When are you going to finally feel worthy? This is a lifelong question many of us wrestle with our entire careers, and now science has an answer about when it’s most likely to happen: age 60. In a new analysis on 191 research articles about self-esteem, covering data from almost 165,000 people, researchers in Psychological Bulletin concluded that your later midlife is when you’ll have the highest self-esteem.
You’ll have more self-esteem when you’re older
For those of us struggling to define our self-worth in our early careers, there is some good news to look forward to later. The researchers found that our self-esteem has a natural lifespan, peaking at age 60 and remaining constant until age 70, regardless of the gender, ethnicity, or nationality of the participants.
“Self-esteem increases in early and middle childhood, remains constant in adolescence, increases strongly in young adulthood, continues to increase in middle adulthood, peaks between age 60 and 70 years, and declines in old age and more strongly in very old age,” the researchers concluded.
The study suggests our self-esteem climbs as we age because maturity is associated with higher self-esteem. When you’re less worried about social comparisons in high school and college, you can finally feel be free to be who you are and recognize that you are enough. As we get more responsibilities and learn from our mistakes, we feel more assured of our place in the world.
“During middle adulthood, most people further invest in their social roles, for example by taking on managerial roles at work, maintaining a satisfying relationship with their spouse or partner, and by helping their children to become responsible and independent adults,” the study said.
This article was first published on August 24, 2018.