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This week’s episode features a remarkable single, Gala Darling. Gala is a “for now” single who is unapologetic about how she lives her life (so get ready for some F-bombs). A speaker, author, and coach, she helps women live their best lives through radical self-love.

Listen to Episode #54 here:

Welcome to the Gala

As promised, I’ve returned with a remarkable single, Gala Darling. Gala is a for now single, rather than a forever single, and she’s unapologetic about how she lives her life. Get ready for some F-bombs. A speaker, author and coach, she helps women live their best life through radical self-love. Bonus materials back, but now only available to the Solo community, which is invite-only. Go to the Solo page on PeterMcGraw.org and apply. Gala and I talk about her contention that feeling good is your job. I hope you enjoy the episode. Let’s get started.

My guest is Gala Darling. Gala is a speaker and the bestselling author of Radical Self-Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dreams. She’s been teaching radical self-love, a selection of powerful techniques and tools which help women transform their lives. She’s been doing that for over a decade. Her work helps women feel good, access their inner bad bitch and fall in love with life. Welcome, Gala.

It’s my favorite thing hearing men talk about being a bad bitch. It’s one of my favorite all-time juxtapositions. It tickles me on a deep level.

I’m happy to talk about bad bitches. What is a bad bitch?

A bad bitch is someone who recognizes her power and is not afraid to use it when she needs to. It doesn’t mean she’s domineering. It doesn’t mean she’s difficult or nasty, but she doesn’t take any shit. She advocates for herself.

We need more bad bitches in the world.

Bad bitches make the world go around. They get shit done.

I don’t feel your bio is accurate enough.

Tell me what my bio should be.

What’s missing from your bio is your personality. Your bio is about what you do. I know Gala. Gala is not someone who got referred to me. I met Gala in the wild.

In the wild plains of equinox.

Even beyond that. We both frequented the same gym. Can I say how we met? We met on a dating app and then we went on a date and it wasn’t a love connection. I old school dropped you off. After I dropped you off, you immediately sent me a text message. We had a nice time at dinner. You immediately sent me a very thoughtful response that basically said, “You’re a nice man. I had a nice time. However, I enjoyed talking to you. I’d like to stay in touch and be friends.”

I think I added, “I don’t ever do this,” because that’s the truth. I really don’t. Most men that I go on dates with, I don’t give a fuck. I never want to see them again. God bless and good luck.

Not only did you send that and I responded, “Thank you and affirmatively, I would like that,” we became friends.

I think you’re fascinating. Why would I be like, “No?” You’re so interesting.

That’s how I felt also. We’ve done that. As a result, I’ve gotten to know about your work and about your life and about your story. As I was thinking about remarkable singles and bad bitches, I’ve been after you to have you on the show for a while now. Here we are and we’re fortunately doing that. I’m super lucky that we’ve re remained in touch. Before we get into the work that you do, one of the things that is so fascinating about you is your personality. You live a life in which you’re unapologetic and that’s a theme of the show, is to be unapologetically unattached. You do what you want, how you want to do it. You’re thriving. You’re flourishing both personally and professionally and then you have this great story. I want people to hear your story because it can be inspirational. We’re going to start your story with something that your father told you.

I feel like I know what this is, but why don’t you tell me?

Your dad told you not to have children.

Yes, he did. I knew that’s what you were going to say. He said, “Gala, don’t have children. There are better things you can do with your time.”

I remember you telling me that. I remember being struck by that, especially because it came from a parent.

Who loves me deeply and is my biggest cheerleader, bar none. He’s not a shitty, abusive, neglectful father. He’s actively involved. He called me as I was pulling up here. We talk every day on FaceTime.

How old were you when he said that?

I think I was 22, maybe 23.

Were you already transforming yourself back then?

Yes, I was. By the time he said that, I had started my blog and I was doing my thing or maybe it was before.

Let’s step back. You’re from New Zealand and you were living in New Zealand at the time. What was your childhood like? This sounds like quite a guy. It wasn’t the Darling household?

No, it wasn’t.

You’ve changed your name?

I changed my name because it came to me in a dream when I was 22. I wrote it down and got it changed because in New Zealand it’s $50 to change your name. It’s super easy. I was like, “Let’s do it.” I’m an only child. My parents both had their own businesses and always said, “If you want to make a lot of money, you have to run your own show because otherwise, someone else will always tell you how much money you can make. That’s simply not acceptable.” That was the bar of our household.

This is a little bit like Rich Dad Poor Dad story. You had the rich dad or the rich parents’ perspective.

My parents are different. They give a little bit of a fuck what people think, but mostly they don’t and they never made me tone down my weird teenage stylistic rebellion. The only thing they said no to was black lipsticks. They were like, “We forbid black lipstick, but anything else. You can wear angel wings, you can wear combat boots, whatever. Corset is fine.”

You were wearing all those things?

