Existing data suggest that the self-enhancement and self-protection motivations (which elevate or protect the positive self-concept) exert a pivotal influence on self-evaluation and behavior. Moreover, these motivations are more potent than the self-assessment motivation (which works to increase the accuracy of the self-concept) or the self-verification motivation (which works to confirm the self-concept). The data also suggest that the self-enhancement and self-protection motivations serve crucial mental health functions and that these functions are apparent across different cultures. This article relates these findings to the possible evolutionary utility of these motivations. It is argued that self-enhancement and self-protection motivations were evolutionarily selected, because they offered personal, relational, and group-rank advantages to species members who possessed these traits.