8 Life Lessons I Wish I Learned In My 20s As A Woman

Lessons Women Learn Late In Life

by Polyne K.
life lessons for women

Have you ever found yourself wishing for a manual on navigating stages of your life as a woman?

Maybe a guidebook filled with insights to help you navigate life’s ups and downs?

 As I reflect on my journey through my 20s, I can’t help but wonder:

 What if I had known then what I know now?

What if I had been privy to the invaluable life lessons that have shaped my perspective today?

 Join me on a journey of self-discovery as we explore eight life lessons that I wish I had learned in my 20s as a woman. 

From embracing vulnerability to prioritizing self-care, these lessons have been instrumental in shaping my growth. 

Ready for this?

Let’s dive in 

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life lessons for women

1 . Self-validation

Self-validation is acknowledging and accepting your emotions, beliefs, and actions as valid and legitimate. This should happen regardless of whether others agree or disagree.

Unfortunately, most women like me learned this life lesson quite late. I did it after crossing my 30-year line.

All my youthful life, I’ve relied on

  • Seeking approval from others for decisions or actions, including how to think about myself.
  • Craving praise and recognition for achievements that I so worked hard to get instead of getting out there and treating myself to the fullest.
  • Depending on external compliments to feel good about myself
  • Comparing myself to others and seeking validation based on external standards and expectations without knowing that everyone is undertaking a different life exam. As such, no one answer fits us all.
  • Feeling a sense of inadequacy most of the time.

Can you relate?

The extent to which women go to get external validation is worrying. Some even pay for it with their life. I mean, why should you stay in a relationship where you are abused daily simply because you’re afraid of what others will say?

We’ve wallowed in low self-esteem, buried our passions prematurely, and barely existed to fill the earth.


Stop looking for external validation.

Self-validation empowers you to define your worth and identity on your terms.

It’s simply packaging yourself with an unnegotiable price tag. And anyone who feels uncomfortable paying for it should be allowed to return you to the shelf peacefully. 

Learning self-validation promotes emotional and psychological independence.

It will help you, as a woman, trust your judgment and decisions.

Additionally, It will enable you to navigate challenges, criticism, and societal pressures with a stronger sense of self-assurance and inner strength.

If you can genuinely express your thoughts and passion, you can foster a deeper connection with your true identity.

2. Forgetting to Water the Seed Within

Have you ever seen someone begin a business after retirement? You may often hear them say this has been my dream for years.

But why just now after retirement?

 While landing your dream job is undoubtedly a cause for celebration, it also reminds you that the journey is far from over. 

In fact, it’s just the beginning of a new chapter—one where the importance of investing in your talent and passion becomes even more pronounced.

But why invest in talent and passion when you’ve already achieved your dreams?

Because of fulfilment.

Honestly, I wish I could have created something out of my passion in my 20s.

True fulfilment lies in the journey itself, not the destination. It lies in the pursuit of mastery—the satisfaction of pushing boundaries and the joy of discovering new horizons.

If you happen to arrive safely, you’ll value the lessons.

Unfortunately, I learned these valuable lessons long after I’ve tarmacked looking for someone to employ me.


I lacked the courage to follow my passion.


Never stop investing in your talent and passion, even if you get your dream job.

Engaging in activities that nurture your passions can create a sense of fulfilment. It brings satisfaction beyond professional success. Especially later in life.

Investing in your talent allows you to pursue your interests, express your creativity, and find joy in your work. This will enhance your overall well-being, happiness, and inner joy.

You see, your dream job could be someone’s passion and talent.

As such, it shouldn’t be entirely your destination. Work on it as a launching pad for continued growth, development, and exploration.

3. Cycle syncing


life lessons for women

Cycle syncing is a forgotten life lessons for most young women. But here’s how it goes.

If you’ve been keen enough, you probably have noticed that your energy levels and mood fluctuate based on your menstrual cycle.

Often, right before my period, I tend to feel sluggish and less motivated to do any major activity. But in the middle of my cycle, I might notice a burst in energy and inspiration to do more.

And I believe most women who experience menstruation go through this.

What if you could adjust and align your activities and outlook based on your cycle? 

  • You will experience Improved energy levels, mood, and stamina to work
  • You will enjoy reduced symptoms of PMS
  • You will get that much needed better sleep

That is where understanding Cycle syncing in your 20s comes in handy.

Cycle syncing is a holistic approach to health and wellness. The concept emphasizes listening to your body and honouring its natural rhythms.


You start aligning various aspects of life, such as diet, exercise, work, and social activities, with the different phases of the menstrual cycle for optimal productivity. 

