Although there is a certain truth in George Santayana’s observation that those who are ignorant of the past are doomed to repeat it, the greater truth is that those who focus on and rely upon the past are doomed to repeat it.
People become habituated to thinking and behaving a certain way. Their past therefore creates their future just as it has created their present. For them, there really is no future; there will only ever be just more of the same, an endless repetition of the past. For them, there is even no present, since they are forever emotionally occupied with and in the past, and can therefore neither fully enjoy nor control their present moments.
The past, however, does not have to equal the future. You do not have to be a creature of past habits. You are a choice enabled creature. That makes you capable of being a conscious creator. The future will be what you make of it. If you continue to do what you have always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got. Or not. It is truly up to you.
If you are reading this, it is because, in some way, whether consciously and intentionally, or because you have been motivated, either sub-consciously or super-consciously, to explore what you would not have consciously chosen, you have already chosen the path of personal mastery.
The master’s way to deal with the past is to understand it, accept it, forgive it (if necessary), be grateful for it and then let it go and move on. Get past the past.
Everything that has ever happened was necessary for you to be here now. Everything, from the fusion of helium atoms into carbon molecules to the sexual coupling of your parents, from the invention of human language to the invention of the Internet, from the love your have received to the pains you have suffered, was necessary for you to be who you are, right here and right now.
If you are in any way grateful for the experience of being alive, then you must learn to be grateful for everything that has ever happened. Without it, you would not be here, reading this and recognizing your capacity to take control of your life, you attitudes, your beliefs, your thoughts, your feelings, your words and your deeds in order to create the future you idealize and desire.
The past should be your foundation; but you do not need to live in the basement. Move to the penthouse. The view is so much better. The penthouse of your life exists in your imagination.
Create the vision of your ideal future. Expect it. Affirm it. Desire it. Allow it.