Yes. Also my parents are very hard workers and they believe in doing a good job and having integrity and being creative, but they also were very interested in self-help and self-development. My father would listen to Wayne Dyer tapes and they were into Tony Robbins and they would go to these self-development seminars. That stuff never seemed weird to me. That seemed an obvious thing that you do if you want to become a better person. That’s a huge piece of how I ended up being who I am.

Aside from the black lipstick, they weren’t stifling your flair?

No. I don’t blame them. Black lipstick is a bad look generally. You look like you’ve been feasting on corpses and it’s not the look.

You’re growing up, you’re a little bit rebellious and so then you get out of high school. You go to uni. What are you studying? What are you doing? How are you approaching university life?

From the age of 13 to 23, I was very depressed. I was very unhappy. My theory on that is that when I was young. I was creative and it was always like, “You can be anything you want.” I feel once I started to enter high school, my parents and teachers would say things like, “You need to focus on something that’s going to earn you money. You’re probably not going to make any money being a writer of books. Maybe you should be a journalist.” I was like, “Fuck.” “Maybe you should be a lawyer.” I feel that part of my depression was around feeling that I wasn’t going to be able to be creative in the way that I wanted to be. The school that I went to was an all-girls Christian school and I fucking hated it. I went to my dean.

Was it the girls or was it the Christian?

It was all girls, uniform and the hymns, the whole nine yards. If you’re wearing nail polish, we’ll charge you $0.50 to remove it in the office. My second to last year of school there, I went to the dean and I said, “I’d like to go to Wellington High,” which was a mixed-gender, no uniform school. She said, “You don’t need to do your last year of school. I’ll write you a provisional entrance and go to university.” I was like, “Okay, cool.”

You were a good student?

I was disruptive, but I was technically fine. I went to school. I went to university. I was obsessed with serial killers. I wanted to study Criminal Psychology. I wanted to study serial killers. I went to university when I was seventeen. In order to do a Psychology degree, you have to do Statistics at 9:00 in the morning. I was like, “Fuck this noise.” I lasted maybe one semester and left. I was still living at home. My parents were like, “You can’t be here for free. You have to get a job.” I got a job in a bank. It was awful, but it was freedom to some extent.

You’re earning some money. You were about eighteen. What happens between eighteen and being told don’t have children, you can do better things with your life?

I worked a bunch of jobs that I didn’t love like call centers and administrative.

The jobs you get when you don’t have any skills yet.

When I was 22, I discovered this technique called tapping, which is acupuncture without needles. I used it to heal up my depression and my eating disorder pretty much overnight and then went to Burning Man with my boyfriend at the time. By the way, going to Burning Man from New Zealand is hard work. You’ve got to pack a tent. It’s a whole thing. In 2006, I went to Burning Man and saw all these people living these freaky lives and thought, “Fuck, if they can do that shit, then I can do it too.” I moved to Australia with my boyfriend and I couldn’t get a job there. I was like, “It’s a fucking sign. I’m going to do my own shit.”

Now, you live in Los Angeles. How long have you been in Los Angeles?

I’ve been in Los Angeles for a few years and I was in New York for ten years before that.

I want to preview one of the things that I want to talk a lot about because certainly having a supportive family environment has helped you accomplish what you’ve accomplished professionally. I marvel at what you do because my thing about myself is I like to make things, but I don’t like to sell things. You like to make things and you at least appear you like to sell things. You’re so good at selling.

One of my greatest thrills in life is to sell.

You make books, you do coaching, you do events, you do speaking and it’s all built around this idea of empowering women, largely. Young women in particular. What ages?

About 25 to 45. It generally floats around where I’m at because I don’t want to talk about the stuff that eighteen-year-olds are going through. That’s so long ago to me. They naturally age with me.

What is their pain point and how are you helping them with it?

Their pain point is they have been told that they have to fall in line, they have to do what everyone else is doing. That they should have children, that they should be satisfied with their boring career. They want to be confident. They want to be like all those women that they see. They want to be like Rihanna. They want to be like Beyoncé. They want to be like Oprah. They want to have a fucking empire and they want to live life on their own terms.

These are women who are breaking out of traditional gender roles. They’re clearly feminist and looking for equal opportunity. I follow you on Instagram and Twitter and so on. I pay attention even though I’m not the target audience. There’s way too much pink. Your messages are always so inspirational. They’re very elevated. I like the term unapologetic. They are designed to help these women transgress. Break the rules, live the life that they want to live and be creative. It’s built on that principle. In order to inspire them, you need to be inspirational. There’s a little bit of this sort of a show, don’t tell part of your business that’s there.

This is getting to the point that I want to talk about. Let me be clear why I want to talk about this stuff. I’m thinking about narrative. I’m thinking about the stories we tell ourselves. The stories we tell ourselves about our life is our life and you can change the story and thus change your perspective on your life. I have been thinking about what is the story of the solo, of the remarkable single person? I’ve been working on these. I call them the three Rs. The first R is Recognition. You need to see the world for what it is, to see the pressure that you’re talking about that these women are getting. About the jobs that you’re supposed to be working, the relationships you’re supposed to be having and the number of children you should be having and when you should be having them and so on.

