Oct 1, 2015

Radical Self Love - Putting the Book into Practice

I read Gala Darling's book, Radical Self Love, last month and absolutely loved it!  It definitely falls into the self help category, but the way she writes is down to earth and comfortable (not to mention entertaining), so it was a breeze to get through.

Each chapter had a "homework" section with practical examples of how you could utilize her self love principles in real life.  There's a lot of good ones and a lot that I will be trying out, but I thought I'd share the first ones I wanted to implement.

Gala advocates selfies.  She says they're powerful in that you create the image of yourself that you want to share with the world and it gives you a chance to get really comfortable with how you look.

She also mentions affirmations and compliments.  I've tried affirmations before and they didn't do much for me.  I think a big part of that was the routine of it; it became a chore that my brain didn't really put much effort into thinking about.

So I decided to give myself a different affirmation every day and make use of Gala's exuberant and over-the-top language.  I played around with words like "glamorous" and "radiant."  Things I would never, ever have thought to apply to myself.  It didn't always feel true, or like it fit, but it gave me a chance to see myself in a new light each day.  To try things on and see what felt right.  And it was fun!

Try looking in the mirror sometime and saying, "I am a mother f***ing boss."  It's hilarious, but also strangely empowering.  And a tiny part of me agreed.  "Sure, I can be a boss today."

Here's my daily selfies and complimations (affirmpliments? Let me know if you've got a better way to combine "compliments" and "affirmations").

Day 1: I am glorious! (and in a bathroom)

Here's the full affirmation for the day: "I am glorious.  I will make the most of the day."  I wanted to start off with something over the top, hence "glorious."  I felt silly when I was saying it, but it made me laugh and laughing is a good way to start the day.

Day 2: I am scrappy.  No one is capable of taking away how I choose to feel about my day.
Day 3: I am diligent.  I will get out there and work my butt off, like a true Hufflepuff!  (A much-needed pep talk that morning.)
Day 4: I am confident.  I don't need to hide my flaws under a layer of makeup and I don't need someone else to validate my work because I know that it is good.
Day 5: I am radiant.  Everything is beautiful in some way or another.

Day 6: I am low-key.  It's ok to have a relaxing day and I'm going to enjoy the heck out of it.

Day 7: I am a survivor.  I'm going to make it through this day and get back to the office and regular life tomorrow.
Day 8: I am content.  My life is filled with good things, I am a good person, and there are lots of things to be happy about.

Day 9: I am exuberant.  (Started the morning off feeling pretty happy and I swear, the more I found joy in each little positive thing, the more positive things happened.  I spent most of the day traveling and it was still an amazing day.)
Day 10: I am intrepid.  (Ran a half marathon - what up?!)
Day 11: I am grateful.  (For such an amazing weekend and my awesome sisters.  For window seats and plane naps.  For good books and a sturdy bladder that allows me to never, ever, ever use the airplane restrooms.)

Day 12: I am independent.
Day 13: I am strong.
Day 14: I am creative.
Day 15: I am sophisticated.

At this point the project took an unplanned break for, you know, weddings and stuff.  But then I came back!

Day 16: I am socially adept.  I like people.
Day 17: I am a motherf***in' boss.
Day 18: I am tenacious.

Day 19: I am delightful and delighted.
Day 20: I am resourceful.  (And perhaps getting just a wee bit tired of this project.)
Day 21: I am serene.
Day 22: I am low maintenance.

Day 23: I am chipper!
Day 24: I am devious.
Day 25: I am determined. (And actually this was a good reminder when I was starting to head off into non-productivity land.)

Day 26: I am worthy.

Day 27: I am a shimmering, glowing star... (in the cinema firmament - name that movie, anyone???)
Day 28: I am fakin' it til I make it.

Day 29: I am hyped!
Day 30: I am relieved.  Not that it's over, but because I fell into a pretty bad slump for almost 3 weeks where I was just unhappy more days than not.  It made getting through this project pretty difficult.  I can't tell you how this project affected that, but I can tell you how I got out: Ryan, talking it out (even though my feelings were illogical), exercise, and (if we're being honest) copious amounts of sugar.

I'm so glad to feel normal again.  Both because it feels good to not feel terrible and so I can end this project on a positive note.


