I would like to shed some light on the topic of self-love today. The most natural amount of self-love is displayed by infants. They just are - they take care of themselves by communicating their needs with a variety of different cries. They love themselves to the point of allowing that they are being helped by their caregivers unconditionally. This form of self-love soon finds expression in the two year old in forms of temper tantrums, where the "education" begins and the toddlers are being taught gradually that they are not the center of the universe any longer - what ?? !!
It is thus that the journey away from self-love begins for most humans. They have to go through these steps in order to be acceptable members of society - or some such.
I'm sure some parents these days have better ways to preserve the self-love in a child than what has been done to my generation. No matter, the journey is just a different one.
Personally, I've been propelled from that natural state of self-love into the polar opposite of self-loathing within a short decade. Scrambling back out of this place into a mature form of self-love has taken 3 times as long. Truly, the journey from self-loathing to the rediscovery of self-love was much more arduous.
Self-love came back to me ultimately, when I had given space to "teachers" in my life and allowed them to tell me what to do, when to do it and how. I have not had enough self-esteem, let alone any self-love to forbid another adult person to do that to/with me. So I have attracted the very thing that I feared most, oh the very thing that in the beginning has caused the disappearance of self-love. Power.
Oh power is a fickle friend and the most powerful counter agent to power which is being exerted upon oneself is self-love. The question remains on how to find self-love, when not even a trickle of this feeling is detectable inside ? I don't know what works for others, but I have found my own inner girl. She was so shy, so hurt and so small. Her little flame was almost spent. I embarked on "project pink" as I called it at the time and at first wrapped that little girl into a pink fluffy, soft blanket. There I held her in my mind's eye close to my heart and just sat with her and loved her to the best of my abilities. For hours at a time, I would sit there and beam my grown up's love and compassion towards this little girl, with whom I did at first not even identify. The journey took on a life of its own and I just followed what was before me.
Every moment, when I felt my girl despair inside, I would take a time out and beam pink energy, fluffy pink bunnies, blankets, slippers, bathrobes, pink clouds etc at her. I would make sure that she would take her fill and with each "pink-session" I felt my heart growing stronger. It was but a visualization, I am fully aware of it. Yet, it became very real on the level of my innermost sensations. I became stronger and one day, one day the girl and I merged into one and I was able to extend the pink bubble around my grown-up self. I was able to beam love at myself and what's more important, I was able to take it on. I do remember this moment as if it were yesterday. Everything faded away before the immense energy of love that beamed from my own heart and fed every cell, every energy particle of my being. I think that I visualized myself to be an intensely glowing pink globe or egg. It was formidable and the feelings it evoked in me were incredible.
The journey of my life continued and I have since been able to draw on this self-love many more times, mostly in moments where power seemed to come from another and threatened to overwhelm me. Self-love will always have your best interests in mind.
One should make a distinction between self-love and ego-aggrandizement. I think that with some reflection, the difference becomes very clear. Self-love will never put another down in the process, whereas that's the very thing ego-aggrandizement thrives on. It cannot stand on it's own, it always has to put someone else down first. Self-love however will stand on its own and vibrate on from there.