This in an idea embraced by many Christians in the 1990’s and is still repeated and believed, mostly by those in the Inner Healing movement. They’ve built it on a misunderstanding of Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:19, “love your neighbor as yourself” (from Leviticus 19:18),insisting that a person must have good self-esteem in order to love anyone else. But Jesus didn’t say that. He was speaking from a “given" that people in general think very well of themselves, feeding themselves, putting themselves first (of course,there are some who don’t, but a closer look might surprise you). Paul confirms this general understanding in Ephesians 5:28,29.
However, history reveals the surprising roots of this idea of self-love preceding love for others, “According to Buddhism, self-love comes first. By helping ourselves we can help others effectively."*