A wide variety of motivations for engaging with narratives have been proposed and studied. We propose that underlying these motivations is another, more fundamental motivation. Our premise is that maintenance, defense, and regulation of the personal and social self in daily life are demanding both emotionally and cognitively. Moreover, any individual self is constrained by capability, situation, and social role. Stories and identification with story characters provide a means individuals may use for temporary relief from the task of self-regulation and from the limitations of individual personal and social identities. Existing supportive research is acknowledged and implications explored, concerning contexts in which story involvement will be particularly attractive and possible impacts on attitudes and acceptance of out-groups including stigmatized others. © 2014 International Communication Association.