Is to say, "I love myself" selfish? Is it best to say, "I love God" or "I love humanity and nature."
Long ago when I first heard, "you can't give what you don't have,” I thought it selfish, navel gazing and self-seeking. But of course at the time I equated love on how people felt and judged me. In other words "LOVE" was a people-pleasing product I must become or strive for to feel loved or to love.
Then, as I thought and learned more about love and loving, I realized that love is not a product or outcome. So does love include loving those that abuse us? No, because that is not loving ourselves. How can we give what we don’t have? Teach what we don’t know?
Permit some examples: many parents want their kids to do well, but is it because they want to feel like good parents or is it for the good of the child? Some help others so that the others they help do well, but is it the well as judged by the receiver or what the giver wants?
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Does this mean that we are to sacrifice our children for the good of humanity? In 1 Corinthians 13:4–8a (New International Version) "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs." Are we incapable of love if we fail to feel that perfect love or loving? Gautama Buddha: “You, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” and “In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?”
So, do love God, humanity, and nature preclude loving ourselves? How can we hate ourselves and love?
As I see it, love is not I love you or me because you are, or I'm so beautiful. Love is what raises us out of self-loathing and into loving. An open hand that holds a butterfly without crushing its wings. Love is accepting others and us as who we are and moves us forward to what we want to do and be in life. What say you?