"Self" is such a difficult concept. Philosophers have been debating it for millennia. Scientists are trying to find it in the brain. Self may be as indefinable as personality, or soul.
I did come across a helpful distinction this week between how we sense ourselves. Object or subject. All those selfies? We're making ourselves into objects. As we are when we're being self-conscious, projecting onto others thoughts about ourselves. When we're aware of sensory input, we're subjects.
When we're in the creative state of being, we seem to be neither subject or object. We often speak of the creative sensation as being taken out of ourselves.
I've been a reader for the Minerva Rising novella contest this week. The good ones immerse me in the story and the characters, with sometimes moments of admiration or envy for the author's craft. The best of the best don't even give me that much time away. The not-so-good throw me out of the story so often with a lack of logic, or poor craft, that I begin to check my watch and how many pages I still have to plow through. I'm no longer outside myself. The novella has become an object, distancing me from the characters and the story.