I'm a big believer that the state of mind you journey with is the state of mind you'll have when you arrive at your destination. If you're looking for a new job or a smaller size of jeans to make you feel like a success, but without them you feel inept, then there's nothing to say that you'll suddenly feel like you've 'made it' just because you've wracked up a couple of real world reasons. What they don't teach us in school is that our experience of reality doesn't come from the "facts"- our experience of reality has always been determined by what we take the facts to mean.
You could have a pile of gold sitting in the corner and if you don't know that gold has been given value in our economy, then you're not going to feel wealthy- you've just got some metal shit taking up space and gathering dust, that you're trying to decide if you can put it out with next week's recycling. We don't experience the "facts"; we experience our personal meaning of the facts. That's why gratitude journals are all the rage for people who want abundance- because if you don't appreciate what you have then, no matter how much stuff you accumulate, you may never feel truly wealthy. That's why I friggen' love self-love!
A couple of years ago when I was really starting to soak into deep love and appreciation for myself (I was over trying it on- I knew it fit like a glove and made my bum look amazing), an old flatmate of mine said that if he fully loved himself then he wouldn't keep growing as a person. I got where he was coming from... but I fundamentally disagreed which of course, being me, I told him so. I love self-love! It floats my boat. It fills my cup. It rings my bell. I wasn't just going to sit by while someone slagged it off- not on my watch! This wonderful human being was a go-getter. He was gettin' shit doooone, no doubt about it. But he never seemed to experience much satisfaction from achieving his goals... because he was always coming up with a next goal. And a next goal. And a next goal. He was gathering gold but he was using it as a doorstop until the day his real 'wealth' finally arrived.
In defence of my beloved, I must say: Self-love is not about merely tolerating or settling for who you are. Real self-love is about having compassion and appreciation for who you are as a complex, ever-changing creature. It's about saying to yourself: "I see all sides of you, even the parts I don't fully like or understand, and you are still worthy of my love". It's not about saying: "I love you so I'll stop trying". If that's what you wanna do then that's cool. I'll give you a high five the next time I see you walking to work in your track pants. Right on! But that kind of self-love is more like resigned self-acceptance, where your life satisfaction is determined by how many afternoon naps you can fit in. The key is to love yourself enough to know that you're worthy of what you really want, but to love yourself too much to think that your worthiness depends on the outcome of getting what you want. Self-love is a kind companion that travels alongside you, giving great directions and playing the raddest beats, but the destination is still totally and completely up to you!
More than that, there's actually a weird paradox that occurs when you truly accept yourself as you are: you aren't limited by who you are or who you've been. When you can accept yourself as you are you don't take yourself so seriously! You can have a giggle and get curious about yourself without every flaw being the death of your ego. When we feel insecure or inept everything is SO personal!! We take it all so seriously. If you fail, the sky comes crashing down and your sense of dignity comes plummeting with it.
Besides, if you deeply despise someone, how motivated are you to go out of your way to do right by them? Exactly, not really... So why would it be any different when that person is you?... You're right, it wouldn't.
If you don't love yourself then it's so hard to make positive changes long-term because, on a fundamental level, you don't believe you're worthy of them- so a part of you will always (oh so sneakily) sabotage your efforts. I used to be SO self-critical (not that you would know- self-doubt doesn't look pretty in a profile photo), but when I learned to love myself I thought "ooh, if I can change that, what else can I change about me?" It enabled me to get curious about who I did and didn't want to be because, no matter what happened, I was always in my corner thinking I was badass. Your self-concept becomes so much more flexible because it's no longer do-or-die: it's survive-or-thrive. And when you think you're worth it, you're going to want to thrive!
So self-love is not about finding a nice, cosy corner of mediocrity and saying "this will do me just fine". Because you really LOVE yourself. Why would you settle? You're right, you wouldn't.