7 lessons about self-love and acceptance most women learn too late in life, according to psychology

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You know how they say you get wiser with age? 

What if you could learn the lessons that make you wise when you’re still young enough to enjoy them and really benefit from them, wouldn’t that be great?

Today we’re talking about the crucial insights about self-love and acceptance that too many women find out way too late. We’re tapping into psychology to uncover essential lessons that could really make a difference to your happiness and well-being.

If this catches your interest, stick around. 

We’re about to explore 7 powerful lessons on self-love and acceptance to help you grow wiser and truly appreciate and embrace the incredible person you are today.

Let’s get started. 

1) The importance of setting healthy boundaries

One of the biggest self-love lessons many women learn way too late is the importance of setting healthy boundaries. In simple terms, boundaries are just a request for others to respect your needs, it’s about telling people what works for you and what doesn’t.

Yet, it’s common for many women, especially the younger ones, to struggle with this. Lots of women set boundaries but don’t stick to them, others avoid setting them altogether because they don’t want to rock the boat.

But here’s the kicker: boundaries aren’t just nice to have. They’re a must-have. Experts encourage boundary setting to protect your mental health and overall well-being. 

“Setting healthy boundaries is necessary for your health and the health of your relationships.” explains psychotherapist, Rich Oswald L.P.C “Living within these boundaries you create is crucial to lowering stress and increasing satisfaction in life.”

If you’re not used to setting boundaries, let this be your nudge to get started. Setting some boundaries is a huge step towards treating yourself with more love and acceptance, you’re finally putting your needs first. 

2) The impact of self-compassion

Let’s be honest, as women we can be pretty tough on ourselves, right? We’re always striving for unrealistic standards, trying to be everything to everyone all the time. And when we inevitably fall short? Our relentless inner critic scolds us for every little mistake we make. 

Sound familiar? 

Unfortunately, a lot of us don’t realize we lack self-compassion until much later in life. It’s all too common to see women grappling with low self-esteem because they’re just too harsh on themselves. 

It’s important to remember that we’re all human, and errors are just part of our learning journey.

Showing kindness to ourselves, making sure our inner voice is kind, and accepting our imperfections can greatly enhance our mental health. 

Dr. Kristin Neff, who specializes in self-compassion research, once said, “With self-compassion, if you care about yourself, you do what’s healthy for you rather than what’s harmful to you.”

Being gentle and patient with yourself is crucial and right now, is the best time to start. The first step is simple, treat yourself with the same understanding and kindness you show others. 

3) The dangers of comparing yourself to others

I admit, I was really guilty of this one in my 20s. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others even when you know it’s not good for you. As I’ve gotten older I’ve kicked this habit and feel so much better because of it. 

Like in my case, this lesson is often learned much too late as many women spend years comparing themselves to others which, as described by social comparison theory, often leads to feelings of inadequacy and failure.

The problem is: comparisons are set up to be unfair. We often compare ourselves to those we think are better, setting ourselves up to feel bad immediately. Or, we might compare downward to people we view as worse off, just to give ourselves a boost. Either way, it’s a skewed game.

And the experts agree, with research showing that constantly comparing yourself to others you think are better can really damage your self-esteem and negatively impact how you feel about yourself.

If you’re at a stage in life where you’re ready to give yourself more self-love and acceptance, as soon as you notice you’re comparing yourself to others, pause and shift your focus back to you. Forget about what everyone else is doing and concentrate on your own journey. 

4) The role of mindfulness in self-love and acceptance

Have you ever tried mindfulness

Believe it or not: mindfulness is a powerful tool for self-acceptance. When you practice mindfulness, you learn to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This helps you understand yourself better and accept your emotions as they are, which is crucial for self-love.

Studies back this up, showing that people who engage in regular mindfulness practice often experience higher self-esteem, a boost in their overall well-being, and feel more satisfied with themselves.

So, why not give it a shot? Incorporating mindfulness into your routine could be a game-changer in how you view yourself and interact with the world. It’s a simple, yet effective way to enhance your journey toward self-love and acceptance. 

5) The necessity of accepting what you can’t control 

Ever felt overwhelmed trying to handle everything perfectly, even things out of your control? 

It’s easier said than done but realizing that some things are simply out of your hands frees you from unnecessary stress. It’s about understanding your limits and focusing on what you can influence.

The funny thing is: accepting what you can’t control actually empowers you. It allows you to forget the uncontrollable and helps you to focus on what you can change. This acceptance also makes it easier to be kinder to yourself, fostering a sense of peace with who you are.

Experts emphasize the power of this practice. Dr. Robert Puff Ph.D. psychologist and author, points out “By putting the control back into our hands, we now have a sense of power over our own healing. When we focus our attention on the actions of others, we waste our energy.”

Unfortunately, this lesson is often learned too late in life. Women in particular spend too much time and energy on things they can’t change instead of accepting them. Realizing some things are out of your hands is the fast track to happiness, self-love, and acceptance. 

6) The power of vulnerability

When I was younger, I was convinced that showing vulnerability was a sign of weakness. I always wanted to seem like I had everything under control, never revealing any doubts or weaknesses. But then, a major breakthrough changed my perspective.

When the opportunity arose to apply for my dream job, a chance I knew might never come again, I realized that the only way to truly succeed was to admit what I didn’t know and ask for help. For the first time, I allowed myself to be vulnerable and asked for guidance.

This turned out to be totally transformative for me. Not only did I land the job, but more importantly, I learned a huge lesson: there’s immense strength in vulnerability.

Brené Brown, a best-selling author and expert on vulnerability and shame, emphasizes this point: “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.” 

This insight highlights the true power of vulnerability, it connects us to others, opens up opportunities for growth, and builds genuine strength.

Embracing vulnerability is something many learn too late. But as I learned firsthand, lowering your guard and showing your real self (flaws and all) can lead to more support and unexpected opportunities.

7) The benefits of developing a growth mindset

Do you see challenges as just annoying obstacles, or as chances to grow? How you answer that could show if you’ve got a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset means you believe you can learn from your mistakes and get better over time.

This idea comes from psychologist Carol Dweck, who says that with a growth mindset, “Challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.”

Having a growth mindset really changes how you view yourself. It lets you see yourself as always evolving, which helps you be more accepting and loving toward yourself. It’s about seeing those tough moments as opportunities to improve and discover more about yourself.

It’s never too late to start thinking this way. Starting to adopt a growth mindset today means you’re setting yourself up for more resilience, more enthusiasm for learning, and a better relationship with yourself. Why not give it a shot and see how it changes your perspective? 

Final thoughts

Too many women learn these crucial lessons about self-acceptance too late in life. 

This is your sign to start embracing these lessons now. Begin the journey of loving and accepting yourself for the incredible person you already are. 

Remember, it’s never too late to start living with more self-love and joy. 

Cat Harper

Cat is an experienced Sales and Enablement professional turned writer whose passions span from psychology and relationships to continuous self-improvement, lifelong learning and pushing back on societal expectations to forge a life she loves. An avid traveler and adventure sports enthusiast, in her downtime you'll find Cat snowboarding, motorcycling or working on her latest self-development project.

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