Self-Esteem Gets Better With Age: Part II

Because who couldn’t use a little reminder right about now?

With all the challenges — er, changes — that come with midlife, like losing sleep, gaining weight, dry skin and assorted other stuff we kvetch about, it’s amazing to know that researchers say we’ve reached the age when our self-esteem is highest.

Still need convincing? Then let’s back up a bit…

Self-esteem begins its rise in childhood between the ages of 4 and 11. That’s when miraculous things begin to happen:

  • You begin to make friends and develop social skills. 👯

  • You gain some sense of independence. 👍🏻

  • You realize you can step outside your boundaries and ignore the word “no.” 💪

  • You learn new skills and develop cognitively. 🙌

All that mastery adds up to feeling pretty good about who you are.

Remember those days?

Then young-adulthood hits, and with it, self-esteem takes a giant hit — as in feeling self-conscious, not-good/smart/pretty/popular enough.

We remember those days too.

I was so awkward and self-conscious that I’d quake at the thought of walking across a room, lest everyone (or anyone) would look at me. I never felt good/smart/pretty/popular enough.

I was never sure if I was doing or saying the right thing.

Of course, I realize now that no one was thinking about me. Just like me, they were thinking about themselves. It was a messy time, but that’s adolescence for you.

But then, just as a flower grows and blossoms, I opened up into the bloom of midlife. This the season when we come closer to our mortality and wise up. We expand (and I don’t mean weight-wise) and all that hard work handled, mistakes made and suffering endured starts to really pay off:

  • We have satisfying, grounded and precious friendships. 👯

  • We relish our independence. 👍🏻

  • We are brave enough to once again step outside our boundaries to say “no” — and ignore any boundaries too. 💪

  • We continue to learn and grow. 🙌

Relish this stage and this day today. Because you’ve earned it — and I have too.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

How’s your self-esteem? Do you find it’s at an all-time high, or are you still a work in progress? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Reply to this email — or click through to comment.

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“Midlife is, for many adults, a time of highly stable life circumstances in domains such as relationships and work. Moreover, during middle adulthood, most individuals further invest in the social roles they hold, which might promote their self-esteem… People take on managerial roles at work, maintain a satisfying relationship with their spouse or partner, and help their children to become responsible and independent adults.”
Ulrich Orth, professor of psychology at the University of Bern

For a Pause

  1. This article in the Harvard Business Review argues for the fact that midlife change is an existential necessity. A great read.

  2. Since self-esteem is like a fine wine, you might want to learn more from about enjoying wine naturally.

  3. Falling behind in the self-esteem category? Don’t compare-and-despair; try these things instead.

  4. If working on your self-esteem means working on your nutrition and weight, there’s an app for that called noom. Vroom, vroom.

One More Thing…

Let’s all grow up to be as cool as Martha Stewart — or at least get invited to her beautiful farm in Bedford, NY.

Until next week, stay well, stay healthy, stay safe.

See you next time!


I'm coming out
I want the world to know
I got to let it show
I’m Coming Out, Diana Ross

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