I've been reading further on the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, notably the second one which describes taṇhā or "craving," as what ties humans to feelings of dis-ease and dissatisfaction. In other words, we spend a lot of energy craving things into existence -- things that make us feel secure or give us pleasure -- and, also craving for things to cease existing -- things that throw us off balance or cause us pain.
They can be very basic desires: wishing for good health, financial security, fulfilling work, an affectionate relationship. But the list can easily get longer, the desires more specific, and I can blame my suffering very easily on everything except my own craving. That person would respect me if I didn't have this pimple growing in the center of my face. I would have the energy to finish all of my errands if the weather weren't so gloomy. I would be able to sleep if only that dog would stop barking. Can you relate?