12 life lessons most women learn too late in life  

We’ve often heard people say, “that was a lesson learned” when referring to the outcome of a difficult period in their life.   

And life is full of lessons; trying, failing, picking yourself up again, learning, and moving forward.  

However, some people try to learn as much as possible from others, so they don’t have to make as many mistakes themselves. Because learning lessons the hard way is tough. 

And although no sex has it better or worse when it comes to the potential for mistakes in life, this article is exclusively for the girls.  

So, here are 12 life lessons most women learn too late in life. 

Hopefully, they will help you avoid some painful situations.  

1) People will agree with your estimation of yourself (so make it high) 

Many of us struggle with low self-worth.  

Low self-worth can be caused by many things, trauma, abuse, or neglect, but whatever the origins, the lesson here is that it is us who are ultimately responsible for determining our worth. 

Whatever value we put on ourselves is exactly what others will respond to, so never underestimate what you bring to the table and set (and stick to) high personal standards. 

As young girls, we are often expected to be sweet and passive, but as we get older this is a recipe for disaster.  

Unfortunately, it can take many years for women to learn this lesson.  

2) You are responsible for how others treat you  

This is not victim blaming. Quite the opposite, in fact!  

You teach people how to treat you by what you tolerate from them.  

And it’s up to you to set personal boundaries to ensure you never receive poor treatment.   

As Former U.S. First Lady and activist Eleanor Rosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  

This is an empowering realization that, sadly, many women have only after years of compromising their needs.  

3) Your attitude is everything  

Nothing determines the quality and outcome of your life more than your attitude. 

Having a positive mindset and self-talk will make you more confident, successful, and ensure you attract the right people and opportunities. 

It will encourage a growth mindset thereby making it more likely that you will overcome the unavoidable obstacles and inevitable challenges life presents. 

There are many situations we find ourselves in life when a different attitude would have resulted in a wildly different outcome.   

Unfortunately, many women learn the power of attitude too late.   

4) If he’s not trying to be with you, he doesn’t want to be with you 

Love is tricky, and often, reason goes out the door when it comes to matters of the heart. 

But how many weeks/months/even years of a woman’s life is lost pining for someone who isn’t interested? 

That’s why this is such a crucial lesson, and sadly, one that many only learn too late in life (if at all).  

A man (or woman) will move mountains to be with the woman they want. It’s that simple. 

So, if your feelings are unrequited, have the strength (and the self-respect) to walk away.  

The bottom line is this: Don’t make anyone a priority in your life if you’re not a priority in theirs.  

Knowing this will potentially save you years of needless heartache!  

5) Anyone who mistreats you isn’t worth your tears

And staying with heartache… 

It’s a sad fact that many women invest too much time in people who cannot see their worth and don’t treat them properly.  

But what they need to remember is that anyone who mistreats or misuses them isn’t likely to change, doesn’t deserve their time, and certainly isn’t worth their tears.  

It’s a shame that many women only learn too late in life when they experienced so much frustration and pain.  

Remember the quote: “Be with the guy who ruins your lipstick, not your mascara.” 


6) Investing in your health is non-negotiable    

When we’re young and fit, we tend not to think about how our bodies will age. 

But they will!  

So, another life lesson many women only learn too late is that investing in health is non-negotiable. 

And the best time to invest in the future of your health and fitness is when you’re young and can develop sustainable habits to last a lifetime. 

It doesn’t need to be intensive daily workouts, but at the very least make sure you’re exercising and keeping your joints supple and flexible.  

And as we age, maintaining muscle tone and a healthy body weight becomes more challenging so it’s worth it to make the effort over the years to keep your health and fitness on track.  

As the saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” 

7) Not deciding is a decision

Another lesson some women learn too late in life: that not deciding is a decision, and rarely a good one.  

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that the comfort zone kills dreams; if what we’re doing isn’t challenging, we’re not growing. 

And this is true! 

Stagnation is the enemy when it comes to realizing your potential and creating your fulfillment.  

So, don’t choose to stay put for an easy life that doesn’t push you or inspire you to become better.  

There are consequences for every decision or non-decision you make!  

8) People’s actions matter, not their words

And there are also consequences for always believing what people say… as many women who learned this lesson too late in life will attest to!  

People can talk the talk; some are gifted at it. So, it can be difficult to discern what they really think or feel by taking them at their word.  

But you will never go wrong by judging people’s intentions through their actions.

How they treat people, what they put effort into, and how they spend their time will tell you everything you need to know.  

And for many women, this realization comes too late in life and after they have spent years believing unworthy people.  

It’s a tough pill to swallow but it’s a necessary one.  

9) You were always capable  

Do you avoid putting yourself forward for projects you know you could do because you don’t want to appear over-confident

Or avoid challenges because you don’t want to fail publicly?  

Many women are hard on themselves, doubting their talents and capabilities. Or even being self-conscious about their skills.  

They feel like imposters in their work, even though they are rated highly by those around them. 

This is quite a common experience for many women.  

But sadly, as they get older (and wiser) many women realize that they really did have the capacity to achieve more than they did.

But many realize this too late.  

So, don’t doubt yourself. Ever.  

10) Sometimes you must let people go (but those who are meant to stay will) 

You’ve heard the saying, ‘”A reason, a season, or a lifetime.”  

It’s a sad fact but most of your friendships aren’t supposed to last.     

Some people will come into your life when you need support or to learn a lesson.  

Others will take up a whole chapter and bring you lots of joy.   

But the time will come for these friendships to end, sometimes suddenly and painfully, or sometimes they’ll just slowly fade away.  

Then, there are friendships that stay with you through your entire life, growing and transforming as you do.  

It’s hard, but you must be willing to let people go. But be assured, those who are meant to stay in your life always will.   

11) People’s opinions of you have nothing to do with you

Firstly, what people think of you doesn’t matter. Let’s just get the straight from the beginning! 

But what may not be as obvious is that what others think of you often has nothing to do with you, at all.   

In fact, their opinions are formed by their unconscious biases, their past experiences, their expectations, their insecurities, and their personal preferences.  

This is a lesson many women learn after spending much of their lives worrying about what other’s think or trying to impress them.  

When they get older, they realize all that matters is their opinion of themself.  

12) Don’t wait too long to consider motherhood  

Life goes by quickly. (I blinked when I was 32 and then I was 40!)  

So, don’t put off deciding whether or not you want a family of your own one day.

Unlike men, women don’t have the luxury of boundless time… that’s just the way it is.  

And it’s tragic but some women learn this the hard way too late in life.  

So really consider what you want your future to look like when you’re young enough to make it happen.   

Final thoughts  

Age brings insight.  

There are many lessons some women only learn when it’s too late to change anything. And this is devastating.

So, take note of the above to ensure you’re not among them.  

Niamh McNamara

A freelance writer fascinated with human nature and social dynamics, Niamh read literature, history, and philosophy at university before spending time in journalism and PR. Armed with a passion for words and ideas, and a healthy appreciation of the ridiculous, she tries to make sense of it all. Connect with Niamh on X @NBMcnamara123

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