Some years ago I read a Dharma teaching in which the teacher used the slogan: “Where there is hurt, there is self.” The teacher said that this was one of the most useful “rules of thumb” that he had come across in all his spiritual training. I know what he means.
In fact, spiritual training depends upon us being willing to look at our self, not as a precious thing to be defended, but as the probable source of most of our own troubles. Of course, mostly we are unaware of it doing so. In modern parlance, we say that there are unconscious motivations. However, these subterranean rumblings have symptoms on the surface and near the surface, a bit in the same way as magma below throws up volcanoes above. Volcanoes can remain dormant for periods of time and then erupt periodically. We are much the same.