The second is, and this is a new word that I’ve used, is an act of rebellion. It’s to rebel against that, to push back on those ideas and to not accept them as the path that you should be walking. The last R that I want to talk about is this necessitates an active reinvention. A change to your life, your lifestyle, your perspective where the old rules no longer apply and you get to pick the new rules that you want to apply. You have reinvented yourself. What I like about this act of reinvention is that it can be internal. It can be psychological and emotional. You reinvented your emotions through this process of tapping and to give up the depression, for example.

My guess is a lot of your clients struggle with anxiety and how do you give up anxiety in order to be able to move through the world with purpose without waking up in the middle of the night going, “Should I have said that thing?” There’s an external reinvention, which I often push people towards. That may be in your space where you live, a place, your apartment or your house. It may be your look, clothing, makeup, hair, your body, you change your body and these kinds of things. When a 23-year-old woman changes her name to Gala Darling, that’s an act of reinvention. If you could talk to me about your perspective on this idea, how you’ve done it in your life, how you encourage the women who you work with to do it. I’m guessing you’ve got a plan when it comes to this stuff.

I don’t know that I do have a plan. There are so many ways to reinvent yourself and sometimes you start with the internal and sometimes you start with the external and it depends on what happens. My first act of reinvention was healing from this eating disorder and healing from depression. When I did that, what I noticed was that I wanted to dress differently. I no longer wanted to wear black from head to toe. That didn’t feel aligned anymore. I started to wear color. In fact, the first post on my blog, which started the year that I did all of this healing work was called Fashion Help for Recovering Goths. It was about how to work color into your wardrobe if you didn’t know how to do it. It can be this very organic domino effect. Maybe you start wearing different colors. When you go to decorate your apartment, you think, “I want a lot of white in here, I want blue accents or pink accents,” whereas maybe in the past, in my older house, I had a black couch for example. It’s very different.

You’d be in your black outfit, you would sit in your black couch. You just disappeared.

There are many ways to reinvent yourself and all of them are equally important. For example, you might change your mentality, you might change the way you dress, but if you don’t ever exercise, you’re missing out on a huge piece of what your reinvention could entail. That physical piece of it is huge. I know this because you’re a fitness nut as well, but the way that you move your body radically impacts your psychology.

I took this from an earlier episode. If I’m a little low energy or I’ve got a lot going on, I do these workouts. I call it Move With Joy, where I pick ten exercises that I want to do that I like to do, and then I cycle through them three times and I always feel better at the end of it. Is it the best workout possible? Am I working my weaknesses? No, but I moved for 45 minutes in a way that helps my mind, body and soul. I’ve seen you work out with a trainer and you work out hard.

He kicks my ass. We’re doing three days in a row. I did 4:00, then 11:30, then I’ve got to go back at 4:00. I’m fucking exhausted.

After that, you will take a day off, I hope. I agree with you. The clothing, the hair, the makeup, all that stuff does matter. I had a previous episode called Clothing the Solo. Dressing well and dressing well for yourself and having a style matters. It affects the way people treat you. It affects your confidence. However, it’s much nicer to clothe the body that you’re excited about.

There is a quote by Rick Owens who’s a fashion designer. I can’t remember it verbatim, but it was something like nothing feels as good as being in a fit body. Stop buying clothes and go to the gym instead. I often think that when I’m feeling not great about my body and I’m looking at clothes online, which is one of my favorite ways to de-stress, is to scroll through endless options. I sometimes think to myself, “I can buy as many outfits as I want, but if I don’t feel great in my body, it’s not going to make a difference.” What would be better is if I go a little harder on the bike.

For me, it’s keep swapping out salads for sandwiches. Anytime I’m tempted to have a sandwich, I have a salad instead. That has such a powerful effect.

Do you do intermittent fasting by the way?

Not really. I don’t eat late at night and I try not to eat right away in the morning. I try to wait until I’m hungry to eat, but I probably do a twelve-hour fast. To me, the benefits of fasting is about calories.

There’s no way you can eat as many calories in an eight-hour window.

That’s the main benefit of it. I don’t have too much trouble with the calorie stuff. I’m more focused on the macronutrient type side of things like a good whole variety of food. I’ve said this before and I keep saying it to people. We get ourselves into a very difficult space when it comes to fitness because we’re trying to look like the Beyoncés and the Rihannas and these people who have these amazing bodies. They also have professional dieticians. They also have trainers. They also had amazing bodies naturally or you would not have plucked Rihanna out of Barbados and brought her to New York. I’ve always said you want to try to have the best body that you can have.

