Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

8-2014

Abstract

In the United States, many people are instructed about the value of “being yourself” from a young age. However, what evidence is there to support this notion and what happens when “being yourself” causes a person to stand out, or be different, from others? The field of positive psychology, with its focus on the science behind well-being, stands well-positioned to answer these questions. By reviewing the theories, measurements, and research behind the two constructs of authenticity and uniqueness, this paper aims to show how being oneself does relate positively to well-being, even when doing so sets a person apart from others. It shows that humans have a desire to be authentic and doing so correlates with higher levels of life satisfaction and well-being. It also finds that humans have sometimes competing needs to belong and be unique but that these can be jointly fulfilled by joining distinctive groups. Data supports the connection between authenticity and well-being, as well as the human desire to stand out from others. Because of this, it seems that openness and acceptance must be encouraged on a broader scale in order for individuals and societies to flourish.

Keywords

authenticity, uniqueness, well-being, positive psychology

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Date Posted: 04 September 2014