Loving others springs naturally from a deep and genuine love and acceptance of the self. There is no need to think about how to help others, or protect them if we possess a clear understanding about self-love.
I think that most of us believe that we love and accept ourselves. But can we sit in silence and observe honestly all of our actions or inactions and feel no discomfort or dissatisfaction? Just try to do this, and see how often you begin to justify many things that are unwholesome in your character. And try to become aware that any justification is an avenue for your avoidance and delusion. A complete acceptance of the self with unconditional and unquestionable love is not fully present. At least not yet.
The good thing is, we have limitless potential to expose our best nature. To become all that we are capable of as human beings. But we must be willing to examine our own minds individually and with complete honesty. This is where we begin to develop virtue. Forget what others may or may not do in this World, it is completely irrelevant to your own spiritual growth. We are each like seedlings, connected to the earth and Sun and sky. And to grow, we need to nurture and cultivate ourselves not only with good intentions, but actions and understanding.
And like the seedling, none of us bloom overnight. Diligence, patience, gentleness and determination combine like the Sun and rain to nourish and support our practice.
So yes we are all very connected, but at the same time, we grow alone.
I encourage each of you to face your realities as they present themselves for you individually. With complete honesty and humility, try to understand that you are completely lovable just as you are. But also that you posses the tremendous inherent potential of awakening the Buddha within you. Your life starts today, in this moment. Stop thinking that you are “this” or “that”, because that is the first delusion. And with this clearer awareness, you will not be able to help but to radiate loving-kindness and compassion toward other beings.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.