I first met the Dalai Lama of Love (blame me for the nickname for Zach Beach, not him!) at a self-love workshop he put together a few weeks ago as part of his Learn to Love series, called Learning to Love Ourselves First.

That enough love for you?

The session was run by Steve Bearman, a 20-year counselor and founder of the Interchange Counseling Institute in San Francisco.

Now, I’m not focusing on self-love all that much as part of my User Manual exploration. My goal is to make relationships (aka the love between two people) ridiculously amazing above all.

But if you don’t love yourself, it’s hard to love others–or expect others to love you.

Seriously, this is my most “loves” per blog post ratio ever. I love it!

Steve offered three guidelines for self-love, which translate into terrific guidelines for the User Manual.

  1. Give yourself compassion. We’re often way too hard on ourselves, setting unrealistic goals and holding ourselves to unattainable standards. We fall down, have bad days, regress, aren’t superheroes. Accept it and remember we’re awesome underneath. (Translation: be understanding to your partner, even when it’s hard.)
  2. Fulfill desires/stop withholding. This was an interesting point to me, because I feel like most decently well-off people always go for the extra-large pizza/high-end TV/luxury villa already. But I think Steve meant this more in emotional terms, urging us to let ourselves do the things we really want to do. (Translation: give your partner what he/she needs–what are you waiting for! And the User Manual tells you exactly what to do) Bonus: the perfect opportunity to share one of my favorite movie lines:
  3. Become your true self. As Gretchen Rubin put it, stop pretending you like classical and jazz; let yourself love crappy soft rock. I have a personal motto to always listen to the little voice in my head–it’s my subconscious trying to butt in. And my subconscious knows what I want far better than my confused conscious brain. (Translation: support your partner as he/she finds her way.)

The indelible moment with Steve came when we wrote down all the blistering self-critiques we think about ourselves, handed them to a partner, and endured them withering us with our own malicious words. It’s a brilliant reminder that most of us would never talk to anybody with the vitriol we dish out to ourselves–and to please, ease up!

Share the love