You see,

Hormonal fluctuations occur throughout the menstrual cycle. These changes impact energy levels, mood, and ability to perform optimally.

As such, your needs and capabilities may change based on where we are in a particular phase of our cycles

Understanding my phases and adapting my lifestyle accordingly has helped me to improve my productivity and well-being. It allows me to work in harmony with my natural being rather than going against it.

Here is what happens.

(Day 1-5 )Menstrual Phase:

During this phase, which occurs at the beginning of the cycle, your body produces low estrogen and progesterone. As such, you’ll probably experience fatigue, lower energy levels, and mood changes. Cycle syncing during this phase might involve prioritizing rest, relaxation, and self-care. Engage in low-energy activities like gentle exercise, meditation, and adequate sleep.

(Day 5-14)Follicular Phase:

This phase follows menstruation and is characterized by increasing estrogen levels. This increased estrogen can lead to a rise in energy and vitality.

Cycle syncing during the follicular phase might involve focusing on more vigorous exercise. It is the best time for goal-setting and engaging in social activities or new projects.

(Day 14-15) Ovulatory Phase

The ovulatory phase occurs mid-cycle when estrogen levels peak. Here, most women experience a burst of energy and heightened social and sexual interests.

Cycle syncing during this phase might involve capitalizing on peak energy levels for intense workouts. You may also get into socializing and focus on communication and interpersonal relationships.

(Day 15-28)Luteal Phase

This phase occurs after ovulation and is characterized by higher levels of progesterone. Some individuals may experience bloating, mood swings, and fatigue.

Cycle syncing during the luteal phase might involve prioritizing nourishing foods, gentle exercise, and stress management techniques. Do more self-care practices to support overall well-being.

4. Setting Standards or Expectations of Yourself

 Beginning to set personal life standards in your 20s is something older women like me wish we had learned sooner.

Having standards is essential for defining one’s identity.

It shapes relationships and creates a life aligned with one’s values and aspirations. 

Having standards is not about being perfect. You want some level of reference that empowers you to live authentically, with clarity and focus.

I mean,

Setting expectations provides clarity about your goals, aspirations, and the direction you want to take in life.

 It helps you focus your time, energy, and resources on activities and pursuits that align with your vision for the future.

Even if the younger you drift a little bit, you’ll not fall far from your expectations.


Your 20s are a time of exploration and self-discovery. By setting standards, you gain a deeper understanding of who you are, what you stand for, and what brings you joy and fulfilment.

This self-awareness is crucial for making informed choices that resonate with your authentic self when you enter your 30s and beyond.

Please have some level of standards concerning

  • Your spirituality and personal belief
  • Personal organization and time management
  • Personal and career development
  • Health and wellness
  • Relationships and boundaries
  • Have that mentor you look up to. Have a clear picture of what you want to look like in your next phase of life.

5. Destroy the Down-Thick Mentality

life lesson

life lesson

The down-thick mentality, a.k.a” I can not do it mentality’ simply because I’m a woman, is a gender-based self-limitation. 

 It represents a belief system suggesting that specific tasks or roles are beyond women’s capabilities.

It’s a self-doubt that contributes to feelings of inadequacy or fraudulence when you step into certain reams as a woman.

Talk of self-advocacy, career choice or advancement, or even just taking your staring as that girl.

You may feel like you are stepping into someone’s territory

But should it be so?


Women ought to learn as early as possible that there is no limit to what they can do if they set their hearts on it.

As such, you need to Challenge gender norms and stereotypes by actively pursuing interests that defy gender expectations, especially if that is your passion. 

Then, develop skills and focus on mastering your craft to become an expert.

Lastly, Seek mentorship and support. Find people who can offer guidance and encouragement as you navigate challenges.

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6. Getting Comfortable Being Alone

Do you know that as much as we value spending time with friends and partners, solitude is necessary at some point?

This is one of the life lessons I wish I knew in my 20s.

Spending time alone is the highway to self-discovery, growth, and rejuvenation. It provides an opportunity for self-reflection, which leads to a deeper understanding of yourself plus what truly matters to you.

Being comfortable with solitude fosters self-reliance and independence. 

It empowers you to make decisions and act based on your needs and preferences rather than relying on others for approval.

Solitude is necessary for everyone says the American Counselling Association. It can be a fertile ground for creativity and productivity. It provides a quiet space for deep thinking, and idea generation, leading to increased productivity.

But How do you spend time alone without feeling alienated?