On my vision board, I literally have a photo of myself from years ago because I know my body is capable of looking this way and that’s where I want to be. I know that it’s fully achievable. I also think it’s important for us to have high standards for our bodies. A lot of people get confused between loving and accepting yourself and they feel like if you love and accept yourself, then you shouldn’t try to change it. You should be happy where you are. Loving and accepting yourself and transformation and improvement can exist in tandem. It’s important to always strive to be the best version of yourself, the fittest, the most energetic, the one that sleeps the best or whatever. Having a good, robust sense of fitness helps you with all of those things.

I had celebrated the 50th episode of Solo and I revisited some of the themes. One of the themes that I had lost track of for a while is this notion of living on your edge. Living in a place where you’re not too far across your edge and you’re too anxious and scared and overwhelmed, but you’re not close enough to your edge. You can imagine your edge being you’re challenging yourself in your career. You’re living on your edge socially. That is, you’re putting yourself into novel situations, meeting new people. Perhaps it’s someone who hasn’t dated but wants to dip their toe in, but maybe living on their edge is taking on a physical challenge. You’re going to run your first 5k or you’re going to do something like that. You’ve heard that lifting weights is good for you. Jogging is not the way to be fit anymore. That was good in the ‘70s when no one worked out. Now you’ve got to lift some weights. I’m going to try to lift some weights. I’m 60 years old. I’ve never lifted a weight before.

It’s good to be at your edge. It enlivens everything else. I was in Las Vegas. My friend took me to an exotic racing track day and I raced Ferrari’s around a track and with a helmet on and my foot on the fucking floor. It was so exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I was driving around and I was having to breathe hard to keep my heart rate steady. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. You need to have those experiences. They remind you what the fuck you’re alive for.

People can appreciate that idea that you want to push yourself in these different realms. You take it slow. You’re not doing three straight days with your trainer the first week that you do this. You’ve built up that over years in this sense. You’re communicating these things in your blogs, in your social media posts, in your speeches and your books and so on. Let’s continue talking about this idea of transforming yourself and challenging yourself. You have language that you use for this stuff because you’re not holding back. Where does that come from? How have you developed this style? Was your first blog post about recovering Goth girls? If I went back and read that, would I see the Gala Darling that I know now?

You’d see glimmers of her. That’s the thing. I wrote that blog post many years ago. It has been years of honing my voice and testing my audience to see what works for them and what doesn’t and also refining my own life. I got a DM from someone who said something like, “I miss how you used to be. You’ve overdeveloped your personality. You talk too much with your hands and it’s too much.”

How does it feel?

It feels frustrating because I don’t think I’ve overdeveloped my personality. I’m definitely more polished now than I used to be. I’m certainly more confident. When someone says something like that to you, it’s an indication that they are threatened by where you are and they don’t feel that way about themselves. They wish maybe you’re a little bit more humble and maybe a little bit more quiet.

That seems to go completely against your origins.

If you look back at the first video I made where I taught tapping from 2007, I am unrecognizable. I am so fucking shy and quiet and unsure of myself. My confidence and my faith in myself is a skill I have been building for a long time. To insinuate that that’s no longer okay with you, I messaged her and I was like, “I hope one day you understand how fucking rude you’re being.” She pitched me. She was like, “I’d love to do a reading for you sometime. Your work has been impactful on me.” I was incredulous. I couldn’t even respond. That’s an unusual approach. I’m going to insult you and then try and pitch you. I’m not biting because I have self-esteem.

There’s another way to look at that thing, which is you were the right person for her at a particular time in her life.

It’s okay to grow apart. There might be someone else now who is a better fit for where you’re at. You might not like the fact that I’ve talked with my hands. Maybe that triggers you because someone you didn’t like did that too. I have to remember that that stuff is never about me.

Most of the time that someone ends up being mean, it’s usually coming from a place of insecurity rather than antipathy. It helps a lot to recognize that that bully or that person who’s insensitive, it’s coming from a place of weakness, not a place of strength and suggest a different approach.

It used to be that when I would get a shitty comment on my blog back when I first started, my boyfriend would always remind me that they were probably having a bad day and it wasn’t about me. I would often reply to them and be like, “How are you doing? Are you okay?” They would almost always respond and be like, “Sorry, I had a fight with my boyfriend,” or whatever. Usually, people are lashing out because they’re in a bad place. I feel like I used to have a lot more tolerance and patience for that. Now with a much larger following, I don’t have any fucking time for people who cannot emotionally regulate and discharge their problems on other people.

This show is growing. I get some positive messages. You can imagine, I’m sure you get this all the time. You get messages where people say, “Thanks so much.” It’s wonderful. For every twenty of those, you get one that stings. It stings because you put a lot into what you do. When you have your following, 20 to 1, those ones, there are lots of those ones.

I feel like I used to get trolled a lot on the internet hard and now I don’t. When people say things to me, they are trying to be kind, but the trolls and bullies have realized that I don’t give a fuck like, “Whatever. Good luck.”

