As a Christian, I was always taught to forgive everybody in order to expect forgiveness (from anyone, really). It took me quite a long time to understand the concept of actually forgiving everybody, and why it’s important in the process of creating the person you want to be. For the longest time, I would tell people I had forgiven them, when I still held much anger towards them.
I don’t think I ever knew the true meaning of forgiveness until I had stopped forgiving myself for mistakes I had made in the past.
Personally, I am fairly open to people from all kinds of religions, and I believe that no matter where you come from, certain lessons apply to all. I think a lot of things that can make a person feel guilt for past events is the inability to forgive. To forget seems to be the initial instinct for humans, rather than to take the time and think and/or talk through a situation in order to reach the point of actual forgiveness.
Now, forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. Forgiveness means choosing to let go of negative emotions towards past situations or choices. I feel forgiveness is important in life–not just so people will forgive you–but so a person can feel a healthy energy instead of dwelling on the past. If a person or multiple people decide to not to dwell on the past, relationships are made healthy again. And, even if the one you need to forgive is yourself, it is important to have a healthy relationship with any person who impacts your life. A healthy lifestyle is the key to happiness.
And, strangely, when a person is happy, they tend to make others happy. I think it’s somewhat of a domino affect. When you can learn to let go and be happy, maybe you an teach another to do exactly the same.