On the whole, the healthy adaptive immune system is responsive to foreign antigens and tolerant to self. However, many individual lymphocytes have, and even require, substantial self-reactivity for their particular functions in immunity. In this review, we discuss several populations of lymphocytes that are thought to experience agonist stimulation through the T cell receptor during selection: nTreg cells, iNKT cells, nIELs, and nTh17s. We discuss the nature of this self-reactivity, how it compares with conventional T cells, and why it is important for overall immune health. We also outline molecular pathways unique to each lineage and consider possible commonalities to their development and survival.