Project Pros

  • 30 pictures of myself that I like
  • Helped get me going or inspired several days
  • Generally fun
  • Gave me some insights into what was going on with other stuff (the slump)
  • Learned some stuff about angles
  • Overall slight positive impact

Project Cons

  • When I'm in a bad mood, taking pictures of my face does NOT help!
  • Lot of work
  • Did end up feeling more like a chore for about half the days
  • Embarrassing number of selfies on phone now

I won't do it again, but was it worth doing once?  I'd say yes.  Even though it took me 2 full months to churn out 30 days' worth of selfies, I think it was good practice in finding a positive attribute for each day and it really was insightful when I was struggling and couldn't figure out why.

Not that it helped me get out, but honestly, I don't know if I would have noticed the timing and coincidence with other factors (not exercising, primarily, but also not taking care of my emotional needs), if I hadn't had a project going on at the same time.  So I'm grateful for that.  And I'm grateful to feel grateful, because the slump had me in a place where that was a lot more difficult than it should have been!

As much as slumps suck, now that it's over, I can almost feel grateful for it because it makes normal feel so much better.  Nothing has changed in between today and Monday, but I feel so much more alive and appreciative of what I have and how I feel.

And I guess that's what I was hoping to get out of the project.  That's a bar set pretty high, so I suppose it's not surprising that it wasn't THAT good, but it was still worth doing.  In the words of Dwight, the project was "Good, not great."  But at least now you guys won't have to look at my face again for months and months, because I'm all selfie-ed out!

Have you ever tried a selfie challenge?  What about affirmations?  What have you found most effective for being happier with yourself and happier in general?

Jenn signature graphic | Business, Life & Design


  1. I have never tried a selfie challenge but I do selfie sometimes just to make funny faces and relieve stress.

    I've never tried affirmations, I should put it on my list of stuff to try.

  2. hahaha embarrassing number of selfies on my phone now. yeah when i'm in a bad mood, taking a photo does not help. i have tried affirmations, though i do them a little differently, maybe not specific to myself - you know? like less of 'i am awesome' and more of 'i am going to run today' instead of 'maybe i should run, i think i will run, i might run'. you know? and also i just try and shut my negative nancy voice up, more than i try and speak over her. does that make sense? random. anywho. that green skirt in picture #5. i need it in my life.

  3. I think I need to try this out. I rarely post photos of myself at the moment because I am so negative towards myself. I have had people complain to me about my blog not having enough photos posted. I never wanted it to be a vain place but I can see where they are coming from. They want to not only see what I'm doing but also see me. Maybe I will try this and see where it gets me. Maybe I will feel less self conscious about photos of myself. Who knows. I really liked your selfies!

  4. I'm with you that when I'm not feeling my best, taking a selfie is the worst. On the other hand, I will shamelessly selfie when I'm feeling good because I think it's great to celebrate those moments of confidence! Really liked reading your thoughts on this. Oh and for affirmations, I've never done that per se but I do pick a mantra at the beginning of every yoga class (not home practice, but longer sessions with rests and meditations) and they really are similar. And fantastic!

  5. This is such a wonderful idea! I'm not so sure about the selfie aspect (although all your photos are so glam), but I think I may try the affirmation part of it. Positive self talk is so important when so many other things can make us feel terrible about ourselves. I particularly like the "I'm exuberant" one and may just steal it :)

  6. This is such a great idea. Even without taking photos, I think just telling myself those things each morning would make such a huge difference!

  7. I have never done a selfie/affirmation challenge before. I love all of yours!! Chris told me that I should look in the mirror every day with an affirmation before I leave. That it really helps him out. Something like You are awesome. People like you. You are going to conquer today. I haven't tried it yet but maybe there is something to it!

  8. Love the selfies. This is probably one of the coolest challenges I have ever heard of.

  9. I love that you did this and all of your pictures are beautiful and capture your personality! I don't do affirmations as often as I should but the key to them, whether you feel like you're lying at first or not, is to say them with conviction. You just have to own it. And you certainly did! LOVE this post!


Talk to me! I'm friendly. I won't bite.

P.S. If you use Blogger and you want to get email replies to your comments, use your blogger profile instead of Google+ and make sure the box is checked next to "show my email address."