“Ordinarily, we assume that our feelings of having a self mean that the self is utterly real: unbreakable, enduring, permanent, and absolute. ‘Really real,’ as Professor Robert Thurman likes to say.
But the Buddhist understanding is that, although the self appears to be real, it is only the appearance that is real. The self is not a lasting entity in its own right. It is not separate and distinct from the circumstances that give rise to its appearance.
Understanding this crucial distinction enables one to enjoy the self’s manifestations without trying to make them more than they really are.
The glass can be valued, even treated as precious, while knowing that it is already broken.”
Epstein M. "Psychotherapy without the Self. A Buddhist Perspective." Yale University Press, New Haven CT, 2007.