|I have heard it said that one cannot love until one has learned to love oneself. Considering the bad press that phrase, "to love oneself", has had, I would amend that to "accept onself". To do that, one has to acknowledge that one is as imperfect as the next person and that you cannot be anyone other than who you are. If that is what you are, then that is what God has made you. And, since God accepts you as you are (He does, believe me), who are you to argue? Only when one has become comfortable with oneself can one progress to caring effectively for others.
Sorry for all that but your essay brought it to mind. If it's of help, then I'm glad. If not, it may be of some use at a future date.