To truly love yourself is a learned lesson and comes with time and experience. I can honestly say I love who I have become in life through all the lessons that life sends our way. I am kind and calm natured. I can spend hours by myself and be content. I can laugh at myself when I do silly things, "like catch myself putting the milk in the cabinet". Life is too short not to love yourself and love others for who they are the same. It is a balance. So often we put everyone else first (especially women tend to do so as it is in our nature for many of us). It is nice when you get to the point in life where you take time for yourself in this very busy world. To love yourself and others is being able to forgive and love unconditionally, yet responsibly. To forgive someone that may have hurt you and that is not good for your life doesn't mean you have to keep them in your life. Forgiveness is a gift that allows one to love more strongly.
As I tell my friends that seem to carry so much weight from their past.....it is like having a shackled on your ankle that is attached to a bench. All those you feel angry with from your past or even your present are sitting on that bench and you are dragging them through your life. Wow.....that's a lot of weight to pull. You might be sitting on your own bench. Learn to forgive (including yourself). Look to the future and don't look back. Just be yourself and be happy even when life throws those curve balls at you. Live, Laugh, Love.
What most people fail to realize is that you can't know what it means to love someone else unless you truly know how to love yourself. You're asking people to look within and be honest with themselves. Very few people actually do this. I happen to be one of these people, as well as my closest friend. We challenge each other to be better people and be honest with ourselves. Just my 2 cents.
Not a lot people know about this "inner work" you talk about. But I know about it very well.
This inner work can be very threatening to people, and some see it as threatening to relationships. It has been an issue in my past relationships. And the issue is this: A number of years ago I experienced a crisis in my marriage. By as it usually happens something really good came out of that crisis, and that was the realization that happiness is an inside job. My husband could not make me happy. It was asking too much of him. In fact, making me happy was a God Job, not a People Job. Many things followed after this realization.
I informed my husband that I was not responsible for his happiness either. He was not pleased to hear this. We ended up in marriage counseling; soon after to the divorce lawyers. He never understood that his happiness was between him and God.
Today I WANT a relationship. I don't NEED one. That's a big difference. Dependency is a terrible thing. And here's the thing: I think money is nice, but I can be comfortable living in a tent. I'm so grateful that I'm contented with a lot or contented with little. I'm a survivor either way.