Gala Darling: The Woman Behind “Radical Self-Love”

We are delighted and excited to talk to you about a women, book, and self-love mind set that we just can’t get enough of. Gala Darling and her book Radical Self-Love have inspired us beyond words, and we were so very fortunate to sit down and chat with the self-love guru herself. The negative implications of social media on your self-esteem are disheartening but with advocates for self-love such as Mrs. Darling are absolutely necessary to give us a much-needed push in the right direction.

She went through some exceptionally dark days before adopting a life of self-love. Gala spent a number of years in a state of deep self-loathing and suffered through both depression and an all-encompassing eating disorder. She was stuck, unable to see herself for the wonderful human she was (and is), and deeply unhappy as a result. The blogger wore only black and lead a life of perpetual sadness. She managed to come full circle from the depths of depression to a place where not only is she practicing self-love, but inspiring and encouraging others to do so, too.

“Was there a particular turning point, or a moment when something clicked?” We asked. Gala recalls one significant moment and a turning point:

“I started dating this guy who was really into self-help, self-healing, and alternative medicine. He got into tapping which is also known as EFT. It’s basically acupressure combined with positive phycology. I was super resistant” she began. “I really identified with my eating disorder and depression- I thought that it made me interesting; it was really a part of my personality at this point. I was afraid if I didn’t have that I might not have anything left, which is a CRAZY thought, but that was really where I was at.” This is an extreme representation of how incredibly forgone she was. Luckily, and surprisingly, the technique hit home. “I was able to dismantle my eating disorder in one evening of tapping, and that was the beginning of the rest of my life” Gala recalled. We asked if she felt she owed her changed mindset to the individual who introduced her to the technique. “The technique is a miracle, and if he hadn’t told me about it I had never have tried it, but I’m the person who did it, the one who did the action and got really specific about it and went into it with full force. It’s a combination of all three factors.”

 

All of a sudden everything started to shift. She even began to wear color and stray from her goth-like safe haven. “it just kind of started to happen naturally, I wasn’t as afraid of expressing myself anymore” said Gala. She feels as though she was hiding behind her black clothing. “When you’ve being doing something for a really long time it’s familiar, comfortable, and safe.” Things were beginning to change, she was beginning to change, right before her own eyes, and it was simply magnificent. And so began the year of change, “2006 was a really transformative year for me. It was the year that I came out of my depression, changed my name, moved to Australia, visited NYC for the first time, and started my blog.” Changed your name? We asked.

Yes, Gala Darling is her real name. No, she was not born with it. We wanted to learn more about her unique and beautiful name. “I never liked my name, ” she told us. “I was always one of three girls in my class with the same name which I hated, I never Identified with it. My parents are the least imaginative namers ever, it’s not their strong suit. When I was 22 I set the intention that I wanted a new name and I wanted it to come to me. Later on, I had a dream where this name was written in a cloud. I woke up and wrote it down, then changed it. It was really easy, it cost me like $50. I got a new passport and new credit cards and that was it, it was so easy.” So there it is, that’s how Gala Darling got to be the Gala Darling we love so very much. Why not change your name to suit the new you, rather than continuing on with one that simply doesn’t fit, right?

When asked if she feels she has a healthy body image now, Gala responded in an incredibly profound way: “Yes, I think so. I don’t think that anyone has a totally beautiful, perfect body image all the time. I have days where I think I look amazing and everything’s great and I’ll have days where I don’t feel so good. But that’s normal. The idea that we should have perfect body image all the time is very unreasonable and puts ridiculous pressure on us. If you can appreciate who you are most of the time then you’re doing really well.” Amen! “Just appreciate where you are at the moment, there are ebbs and flows with everything and we’ve got to be comfortable with that and not fight it or think we shouldn’t feel a certain way.” And with that, she put forth a very important piece of advice for women everywhere: “Don’t make yourself feel guilty over feeling a certain way: It won’t change the way you feel.” This is such a poignant and necessary tip, as we often waste time obsessing over a feeling that we think is irrational or unjust rather than addressing and dealing with it. Every word out Gala spoke during our conversation was moving and poetic in such an accessible, human way. Truly magical.

Now, can we please talk about Radical Self-Love!? If this isn’t on your must-read list, you’re going to need to pencil it in. Gala described self-love to us as “the foundation of all the good things.” Her inspiration for the book, and why she (and we) feel it’s important is because “self-love is the reason for all the good things that will happen in your life. When you love who you are you’re more likely to ask for a raise or to leave your shitty job that you hate to pursue your passion. And when you love yourself you’re less likely to stay in a shitty relationship because you’ll have more self-respect and self-worth.”

The subject matter is only one of the glorious parts of the book, the story behind it is also incredible! “The most interesting thing about this book is that I self-published it in the summer and it was picked up by Hay House like a month later.” Recollects Gala. “I think that’s powerful because I believe that if you have a message that you think is important that you need to back yourself. People are often waiting around, especially creative people, for someone to validate their ideas and it’s kind of bullshit. The models have changed so much that now in order to get something out into the ‘real world’ you really have to back your own project.”

Unless you’re willing to back your own ideas and put your own time, energy, and money into it, nobody else is going to do that. They’re really not going to. Some people find that kind of depressing but I think it’s empowering that there’s no ‘gate keeper’ and we DON’T need someone to validate us.

We have the power to accomplish these things, Gala is the perfect example, we just have to dare to try.

If you’re struggling with self-love, motivation, career, love, or anything in your life, you may feel you’re so deep you have no idea where to begin on the path to self-love. We asked Gala Darling what she would really like our readers to hear, and to that, she responded:

The first step for loving yourself is having a sense of gratitude for what you have. Wake up in the morning and say five things you’re grateful for and ask the person next to you what they’re grateful for too. It’s a really good daily practice. Gratitude stops us from comparing ourselves to other people, and if you don’t appreciate what you have now nothing will ever be enough for you. You’ll never really be happy. If you can start to practice gratitude now, everything else that happens to you is just icing on the cake. If you don’t, nothing’s ever going to feel good. It’s such an easy thing to do! It’s not challenging stuff.

So simple, yet something so many of us forget to do. Stop, be grateful, and you’ll thank yourself! If you’re in need of self-love, inspiration, or just a great read, check out “Radical Self-Love!” You can also follow Gala on Instagram or at her website/blog. Seriously, check her out.

 

Britanny Burr

Britanny is a Freelance Writer and Editor with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She grew up in the Rocky Mountains and is currently dwelling in Vancouver. She loves pool parties (though they are few and far between because she lives in Canada), hairless cats (though she hasn't yet met one in real life), and people who make her laugh. You can find her dancing, reading, drinking coffee or wine (dependent on the time of day), and watching Boy Meets World re-runs. @britburr

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