I think it’s fascinating especially because I’ve been having this conversation about where men and women can turn in order to find inspiration, a positive message. Information about how to live well and so on. It’s interesting. I feel like men have more limited resources when it comes to these kinds of things. I also think men are worse at seeking it out.

Men are generally less good at taking instruction.

Unless it’s coaching for sports, that is generally the case. Even still, they’re not good enough at it. As a former coach, I have found that the teams that perform best weren’t always the most talented. They were the ones that were most coachable. That’s fair to say. When did you know that this was going to be your business? I referenced Rich Dad Poor Dad. This is a famous book. It’s essentially about a difference in perspective, the idea being that the poor dad tells his child to get a good job, buy a house, all the normal things that you often hear. Rich dad is like, “Start a business, buy property, do things that create income while you’re not working.” You were pushed and encouraged to be entrepreneurial. You clearly have an entrepreneurial spirit because you basically were a class clown without being the class clown. The class clown never fits very well within the factory system of education.

I was definitely the class clown. I was always in trouble. My desk was in the hallway more often than not, but I feel I grew up in an incubation lab of business. It’s all my parents talked about at the dinner table. It’s always what I was listening to.

How do you go from the blog to tens of thousands of followers, people who you’re communicating with? You communicate with people not daily. You communicate with them hourly. It’s incredible. When did you hatch the plan?

I grew up on computers and loved them. When I was thirteen and I got an internet connection for Christmas, I was all the way to the races. I loved that I could broadcast what I was thinking, whether it was like making a website or having an online journal or whatever. When I had an online journal in the early 2000s, it was quite popular because I was a complete over-sharer. I had no boundaries. People love to read about that. I had that for a long time. When I started my actual blog, I said in my online journal, “This is what I’m doing now.” A lot of people came over, but then growing the blog was about creating evergreen content and creating things that people were searching for. My blog was so much how-to content. That was what I was writing. I was so excited to have my own business and to not be working in a job that I was posting 5 or 6 times a day, every day, writing articles like it was going out of style. I loved it so much. I was so passionate and there’s no substitute for that.

You’ve got to feed the beast.

It’s not even that. There are people who might be more technically proficient at writing than me, but they weren’t as passionate. I would wake up at 2:00 AM and have an idea and write it and post it. You can’t compete with that. I got a column in Cosmopolitan Australia magazine. That exposed me to a huge amount of people. I moved to New York City and I started going to Fashion Week and it grew from there. In about 2010, 2011, I was sick of fashion blogging. I was like, “This is fucking shallow. I don’t care about this. I want to help people with self-development.” I looked at who was in the field and I thought, “I want these people to be my peers.” I set about changing the direction of my business.

Who were some of those people?

The people that I can remember where Danielle LaPorte and Jonathan Fields. He’s a great dude.

I do think that it is useful. I call this a competitive analysis. Who are the people you’re competing with now? Who are the people you want to compete with? What are they doing? How are they doing it? What do you like? What do you don’t like? How are you going to do it differently? I like the fact that Jonathan Fields is a competitor in a sense because you guys are nothing alike.

We are so different. That’s the thing. I’ve been teaching radical self-love and mindset stuff now since 2010. Over that time, my niche has become more and more defined and carved out. There’s no one else with pink hair and tattoos who wears stripper heels, who teaches you about mindset. No one fucking does that. That’s why I love what I do because I get to be, like you say, unapologetically myself. You were saying about setting the example. The bigger I can make my life, the more risks I can take, the more I can demonstrate that that’s possible for my audience and then the more comfortable they are trying even the smallest thing. It’s literally my job to live on my edge as much as I can.

I assume that your Ferrari racing was well-documented and pushed out to everyone.

It was immediately up on my stories.

We’re going to return to the radical self-love. I’m bringing back the bonus material. We’re going to talk about a phrase that you have, which is, “It’s your job to feel good.” This is a tease. You’ve got to join the Solo community.

Do you feel scintillated? You should. It’s really good shit.

If you want it deep, you can buy the book. You’re working on a new book, though.

I am exactly halfway through. I released my 6th chapter of 12.

It’s fascinating. This is a relationships book. You are writing it and publishing it simultaneously.

I released it as a serial. That’s how I’ve done all three of my books.

As someone who has not done that many books, I find it fascinating and exciting, especially because I hate the idea that you have these ideas and you have to hide them until some big launch. I like that you’re doing this. What’s going on with this book? What’s the story?

This book is called Hologram Heart and it’s for primarily women who have been in relationships that don’t fucking work. In this book, we look at why those things don’t work. We look at attachment style. We look at a micro blueprint. We look at codependency. We look at why do you keep dating projects? In addition to the writing and talking about my own experiences, there are tapping routines that go along with this.

