Perhaps you have heard that love is putting the good of another above your own. But Thomas Merton took love a step further when he wrote,
“Love not only prefers the good of another to my own, but it does not even compare the two. It has only one good: that of the beloved, which is, at the same time, my own.”
Wow, this is how you can have a completely selfless love. If you do not do anything for your own good but only that of others, you have selfless love. Also notice the use of the word “good.” We are not to do what others want or what would make them feel good, but what is for their good. It is pretty easy to allow yourself to make others feel good. You tell your friend that she isn’t fat, you smile at an unruly toddler, and you encourage your friend to live happily in sin. But these things are not good for them.
You are loving yourself and hating others when you do things to make others feel good but ignore what is good for them. You selfishly want them to like you instead of helping them to grow closer to God. Jesus gave us the perfect example of love when he died for us. He said,
“This is love, to lay down your life for your friends.”
Giving up your life for others would stem from concerning yourself only with the good of others. Also in a smaller way you die to yourself (i.e. to your own will) when you do something for someone else. Lay down your life for your friends. Submit yourself as a slave to the good of others. Then you will be a real lover.