Sometimes I just hate when people say, "you have to love yourself before you can love others." People often say this by way of offering comfort in the midst of relationship difficulties, but it makes me feel like I'm standing by myself on the top of a windy mountain with a big accusing finger pointing at me. The direction to "love yourself" usually is not comforting at all. Certainly it's not something that one can just go out and get, bring home, take out of the box and have it start working nicely.
And yet, there are times when perhaps a hint of this truth becomes visible, accessible. For example, if we look closely enough at our desires to love others and be loved by them, we realize that even in the most requited of loves, the symmetry is never exactly perfect. I think we assume that it is, and, actually, I think that's ok because I think that what we assume often actually can come to be. I think maybe we depend to some degree on each others' assumptions to bring the symmetry closer to "perfection."
Which means, instead of looking and looking for evidence of the love we want from the other person, might not it be possible, to some degree, to just assume that it's there? And the thing that lets us assume, that could be self-love. Maybe.