Abstract Two studies examined emotions and motives in self-defining memories. In Study 1, participants recalled five self-defining memories (four recent and one earliest childhood), rated their emotions and motives during each memory, and completed a set of personality measures. A subset of participants provided a second set of memories, as well as emotion and motive ratings, approximately 2 weeks after the initial session. Results suggest that emotions and motives are moderately stable across memories and over time and show theoretically meaningful relations with self-esteem, narcissism, and affective dispositions. Study 2 extended the findings of Study 1 to a longitudinal context. Emotions and motives coded from self-defining memories were associated with changes in personality, well-being, and academic performance over a 4-year period.