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Abstract This study examined the relations of the salience and elaboration of gay and straight possible selves to subjective well-being (SWB) and ego development (ED) in a sample of 107 gay men and lesbians, who wrote narrative descriptions of their straight and gay best possible selves and rated the salience of these narratives (i.e., the clarity of the mental image, how easy it was to imagine). Independent raters coded the narratives for amount of elaboration (i.e., vivid detail). The salience of the gay possible self was positively related to SWB and outness, while the salience of the straight possible self was negatively related to SWB and being out. Furthermore, the possible self variables mediated the relationship of outness to well-being. Straight self-elaboration predicted personality development concurrently and prospectively, over 2 years. Results are interpreted as indicating that, while happiness may require us to focus upon our current life goals, personality development might require an exploration of the potential sacrifices of identity.