The True Self and Psychological Health: Emerging Evidence and Future Directions



A variety of philosophical and psychological perspectives converge to suggest that a happy and meaningful life is the product of living in accord with one’s true self. This idea similarly appears throughout literature, film, and folk wisdom. The current paper examines both theoretical and lay conceptions of the true self and reviews the empirical evidence that supports its role in psychological health, with a particular emphasis on current research that demonstrates that both the accessibility and ease of thinking about one’s true self-concept is associated with the experiences of meaning and satisfaction. The merits of different approaches to defining the true self, measurement issues, and directions for future research are discussed.