It's no surprise that self-esteem ebbs and flows throughout the course of your life. Certainly, you can think of times when your confidence felt sky high and others instances when you may have struggled to feel good about yourself. In order to gain a better understanding of how self-esteem fluctuates, researchers Ulrich Orth, Ruth Yasemin Erol, and Eva C. Luciano analyzed data from more than 164,000 participants collected from 331 independent samples. Their deep dive into the world of self-esteem revealed trends in how and when self-confidence rises and falls from ages 4 to 94, as well as the exact age most people reach peak self-esteem.
The researchers defined self-esteem as "a person's subjective evaluation of his or her worth as a person." According to their findings, average levels of self-esteem increase from age 4 to 11 and remain stable from 11 to 15. After adolescence, self-confidence seems to only increase from young adulthood to middle age. Finally, people seem to feel the best about themselves at age 60, where confidence levels remain strong until age 70 and begin to decline slightly until age 90 and more drastically into very old age.
The fact that self-esteem reaches its peak at age 60 is not entirely surprising. "Midlife is, for many adults, a time of highly stable life circumstances in domains such as relationships and work," Orth explains to TIME. "Moreover, during middle adulthood, most individuals further invest in the social roles they hold, which might promote their self-esteem." Orth attributes this to the fact that people of this age often take on higher roles at work, maintain a satisfying relationship with a significant other, and help their children become independent.
While you may have to wait until your 60s to reach your highest levels of self-esteem, take comfort in the fact that it can really only go up from here and find out six ways to boost your confidence right now.