The way that I think about ‘the self’ is; the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the soul.
The conscious mind is the pilot of my meat vessel (the body).
Most of life is spent keeping the meat vessel intact. i.e.. Study hard, get a job, feed meat vessel, exercise meat vessel, rest meat vessel. Repeat…. Actually, thinking about my body, it’s the same as how I treat my car! It’s not the prettiest, it’s a bit scratched up and has some lights on the dashboard. But as long as it gets me where I’m going, I’m happy with it. Maybe your car can tell you something about yourself.
The subconscious mind is like the navigator in the passenger seat.
Passenger seat navigator is just along for the ride for the most part, but subtly directs the pilot. The passenger seat navigator has a bit of an ego and, it’s greatest challenge is admitting when they’re lost or asking for directions.
The soul is in the back seat and is the reason we’re driving / flying in the first place.
The soul has stuff to do, places to be and people to meet. It’s the subconscious mind and the conscious mind’s job to make sure all of that stuff happens. But the soul is way in the back seat so it’s hard for the subconscious mind and the conscious mind in the front seat to hear what the soul is saying.
We tend to prioritise things in order of conscious, subconscious and then soul. eg. Taking a well paid job that you don’t like very much. Meat vessel is happy enough but the soul is pretty annoyed. For some reason, jobs that align with the soul tend to be not well paid unless you’re a master at them, i.e. creative or humanitarian work. (I guess scientific or health care work can be an exception to this idea.) Things to do with the meat vessel seem to get paid the most, ie. plastic surgery, selling high level instant gratification items, etc.
I think happiness from the self comes from listening to, and doing things that align with the ideals of the three. Life is about balance. Finding a middle ground for three different points of view can be difficult, but to be honest, you’ve got a life time to figure it out. What else do you have to do?