Let’s talk about this because you’ve referenced tapping twice now and I’m familiar with it because I’ve seen your videos and so on. I had never heard of it before meeting you. I always joke, I’m not into the hippy-dippy stuff that much. It feels like it’s a little hippy-dippy, but it clearly is a valuable tool. Let’s pause and talk about tapping.

I’m not into hippy-dippy either, but I’m into things that work. If I had to paint my tongue red for a result, I’d do it.

I would say this. If I have to put a crystal up my ass and it’s going to help, I’m going to put a crystal on my ass.

Tapping is emotional acupressure. You’re tapping on meridian points in your body with your hands. As you’re doing that, it’s stimulating these points. You’re talking about something you want to let go of or change. As you do that, you’re talking about how you love yourself. You accept yourself and you forgive yourself anyway. Once you reach this place of forgiveness and acceptance, which happens quite quickly because you’re bypassing your conscious mind when you do this. You’re going straight into your subconscious. You can direct your mind to a new place so you can implant a new belief. I believe that what you’re doing is creating a new neural network. The research is slowly catching up to that. The research is getting interesting, but I’m not a scientist. It’s not my field.

I can speak a little bit to the science, not about tapping per se, but about parallel activities. When you describe tapping to me, I think about meditation and breathing. Anything that you can do that helps with your concentration and to be able to focus is going to benefit you from a meditative standpoint. What’s neat about what you’re doing is you’re engaging in this positive self-talk. This is akin to a particular form of meditation called Loving-Kindness Meditation. In Loving-Kindness Meditation, the fruit of first level is to love yourself. It’s essentially to say positive things, express positive intentions about yourself. It has now lapsed, but I did have a loving-kindness meditative practice. I do it when I’m at the dentist.

Let me think if I can remember this. I would say to myself, “I’m patient. I live in the moment and I’m not in a rush.” That’s a problem that I have. I’m always rushing around. You and I both had very rushing around days. The second one is, “I am physically happy. I am strong and robust.” The next one is, “I’m emotionally happy. I’m joyous and free from worry.” My last one is, “I live with ease. My social relationships are easy and positive.” I repeat these things over and over again. What’s interesting is the next level of loving-kindness is for people you care about like friends and family. Now you’re expressing positive things about them. The next level is strangers. These are even people you don’t even know.

The next level, which I never got to is your enemies, to teach yourself to think loving and kind thoughts about your enemies. The last thing is all things, not just human. Animate, inanimate and so on. The research on this is incredibly clear that a loving-kindness practice, when done six days a week for six or more weeks, starts to have a very positive effect on their lives. I will tell you this, but prior to the data, I was like, “I’m not that into hippy-dippy stuff. All this meditation stuff sounds a little hokey.” Time and time again, whether it be neuroscience work or other behavioral science work, suggest in the same way that you exercise your body. It gets stronger. It feels better. You exercise your mind in these ways. It gets stronger. It gets better and so on. We paused on the tapping stuff.

I was talking about how that comes along with the book. People think that if they’re codependent, that’s a lifelong curse, just as I thought my eating disorder was a lifelong curse. My depression was a lifelong curse. They think if they have an avoidant or anxious attachment style, they’re going to be like that forever. It’s simply not the case. You can fully rewire your brain so that when you’re dating someone and they don’t text you every day, you’re not freaked out about it. You can relax, you can be at peace and you can feel safe. I haven’t seen anyone marrying these two things together at all. The feedback I’m getting from my customers is unbelievable. They’re feeling good about their relationships.

In the intro, we talked about falling in love with life. In this one, you’re trying to take what is often a very big part of people’s lives, their relationships and helping them navigate those things better. It sounds like some of this is either getting people out of the bad kinds of relationships.

People who are like, “I’m getting a divorce,” or they leave their loser boyfriend. There are some people where we’re just resetting their energy and their expectations around dating. They might want to be online dating, but their belief is men on online dating apps can’t be trusted. I’m not going to find anyone or whatever. You’re resetting your belief system about it. If you go into anything with a shitty expectation, that’s what you’re going to get. Nowhere is that more on display than on dating apps where the whole profile is like, “If you’re this, I’m not interested. If you’re that, I’m not interested,” which is wild. Who’s going to be like, “She sounds like fun?”

I understand people have their defenses up. They’ve had bad experiences and so on. It’s shortsighted because the only people who swipe left in response to those very negative profiles are the people that these people want to go out with.

Whatever it is, the more you focus on it, the more you get of it, the bigger it becomes. If you want to date someone awesome, talk about what you hope for in a relationship or in a date. Say like, “I would love to date someone who can cook for me and let’s go on a picnic and let’s go on a boat or something. I love sunset boat rides,” or whatever. Focus on what you want. That’s the fucking secret to life. Don’t focus on what you don’t want. It’s when you’re driving down the street and you see a lamppost and you’re like, “Fuck it. Don’t hit it,” and you keep looking at. You’re going to hit it. It’s so basic, but people do not understand this.

