I’ve been a fan of Gala Darling for years. When she announced that she was releasing an intensive,30-day online course focussing on radical self love, I was very excited. I’m all for improving my relationship with myself, and I was eager to give this a try.
My jaw hit the floor when I saw the price: $100. I couldn’t believe it. When the bootcamp came on sale at Valentines Day, I snapped it up for just $50. I immediately set to reading the daily lessons and applying myself to complete my homework.
Basically, the bootcamp is meant to be completed over the course of a month. There’s a little bit of reading to do each day, and then a homework task to complete. You also get access to the “Radical Self Love forum”, where you can discuss your progress and problems with other people who are completing the bootcamp. The bootcamp is supposed to help you overcome ‘radical self-loathing”, which Gala defines as:
“It’s a creeping malaise. A feeling of despair & desperation. Hopelessness. Apathy. Not knowing what to do next. Wanting to improve your life but having no idea how to do that. Feeling disgusted by the way you look. Not wanting anyone to take a photo of you. Feeling like your insecurities are dictating your life. Feeling demotivated. Being “stuck”. Feeling lost. Loneliness. Thinking you have no options. Wanting to love yourself but feeling like you’re not worth it…”
Gala states that, among other things, the boot camp will:
“Get you feeling motivated, energised & excited again!
& most of all, inspire you to start living the life you’ve always wanted!”
It’s been a long while since I finished the bootcamp. You might be wondering why I’ve waited so long to write a review. The truth is, I’ve been a bit conflicted about whether to write it or not, because I was raised with the adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. However, after much consideration, I decided it was important for me to write this review. I think that people should be able to make an informed choice about the things they buy. When I searched online for reviews of the bootcamp, I barely found any. The only ones that are readily available are those that have been published by Gala herself, or by people who are close friends of hers. I felt that it would be good for me to share my opinions so that people can think carefully before they buy this product.
To say that I was disappointed by the bootcamp would be a radical understatement.
For starters, readers were promised that the bootcamp would feature all new content. As someone who has been reading Gala’s blog for four years now, I was excited about this prospect. I totally understand that it can be difficult to come up with fresh content when you’ve been writing for years, but of late, I’ve found Gala’s site stale and repetitive. I was looking forward to an injection of new material. I was dismayed when I opened the PDF to find pages and pages of the same old tripe. Re-hashed stories about Gala’s background and the obstacles of her youth, videos and articles about EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and advice about developing a self-love bible were rife. There was very little new content and few fresh ideas.
I was also disappointed with the quality of the content. Self-love is a very tricky topic to cover. Feeling crummy about oneself is something that most people go through at some stage. Some people feel this more acutely than others. There are a huge range of reasons for self-loathing, including depression, mental illnesses, low self-esteem, eating disorders and problems with body image. When you consider Gala’s definition of “radical self loathing”, many of the points she raises can be major symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression and eating disorders. When you’re dealing with issues that are deeply rooted in people’s minds and hearts, you need to offer advice that’s a little more substantial than “Eat a cupcake and dance naked in front of the mirror” or “Masturbate!” I felt that the advice in the bootcamp was simply too trivial and twee to deal with the issues of self-loathing and self-esteem that it purports to. To me, it was the equivalent of telling a depressed person to ‘just stop being sad’ or a person with a broken leg to “walk it off”.
I also felt that the bootcamp set unrealistic expectations. Feelings of self-hatred and low-self esteem build up over time. It’s unrealistic to expect a 30-day e-course to even begin to deal with these issues. Gala spends a good chunk of the course talking about how she cured her eating disorder overnight with EFT. I found this really offensive. As someone who struggled with anorexia for most of her teen years, I can tell you that eating disorders do not go away overnight. There’s no quick fix. It takes years to get back on your feet, both physically and emotionally. It’s hard enough to have to deal with the reality of recovering from an eating disorder or mental illness. It’s even more difficult when you have someone telling you how easy it was for them to overcome it, and how they fixed themselves overnight. Telling a story like this to a person who is suffering not only makes them feel like a failure, but it gives them unrealistic expectations of what their recovery ‘should’ look like.
These things made me mad, but they weren’t the thing I found the most disturbing about the bootcamp. There are serious issues at play when you talk about self-loathing and low self-esteem. At no point in the bootcamp was there any suggestion that a person who was feeling overwhelmed by feelings of self-doubt and loathing should seek professional advice. Gala talks about her experiences with depression and eating disorders, and gives the impression that she thinks that all you need to do to get over them is to buy a sparkly dress and a vibrator and write a page-full of affirmations. She even discusses how unhelpful she found therapy in the past. I do understand that therapy isn’t for everyone. But if you’re giving people advice on how to overcome serious mental and emotional problems, I think you have an obligation to at least suggest that they look into counselling or professional advice if they feel overwhelmed. Not to do so is just downright irresponsible.
I don’t feel as though I got my money’s worth for this bootcamp. I felt that the content was recycled and poorly researched. I feel ripped off, and I wouldn’t buy another of Gala’s products. I feel really disappointed and angry with the way that the author dealt with serious issues, and I felt that the whole thing was rather condescending and opportunistic.
I would urge you to think very carefully before signing up for this e-course. If you feel low or are searching for a way to overcome a mental illness or bout of malaise, here’s what I think you should do. Use that $100 you would have spent on Gala’s bootcamp, and instead spend it on something that would actually help you to feel better. If you think you might be depressed or struggling with mental illness, go to see a counsellor or therapist. If your energy levels are low, see a nutritionist, a trainer or a doctor who can advise you on how to take better care of your body. If you’re just in a bit of a slump, take yourself out on a date with your best friend. Spend that money in a way that will actually get you on the road to recovery. Because trust me, the Radical Self Love Bootcamp probably won’t do the trick.
Have you bought the Radical Self Love Bootcamp? What did you think?
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