Everyone makes mistakes. From an outsider’s perspective, it is easy to judge other people’s relationships and think that it will never be you. Until one day, it is. Cue questions and self-doubt. How could I have not seen it before? How could I have treated someone that way?

In hindsight (we hear it’s 20/20?), there are things you’d do differently. “Regrets” can hang around. But whether you stomped on someone’s heart, gave a second chance to someone undeserving or didn’t trust your gut when it was telling you something, it’s time to reach inside and forgive the most important person (you). For the ladies who are having a hard time moving forward because they’re stuck on a mistake made or chance taken in the past, let the forgiveness begin.

1. Accept defeat (or that you are human)

You are human. A person who is learning and growing and changing every day. It’s a long battle and if you’re lucky, it will never really be over. This means you will make mistakes. You won’t always get it right the first time. You will fall and falter, and hurt others and let them in to hurt you. But that’s ok. It’s not just you. It’s literally everyone. So once you give yourself a break and recognize that even Oprah poops, it will get easier to forgive.

2. Give yourself time

Conversations with oneself are tricky. You’re not going to wake up one morning, look in the mirror and say, “Forgiven”. It takes time and some nourishing to let the feelings seep in and come to terms with a new, post-breakup reality. So try not to get frustrated when the feelings bubble up. You can’t rush this. But you can assist it!

3. Recognize the payoff

It’s easy to get into a routine of living in the nostalgia/graveyard of a past relationship. But just… no. Forgiving yourself has a HUGE payoff and seeing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow just might kick you into gear. It takes you that much closer to letting go of your guilt, the past and all of the baggage that comes along with it. It primes you for your next relationship. Whew, wouldn’t that cleanse feel good?

4. Find a lesson and learn It

How do you forgive yourself? Learn from the experience! Albert Einstein says that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And you, my dear, are not insane. Once you’re out of the lovey haze, you can look at your path and figure out where you went off course. Learning from your experience will help you with similar situations in the future and get you even closer to necessary closure. How can you be upset with yourself when you’ve managed to turn such a negative into a positive? No time has been wasted. Learning the lesson will also help you…

5. Make good things spring from the heartbreak

After being kicked to the ground, you have two options: lie there or get up and give hell that they dared to kick in the first place. Not in an evil revenge way, but in an I-am-still-fabulous way. Doesn’t matter if you were on the giving or receiving end of heartbreak. You still have the chance now to delve into whatever new interest, way of life or profession that this event has given you a clue to explore. Can’t stop writing about your feelings? Start a blog that could help others! Missing how you used to frolic in the grass? Call up some friends and put together your own park party! It will be easier to forgive and move on once you’ve found a silver lining that clouds the regrets. You wouldn’t have done it with them, and yet, you couldn’t have done it without them. Thanks ex-lovers, you springboards into accomplishments!

You do the math. You take the time you need. Even though these tips are staring you in the face, it’s not that easy. There is no timeline to follow or store where you can buy forgiveness and every situation brings in different degrees of hurt. A big part of forgiving yourself is simply recognizing that you’re a little mad. You’ve been holding yourself to a higher standard and you have a conscience. That’s more than a lot of people can say! But at least we can see that no experience—even one you’re not proud of—is a pointless one. They need not be lost, forgotten and filed away just because they leave a bad taste in your mouth. But forgiving yourself is the most productive way that you can embrace the past, and better your future.