photo: Corbis
So you’ve just been dumped. Breakups suck, but there’s a way to get out of one relatively unscathed. When rejected, a lot of us blame ourselves, even when we know it takes two to tango and it’s also his fault the relationship did not succeed.

According to some experts, women tend to take on blame and that feeling of rejection after a split. There’s fault on both sides of the equation, but that does not mean there is something wrong with you. So if weeks or even months have passed and you’re still beating yourself up about this — wallow no more! We spoke with Washington, D.C.–based life coach Kamari Chelsea about how to leave a breakup feeling empowered instead of defeated. Here are Chelsea’s tips on pulling yourself out of the self-blaming cycle!

Don’t take it personal. “With women, the first thing they say is always, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ and ‘Why did he do this to me?’” says Chelsea, who believes you should never take a breakup personally. “It’s easier said than done, but when done, it creates understanding, which is really the key to love. It’s really easy to be like, ‘He dumped me because of something I did or did not do.’ But how much of the breakup was really about you and how much was about him?” Sometimes things just don’t work out; sometimes you’re just not compatible; or sometimes it’s just about timing. Just because you broke up doesn’t mean you’re any less valuable, she says.

Don’t make assumptions. Chelsea says another common post-breakup mistake is making assumptions. “One of the biggest relationship problems that I see is that people assume: ‘He didn’t call me, he sent me this text — he must not like me. It’s a wrap,’" Chelsea adds. She goes on to explain how telling yourself that your ex was a jerk or didn’t care about you doesn’t actually help you move on. It digs you deeper. “What makes you feel better is understanding. When you can come to a place and you can say maybe there was a big misunderstanding here between us on my part and on his.”

Understand where the other person was coming from. Yes, he made mistakes, but chances are you did too, so try to understand where he was coming from and admit to your own mistakes. “Most of the time when I see breakups it’s about a lack of willingness to say, ‘Hey maybe I need to understand where this person is coming from,” Chelsea says. But understanding where that person was coming from and forgiving is key to moving on.

Stop choosing rejection. “Rejection, that’s something women in breakups have to stop doing. Stop choosing something that’s not actually serving you,“ says Chelsea. “It doesn’t make you feel good at night to go to bed at night and say, ‘I choose to think that I was rejected.’” Sometimes it’s better to just admit you don’t know.

Get real and get closure. “If it’s still really bothering you, go back and figure out what it was that’s making you feel rejected,” Chelsea says. She recommends reaching out to the guy to get the closure you need to move forward.

Embrace the good. “You need to be willing to see the good in this. Tell yourself, ‘I love myself, I accept myself, and I’m proud of myself, even though it didn’t work out,’” Chelsea says. And remind yourself that as much as it might hurt right now, you will be okay without this person. Embrace the lesson learned, and apply it toward future relationships.

Put some distance: Keep a safe distance from your ex after you’ve broken up. "I’m always a proponent of being thoughtful about who is in your inner circle,” says Chelsea. How you feel when you’re around that person determines whether or not you should still be in contact. If it’s affecting you in a negative way and not allowing you to move on, then it’s probably best to cut communication. And then stick to your word.