This article by Matt Walsh has an interesting perspective on love (if you can get through the Christian bits). I think the idea of love needing to flow outwards towards an Other may be bang on. In my work with clients I notice that when people hate themselves, are ashamed of themselves, or ignore the consequences of their actions it is as if they ARE doing those things to an Other: their past or future selves.
When we beat ourselves up there is one doing the beating, and one being beaten. It is up to the beater to stop, see what they are doing to the victim, and feel appropriately guilty for it. It is up to the victim to find their core-rage, stand up to the beater, and make them realise the consequences of their actions.
Coming face to face with our past or future selves is something that happens naturally when we stop avoiding and allow ourselves to feel. This isn’t the same as “trying to feel good”. To me that sounds like avoidance. On the contrary, it is about being willing to feel the intensity of everything.
And when you do face yourself (a younger self seen from a third person perspective in a traumatic memory, say) what happens? Magic happens. Once eye-to-eye (I to I) contact is achieved in your imagination the sense of separation dissolves. Any emotion the younger you was feeling, you now feel. You stop seeing him / her and instead become him / her. The situation that was too much for you back then, you get to handle with the benefit of what you know right now (and, perhaps, the support and guidance of your therapist). This can all be rather intense.
And then you come back into the present.
And then you notice that you have a sense of being more at home in your body, more grounded, more comfort (fortis = strong) able to attend to the people around you in the here and now. You are more whole and, therefore, love flows more easily through you.