The issue is that we are so in tune to negative things, there’s this thing called the negativity bias.

Which is why with the one negative comment out of twenty is all you can think about.

I know better than to look at my book reviews, but on the rare time that I have or even my teaching evaluations. I should know better. Now, I’m good. Sometimes I’ll have someone else read this stuff and say, “If there’s valuable feedback, give me the valuable feedback. Leave all the other crappy stuff aside.” I think of you as a for now solo, not a forever solo. You could go either way because your focus in life is to live a good life and there are multiple ways to go about that. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but that’s my sense from some of our conversations. I’m curious about this relationship book how you treat this topic of not being in a relationship and what are the conversations you’re having. This is something that I see a lot, which is people assume that the path to happiness is to be in a relationship.

It’s interesting because people who have bought this book want to be in a healthy relationship. They’re not people who are like, “I identify as single and I want to remain that way.” This book is not for them. The problem that a lot of people have is that they treat life while single as a stopgap between relationships. They’re waiting for Prince Charming to walk through the door. That could be ten years from now. You better have something going on. I also think that there’s so much emphasis put on our looks and like, “What’s your body like?” You’re not going to be able to be in a fulfilling relationship if you have no internal world because there’s nothing to talk about. You might find someone to bond for a while, but when it comes to talking about your hopes and dreams or what you’re interested in or what you want to do with your free time, if you have nothing to say, you’re going to be a fucking boring date.

I will say this and this is as a man in particular, but what are the interactions like post-sex is where the most clarity lies. In the hour after you’ve had sex, what’s the conversation like? How engaging is it? How much fun are you having? That’s where the true interestingness of you and the other person lies because you are without this one particular goal. I feel like, be the person who’s interesting post-orgasm.

Also, that’s who you are, hopefully, when you’re being authentic. Your guard is down. You’re relaxed. Hopefully, in that moment, you’re still imaginative, fun and thoughtful.

The issue is this is all the things that people think are the appealing things when it comes to dating and sex have gone away temporarily, until at least during a refractory period right then and there. I agree with you because relationships, whether it be pursuing them and certainly maintaining them, is not built on books. You adapt to looks. It’s built on personality and it’s built on lifestyle and is built on values.

That’s one of the reasons why my policy is to put off having sex for as long as possible. My therapist said this to me on my first visit ever. She was like, “Sex is glue. As soon as you start sleeping with someone, all rational thought goes out the window. You lose all the red flags. You have no fucking idea.”

SOLO 54 | Unapologetically Single
Radical Self-Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dreams

I call it the genital heart connection.

What I like to do is give people the opportunity to show me who they are. Do we have things to talk about when sex is not on the table? I will say upfront, I’ll be like, “I take things slowly and I need you to know that. That’s where I’m at. If we don’t have anything to talk about, then that’s going to be a problem.” I’ve had relationships where there’s great sex, but there’s nothing else or I don’t feel like if some shit went down, that they would be able to handle it. I don’t want to feel I’m the strongest person on the relationship. That’s important to me is to put off the sex for as long as possible and build some real fucking connection because that’s what matters. Who knows what’s going to happen if you’re in a relationship and someone ends up in a wheelchair or something like that? Sex might be off the table. You better have something else.

When you’re talking to these women who are treating their single life like a liminal space. It’s this temporary stopgap, a transition. How are you coaching them away from that idea? I agree with you. When you think about your life, for a lot of people, most of their life is single on one end or the other. First of all, who wants to go through a life, let’s say, where half of your adult life you’re single, where that half of your adult life is less than? That’s already a problem. The other one of course is no one wants to go out with someone who’s desperate to go out with someone.

The easiest way to get a boyfriend is to already have a boyfriend. It’s true.

What conversations are you having to help change this perspective?

The first thing is you have to have that mindset shift, that being single is a gift and there are certain things that you can do while you’re single that you can only do while you’re single which is going on those trips with your girlfriends, where you go to Italy and Morocco for a month or you get to decorate your house all in pink. These are obviously examples from my own life or whatever fucking pleases you.

How many pillows do you have on your bed?

I have four. It’s nothing crazy. I’m not a crazy pillow person.

Four rows or four pillows?

Four pillows. I’m not wild about pillows. The fact that you can eat an entire container of vegan cheese and almond Nut Thins on your couch and watch the Kardashians and no one can say a fucking thing to you. That is such a blessing. Next time you do it, let me know. I’ll come up over. We have to change our mindset to be like this isn’t some shitty punishment for not making a relationship work. This is a time where I get to figure out who I am. One of the things that jolted me into writing this book was taking a six-month dating sabbatical. One of the reasons why that was so powerful and I recommend it to literally everyone is because in that time where you’re like, “I am not flirting. I’m not on apps. I’m not going out with anyone,” you build your own life so robustly. When you meet someone and they’re not adding to what you’ve already got, you’re like, “This is clearly a pause for me.” Most people in relationships settle because they’re lonely, bored or they’re worried that no one else is going to come along. When you know that your life is awesome by yourself, there’s no risk of that.

