From a paper on Twelfth Night that I wrote for a Shakespeare class last term, which focused on Rene Girard’s theory of “mimetic desire:”
If mutual imitation, right or wrong, is at the heart of every human relationship, self love is necessary for its existence. Without self love, the beloved has nothing to imitate in the lover. Of course, too much self love is as unhealthy as none at all. And the surety that comes with self-love is always contingent on someone else. As we are images of God, we are recipients of His love, and so we are required to be lovers, both of ourselves and of others (Matt. 22:37-39).