The hardest practice of forgiveness is the one we do with ourselves. I tell myself that I should have known, I should have seen it, I should have done better. But I didn't. Decisions I made in some situations were not the best ones. Sheldon Kopp wrote "All decisions are based on insufficient data". Meaning that we can only choose based on what we know at the moment, that at any time new information can come along that will give new perspective to our decision. And so we just do the best we can with what we know at the time. And we can choose to be OK with ourselves, choose to forgive ourselves over and over for being human or we can choose to not forgive and to punish ourselves in our withholding. So in that sense, suffering is truly optional, truly our choice.
One of my teachers told me that forgiveness is a process that starts with a decision. It doesn't happen all at once, but is a becoming. Starting with that decision we make small steps to move us closer to our goal and we make that decision be the right decision; no mind changing, no second guessing. We listen to our language and inhibit negative self talk. We make room in our mind for the possibilities of compassion and letting go. We come to understand the freedom in forgiveness. And in that becoming we move into our higher vibrational self, we choose to be happy and spread joy around in the world and invite others to feel good about themselves too.
I have come to believe we would all be better off if we could forgive everybody everything, starting with ourselves. And as I write about this, so I learn about this.