Being single is a gift. There are certain things that you can only do while you're single. Click To Tweet

I’m glad you brought up the dating sabbatical because one of the interesting things about this is that I did a little mini-series for Solo about singles in the marketplace. In the first episode, we talk about The Rise of Single Living, the number of single people, not only in the United States, but in the world and the number of those who live on their own. It’s been exponential growth. In part because the marketplace has changed. It’s more accepting of singles. It’s selling to singles more and more. The rise of urban living, etc., even stuff like birth control and so on. Two center research, 50% of adult singles in the United States are not interested in dating. That is something that I, first of all, want people to hear because if you are reading to the show and you are not interested in dating, there is nothing wrong with you. There are a lot of people who feel the same way.

Was there anything in the research about why they feel that way? Did they have a traumatic event? Where they’re asexual? What’s going on?

It’s a big tent. We know 1 in a 100 people are asexual. We know that obviously these are people who may have been divorced. “It didn’t work, I tried that. I’m happy to be on my own. I don’t want to walk that path again,” and so on. By the way, this is not a COVID thing. This basically replicates a study many years ago that found exactly the same thing. These are people who are not being talked to, not being listened to because they’re not on the apps and they were not making TV for them and so on. These are people on an indefinite dating sabbatical. The great gift that you’re talking about is when you don’t date, it frees up so much time, energy, psychic energy and money. Talk about you want to get free.

As a single woman, my lifestyle is impeccable. My friend is always calling me and works like a demon. She’s like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “I’m going to the gym. I’m getting my nails done. I’m going to go and get a massage.” She’s like, “Okay.”

We’re going to get dinner after this. Tell people what you texted to me.

He was like, “Can we push it slightly? My days have been back to back.” I was like, “Sure.” He was like, “What time?” I was like, “I’m trying to figure out what time I can get a spray tan. Hold tight, but I’ll let you know.” I literally have to be on my way home at 7:20 so I can be home for my spray tan. These are my priorities and I will not apologize for them. I’m going to San Diego. I’m going to be on an 80-foot yacht for two days and I want to be glistening.

What I said was, “I’m at your disposal.” This is probably a good place for us to wrap up. For members of the Solo community, if you haven’t joined the Solo community yet, it’s invite-only at this moment, but go to the Solo page on PeterMcGraw.org. Apply and you can get to listen to the bonus material where we’re going to talk about self-care.

You don’t want to miss out on it because we’re going to get so fucking juicy and you will have the biggest FOMO that ever existed if you do not do this.

You’re such a salesperson. I have to learn from you.

Selling is sharing. If you believe that what you have has value, you’re sharing it with people.

We haven’t even taped the bonus material and I’m sure it’s going to be good. Gala, this is long overdue. Thank you for being a remarkable single and thank you for sharing your perspective and your passion. You’re great.

Thanks, so are you.

Cheers.

Resources mentioned:

About Gala Darling

SOLO 54 | Unapologetically Single

Hello, beautiful! My name is Gala Darling. I’m a bestselling author, a speaker, and a professional optimist. I’m creative and practical; adventurous and disciplined; loving and strong. I’m incurably enthusiastic, devoted to freedom, and pretty ruthless about discarding what isn’t working. I love weirdos, and I feel like that’s probably how you found me: you, too, have an inner weirdo that you want to nurture. Maybe your inner weirdo has been ignored for a long time, and now it refuses to be quiet. You’re excited — and maybe a little nervous! — to find out more about what your inner weirdo wants. I can tell you what your inner weirdo wants. Your inner weirdo wants to be FREE. She wants to FEEL GOOD. She wants to EXPRESS herself, clearly and truly and without reservation. And I can help you with all of that. Back in 2006, my life was completely transformed by EFT tapping, an energy psychology technique. I went from depressed and aimless with an eating disorder to someone with huge confidence, infinite joy, and a really healthy attitude towards food, health, and fitness. Many women see themselves in my story, and I am passionate about helping them overcome whatever may be holding them back, so they can dream bigger and achieve more.  I am the author of three books: Radical Self-Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dreams (2016), Radical Radiance: How To Make Love To The Universe And Manifest Anything (2019), and Hologram Heart: A Radiant Guide To The Romantic Revolution (2020). My first book, Radical Self-Love, went to #1 in its category and has been translated into five languages. I have been endorsed by Oprah (my book was chosen by O Magazine as one of their best on self-love), Vogue (my retreats have been featured in their pages), the New York Times, and Girlboss. But perhaps the thing I am most proud of is founding The Vortex, a community of babes who are devoted to feeling good and creating sensational lives. We are an international bad bitch crew, over a thousand strong, who come together every day to learn new skills, support one another, and swap notes on how to live sensational lives. You can learn more about it here!

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