radical self love

Writer, speaker and all around magic-maker, Gala Darling is on a mission to help more women find their authentic voice, live in the present, and fall in love with, well, themselves.

According to Gala, “Everywhere I look, I see an epidemic: millions of incredibly smart, sublimely beautiful and unique women who cannot see their own luminescence. Women full of doubt, women full of fear. Women who feel confused by what they ‘should’ be, torn apart by conflicting messages from society and the media, women who feel that the only way to move safely through the world is to turn down the volume on their own joy.”

Apparently, Gala’s message is striking a chord. Her first book, which was self-published, became a #1 Amazon bestseller and has since been acquired by a major publisher. Radical Self Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dream is now reaching more women than ever before.

Whether you consider yourself too buttoned up for all this flowery self-love business or are ready to go head-over-heels into these exercises, we challenge you to give a few of Gala’s self-love suggestions a legitimate shot. Here’s Gala’s guide to activating radical self love…

Stop waiting for other people to acknowledge your light

So many of us are in a holding pattern, simply hoping that one day someone will notice us in our full brilliance and validate us with their words and actions. We all have different fantasies of how this will play out, from getting an art show to getting married to signing a book deal. We believe this will give us the permission we need to be our full selves; we will have come full circle.

The truth of the matter is that we have to honor ourselves first. We have to love ourselves as we are right now, to recognize our own radiance and be able to blow kisses to ourselves in the mirror. There is no Prince Charming, no white knight – we need to extend to ourselves the love, approval and acceptance we so desperately desire from other people.

When you’re constantly looking elsewhere for the love you refuse to give yourself, you’re always going to come up short.

Love yourself now. Accept yourself now. Forgive yourself now. And realize just how badass, beautiful and bold you are! (No one else is going to do it for you.)

Make an active practice of letting go

Remember that feeling you get after doing an epic closet clean out or major spring clean? It feels so good: a total clearing of the slate, a fresh new page upon which we can recreate our lives from scratch. We need to get rid of the old so that we can make room for the new, and that doesn’t just apply to our physical space. It’s relevant to our mental and emotional space too.

When we insist on holding onto the old stories, ancient traumas and daily irritations of life, our daily existence feels cluttered and heavy. It’s essential to do regular clean sweeps, to clear out the psychic detritus that holds us back and limits us from living at our fullest potential.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to write things down and burn them in my miniature cauldron (you can buy them on Amazon!). There is something wonderfully primal and satisfying about watching your fears and anxieties literally go up in smoke. You can do this regularly, too – I know a woman who burns something every single morning!

Madlib your own affirmations

Affirmations work, but they have to feel relevant to your life. Otherwise, what’s the point? If the affirmations you’ve read in the past don’t light you up from the inside, create your own! Take back the power, baby! Don’t be nervous: You cannot do this wrong. Simply fill in the blanks:

I am a ________ babe with killer ________!
My ____________ is ______________!
I make people swoon with my _____________!
I am in the process of becoming the ______ _________ on the planet!

If you want more suggestions, sign up for my mailing list, and you’ll receive a worksheet to help you create even more awesome madlib affirmations!

Start saying no

We only have so much time and energy, and as we get older, this becomes more and more clear. Sure, we have the option of filling our lives with a neverending parade of distractions — like dramatic friends, unhappy social obligations, and getting wasted every weekend — or we can make the decision to only do what we actually want to do.

When you say no to the things that drain you, you open up space for better, more positive things to come into your life. Be ruthless: don’t spend time with people who drag you down, don’t waste your energy at social engagements that make you yawn, and stop living a life that you desperately need to escape from.

Get clear and honest about what you actually want from life, then start saying YES to what is in alignment, and NO to the things that don’t fit your vision.

Take radical responsibility for your life!

This may seem like a harsh suggestion but realistically it’s the only true route to loving yourself. Look at what’s going on in your life, and ask yourself: How did I create this or invite it in?

To be clear, this doesn’t mean you take responsibility for other peoples’ bad behavior, like that ex whose face you wish you could forget. Instead, have an honest conversation about why you allowed him into your life to wreak his unique brand of havoc? What stories did he help reinforce for you?

When we act from a place of ownership and refuse to make excuses for the state of our lives, we are empowered to make stronger choices and to back ourselves. We don’t blame other people for the conditions that surround us, and instead we do whatever we can to improve our situation. This is the essence of radical self love: no excuses, get it done, make it fabulous!

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