Examining the True Self as a Wellspring of Meaning Chapter uri icon


  • © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. All rights reserved. This chapter explores the idea that the true self is a fundamental source of meaning in people's lives. Specifically, we argue that people's beliefs about who they really are (i.e., their true self-concepts) form the foundation for idiosyncratic life philosophies, which in turn inform decision making by providing guidance about which choices are worthwhile. In the chapter, we review the existing literature that suggests the true self-concept is a source of meaning and then propose a variety of potential explanations for why the true self-concept is used in this way, with particular consideration for the idea that there may not actually be a true self. This perspective helps explain why some choices are viewed as meaningful to some people but not others, even if the existence of a single true self may be a myth.

author list (cited authors)

  • Schlegel, R. J., Smith, C. M., & Hirsch, K. A.

citation count

  • 5

Book Title

  • The Experience of Meaning in Life

publication date

  • January 2013