of your authentic self.”

What is intuition? Melody sees intuition as a deep knowing from your essence, which emerges when you eliminate the things that get in its way.

Everyone has an intuition, but in some people, it can be quiet, but there are ways to wake it up, including:

  • A daily digital detox: Set a time every day when you spend an hour away from your devices.
  • Take a shower: A shower is a safe place that provides a relaxed state, a distracted mind, and a hit of dopamine to inspire creativity and idea formation (1).
  • Meditate: Create a quiet space, see what comes, or choose some mantras that nourish and empower.
  • Listen to music: Losing yourself in music helps you get out of your thoughts.
  • Walk or dance: Perfectly paired with music, movement is good for the soul.
  • Journal: You could use a self-guided journal (like The ABCs of Self-Love) to help on your journey to self love. Or, you could spend five minutes a day getting your thoughts down on paper, which is a great way to let go of worries and stressors, but also to remind you of the joys of the day.
  • Gardening: Incredibly healing, gardening has been shown to reduce stress, promote feelings of accomplishment and self-esteem, and boost psychological well-being (2).

‘M’ is for movement

“When I can’t move my mind, I move my body. When I can’t move my body, I move my mind. Either way, movement heals.”

Years of evidence have demonstrated how good movement is for your mental health. If you’re not one for traditional exercise, you might find that music fuels your movement. Create a ‘Happy Thoughts’ playlist to help you get out of your head and into your body. Music and movement help you to live in the moment, activating your intuition.

‘K’ is for know your narrative

“You are the only you who will ever exist. One of one. Without a single replica, past, present, or future. This is no accident.”

Your narrative is your story, the story you were born to tell, the reason why you are here. So, you’re probably thinking, if we are here for a reason, what about nurture? According to Melody’s book, your authentic self is not about nurture or nature. It’s about recognizing who you are, learning why you’re here, and creating a life that aligns with who you are rather than in opposition. 

Nurture your nature through self love and self care, and live up to your purpose and values. As you learn to love who you are, remember, “I am not for everyone. I am for me.”

‘B’ is for boundaries

“Boundaries aren’t about what you say no to. They’re about what you make space for.”

Boundaries are not always about saying no; they are more about making space for yourself and understanding your self-worth so you can say “yes” on your terms. 

One place where boundaries come in particularly useful is with social media. Make social media a safer place for yourself by unfollowing the social media accounts that inspire negative thoughts and emotions.

Plus, when you engage with uplifting content that makes you feel good, social media algorithms will show you more of the same, flooding your feeds with positivity and joy.

The reward for loving yourself

Self love is such a wonderful thing. It empowers you to:

  • Discover your authentic self
  • Know your narrative
  • Nurture your nature
  • Question negativity
  • Feel your feelings
  • Dream Daily
  • Listen to your intuition
  • Move your mind and body

‘J’ is for joy

“Do you dare to get vulnerable enough to tolerate joy, or are you merely dress-rehearsing tragedy?” - Brené Brown

One of the key rewards for loving yourself is allowing joy into your life and experiencing real joy every day. 

Although “happiness” and “joy” are used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. Happiness is usually fleeting, circumstantial, and everchanging. It’s typically achievement-based, safe, and derived from the external. By contrast, joy is foundational, deep, and consistent. It is worth-based, brave, and derived internally. 

One method Melody shares for bringing joy into your life is creating a Joy List. Every time you feel a “ping” of happiness—big or small—write it down on your joy list. When you feel a little flat and need a boost, read from your Joy List to return to that youthful mindset. With a Joy List, your Joy is always waiting for you.

The ABCs of Self Love and Melody Godfred’s other works are available wherever good books are sold.


  1. Torrence, E. (2018, January 24). Why it matters that your best ideas come in the shower. Thin Difference. Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  2. The British Psychological Society. (2020, May 22). Cultivating well-being and Mental Health Through Gardening. BPS. Retrieved March 2, 2023.