It never stops.
We all have our confidence challenged every day. If you don't think of yourself as pretty, you probably think your beautiful friend has it all together. What you don't realize is that she feels like a failure at work. If you don't like your body, you may assume that woman at the gym knows that her physique is awesome. You may never realize that she feels like she's failing as a parent.
I used to believe that a person could see herself as a failure in one area, but be totally confident in the others. I don't think that way anymore. I have known too many people who lost confidence in one area, and watched as it spilled over into every other part of their lives. If you think you're failing your kids or you have failed in your career, you won't make that relationship work. Somewhere, deep down, you're telling yourself you can't.
If you're like me, you don't attract a ton of guys. You're probably cute - but only marginally. People like you - but not in a head-over-heels sort of way.
You've probably also spent the better part of your single life figuring that if only you could be one of the "pretty girls," with guys flocking around you at the bar and blowing up your phone, you'd feel better about yourself.
I have bad news: This is not the case.
Yes, there is a definite ego-boost from knowing people like you. That's actually a big reason you find so many women on dating sites. Many don't want to find a relationship - they want to find guys who will pay them some attention, and give their confidence a little lift.
But is that really confidence? Confidence is defined as:
Belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assuranceBy its very definition, confidence comes from you believing in you. I would submit that means it can not be something that comes from anyone else.
Most of us enter the dating world after a breakup (for some of us, this happens more often than others...whatever). Your confidence will never be lower than just after that kind of rejection. Even if the breakup was your idea - somewhere in your mind, you still failed. Your confidence is still shaken.
The absolute worst thing you can do is start dating, figuring that you'll find someone to boost your self-esteem.
It can't be done. He can boost your ego - "that part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world" - but that's not the same. If you get all your confidence by reacting to what others think, then guess what? It will only work when others treat you positively. The minute anyone treats you negatively - your confidence will be shattered.
I suppose the best way to do all that is different for each one of us. No matter how we do it, we all have to acknowledge that confidence isn't something that can be built once, and expected to last. It will be challenged every day of your life.
You need to be prepared to defend it as often.