The importance of who you really are: The role of the true self in eudaimonia. Chapter uri icon


  • Philosophers and psychologists alike have long searched for the “ingredients” of a eudaimonic life. This search is akin to the way a baker may search for the perfect list of ingredients for a cake. Just as flour serves as the foundation for a cake, the true self may be the foundation of a life well lived. The idea that the true self is critical to the good life has a rich tradition in psychological theorizing. In this chapter, the authors review the existing theory and empirical research for the importance of the idea of a true self, as well as review their own growing program of research that specifically examines the meaning-making function of the true self-concept. By serving as a wellspring for meaning and value, the authors suggest that the true self-concept is an important component of eudaimonic functioning, particularly for those who believe it is real. Although the research cannot (yet) speak to whether the true self literally exists or to the potential importance of accuracy in true self-knowledge if it does exist, the authors conclude that this research suggests that people who are searching for meaning should look inward. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

author list (cited authors)

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

Book Title

  • The best within us: Positive psychology perspectives on eudaimonia.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013 11:11 AM