Just like water flowing downhill, life must travel in a forward direction. It may curve from left to right and dig a few deep holes, but it will keep moving. When it stops it becomes stagnant and loses its appealing attributes. No one wants to drink water from a moss-covered, murky mud hole.
You should never forget where you come from, but living in the past will only cause you to lose your appealing attributes. Remembering your past should be brief and temporary, like stopping in for a spot of tea with your old self, listening to the words of wisdom that you’ve already learned. If we prolong the visit, the past will become like the friend who crashes on our couch. After days of lazing around and never showering, this can become quite offensive.
I know firsthand that it’s easy to have regrets. Maybe it’s for many large, bad choices, or dozens of small ones. But prolonged looking back, and living those regrets every day is a cop-out! It prevents you from experiencing the present. You won't feel today and the emotions it brings. You will never be able to stay in the moment. Your life will become aimless, your direction will be backwards and stagnation will set in. Living in the past allows your heart to be numb to the present. You are so consumed by the should have, could have, would have, that you miss the now.
So if this is your tendency, I recommend having a funeral for the past. Write down all your regrets and mistakes, all the hurts that have been inflicted. Find a box and bury them. Mourn the past, shed as many tears as required, wail and moan about how bad your life has been up until now. From time to time, you may even want to stop by the grave and leave flowers. But whatever you do, don’t dig it back up, because the past should rest in peace.