  •       Engage in Self-Care activities like curling up with a good book, taking a relaxing bath, or simply practicing yoga or meditation.
  •       Explore Nature: Go for a hike, visit a nearby park, or take a leisurely walk in your neighborhood. Doing so often may help reduce stress and promote feelings of peace and tranquility.
  •       Reflect and Journal. Journaling enables you to process your thoughts and emotions. It helps you gain clarity on your goals and aspirations by exploring your innermost feelings.
  •    Disconnect from Technology. Take a break from digital devices like screens to disconnect from the outside world. Focus on being present in the moment. Use this time to unplug, unwind, and reconnect with yourself and the world.
  •    Explore Your City. Take yourself on a solo adventure and explore your city or town. Visit museums, art galleries, or local landmarks. Allow yourself to wander through different neighborhoods and discover hidden gems.
  •    Relax and Unwind: Sometimes, the best way to spend time alone is to simply relax and do nothing. Give yourself permission to rest and recharge. Whether it’s by taking a nap, listening to inspirational music, or sitting on your couch and enjoying a cup of tea.

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7. Knowing How to Heal Your Soul with Your Thoughts

Often, we walk around looking fine on the outside, yet internally bleeding. The bleeding can happen due to severe inner turmoil, distress, or spiritual imbalance.

Life happens.

Along the way, you may experience trauma and emotional pain. These may include abuse, loss, or significant life challenges, which can deeply affect the soul.

Sometimes, negative beliefs and thought patterns can poison the soul and lead to feelings of self-doubt, worthlessness, or despair.

And not just that.

Toxic relationships and unfulfilled Purposes can also make your soul sick

So, how do you guard your soul against all these factors?

Older women say; use your thoughts, girl!

Using your thoughts to heal your soul involves harnessing the power of your mind to cultivate positive beliefs, attitudes, and perspectives.

The best things that have worked for me involve;

  • Practicing Self-Compassion: Be kind and compassionate toward yourself, especially during difficult times. Treat yourself with the same compassion and empathy that you would give to a loved one facing similar challenges.
  • Forgiving myself and Others. Release resentment, anger, and guilt by practicing forgiveness toward yourself and others. Let go of past hurts and grudges, and embrace forgiveness as a pathway to inner freedom and healing.
  • Challenging Negative Thoughts. Become aware of negative thought patterns or beliefs that contribute to feelings of sadness, fear, or self-doubt. Challenge these thoughts by questioning their validity. Then, replace them with more balanced and realistic perspectives.
  • Practicing Mindfulness. to stay present in the moment. Learn to observe your thoughts without judgment so that you can regain inner peace.
  •  Cultivate Gratitude by Focusing on the positive aspects of your life. Learn to cultivate gratitude for the blessings, joys, and experiences you have. Keep a gratitude journal or take time each day to reflect on what you’re thankful for.
  • Nourishing my Mind and Soul. Feed your mind and soul with uplifting and nourishing content. Read inspirational books, podcasts, music, or art. Seek sources of inspiration and wisdom that resonate with your values and aspirations.

8. Learning How to Sell Your Achievements

According to research, most women use the pronoun ‘we’ when highlighting their achievements compared to men who stick to ‘I ” even if they have a great team.

But why?

Most women downplay their accomplishments.

They prioritize ‘humility’ over self-promotion, thinking that it’s modest to avoid drawing attention to your successes.

But where does this leave you?

It only makes it challenging for people to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements.

“Selling your success” refers to the act of effectively communicating and promoting your achievements, accomplishments, and strengths to others.

 It involves unapologetically and compellingly articulating your successes to garner recognition, acknowledgement, and opportunities for advancement.

Learning How to sell my achievements as a woman is one of the life lessons I wish I had learned in my 20s.


It will help advance your career, negotiate for better compensation, build confidence, network effectively, and enhance your Branding

But how do you sell your achievements?

  • Crafting a compelling narrative. Develop a concise story highlighting your achievements, skills, and experiences. Emphasize the impact of your accomplishments and how they have contributed to your organization or community’s success.
  • Master the art of effective communication. Whether in person, through written materials, or via digital platforms. Tailor your message to your audience and convey your successes in a way that resonates with them.
  • Building a personal brand. Establish a strong personal brand that reflects your values, strengths, and expertise.
  • Networking strategically. Leverage your network to showcase your successes and connect with key influencers and decision-makers.
  • Advocating for yourself. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your accomplishments. Be proactive in seeking recognition and opportunities for advancement. Whether it’s asking for a promotion, negotiating a salary raise, or pursuing new projects or responsibilities.

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