I lived in a Zen monastery for three years, have undergone psychoanalysis, different therapy modalities and have studied my own mind extensively. I have a good sense of how I cause my own suffering -- by believing in the program that runs automatically in my mind telling me its version of reality. It might say, “You can’t do such-and-such a thing. Others can but not you.”
It helps to have the awareness that this is a story I’m telling myself. This allows me to drop the narrative and attend to the actual sensations and feelings I’m having. I might be experiencing fear, for example. And I may not want to feel that. So instead, I’ll stay in my head running the program that makes everything fairly predictable. It's how I know myself.
It can be helpful to have another person run interference for us and help us see what it is we’re believing about ourselves. To simply hold that space for us to look at what it is we take for granted or accept as true.
Until we can actually see the program that’s been running our lives unawares, we’re not going to be able to change it.