The concept of self is so important to Buddhism because it is considered to be the root cause of suffering. Suffering is so important in Buddhism because that is the condition that Buddha spent his lifetime overcoming. This is where everybody can relate to Buddhism, because everybody wants to overcome suffering. Not everybody can relate to Buddhism around the concept of self. The concept of self in Buddhism is that there is no self. That is a strange concept.
You don’t need to believe that there is no self in order to address your suffering. When you are trying to work through difficult emotions and circumstances, then you can work with your suffering self. You have to be able to look at yourself. You have to be able to live with yourself. You have to try to get to know yourself and accept yourself. You should figure out how to like yourself and eventually how to love yourself. All of that working with yourself will go a long way toward relieving your suffering. That is building yourself up.
Once yourself is acceptable to you, then you can afford to try to break it down by exploring your no-self. To explore no-self it is helpful to simply offload your self onto your ego. Your ego is your mental construct that has been acting like you all along. Your ego can go on being you by taking pride in accomplishments and feeling shame in embarrassments. The ego can continue to suffer those ups and downs. It is easy to continue to feel connected to the ego’s trials because it is still you, but you can also feel separate from it. That separation is another idea. It is identifying with something beyond the ego. It is identifying with the world in a direct way. Your ego still goes to the grocery store and smiles at the checkout person, but you are aware that there is something else going on in that exchange. You and the checkout person are part of the same thing. Two egos, some groceries, and something else.
To work with your suffering you must work with yourself and challenge yourself to work through the difficulties. To work with your peace, step out of your self. Taste your food. Smell the tea. Hear the music playing in the background. See the moon. Feel peace.