“…everything has a past. Everything – a person, an object, a word, everything. If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present and plan properly for the future.” ? Chaim Potok, Davita's Harp
Moving on doesn’t mean forgetting the past. It means learning lessons from it. One does not necessarily “cling to the past” if what has happened is not forgotten entirely. For example, closely examining a failed relationship could help form a better relationship later rather than prevent one from starting new ones. Remembering the effects of one’s actions or omissions would be a big help in avoiding them later.
Consider a house made of bricks. Bricks are made from mud--soil and water, actually. Why is it important to remember what one’s house is made of? We need to remember so that we can effectively protect it from whatever it is vulnerable to. We need to know it well--what processes it has undergone, where it stands, how the same or similar material would react to heat, water and other weather conditions or whether termites could affect it so that we could strengthen it.
It is important for one to look back, not to dwell in the past, but to see (and hopefully) understand patterns of behavior that may have contributed to or caused the failure of previous relationships. I know this is easier said than done, but I believe that it is what can make subsequent relationships better and stronger.
When I was a teenager, there were many things I did not understand about my parents. I do not remember now how it began, but the journey to know and understand them took quite a while. I asked questions, I probed--but only to the point they allowed me to. I just had to put two and two together. Many years (and life changing events) later, I made peace with them because by then I understood them.
In a few months, I will turn 54. A series of events that began on my 50th birthday led me to take a closer look at my personal history. I began a journey, a quest actually, to know myself more, to understand why I made certain decisions--some of which I regretted. There were also “what-could-have-beens”--I was lucky to have been given the chance to go back to work with a routine, a daily schedule and many new things to learn.
I began to face new challenges with more courage, mainly because I understood myself better. Best of all, I have begun lists--of things I could easily give up, things I would never ever compromise and everything else in between. When I studied my history, I made friends with myself.