There is comfort in the past. Holding on to it is easy because it's what you know. You lived it. Or survived it. Either way, going through it got you to today. This moment is a result of all that... past.
While the past brought you here and contributed to who you are today, it does not define you. That's where the holding on hinders you. Clinging to past experiences and allowing them to influence the decisions for your future can hinder the fullness and the goodness of your life. That is especially so for those who have a painful or traumatic past and what really sucks is that those who endured pain and trauma are the ones who hold on the tightest.
The same goes for those moving on from past loves or other relationships. Wallowing in the memory of a former lover or even a former friend restricts our capacity to open ourselves to others who come along. Hoping for reconciliation is reasonable sometimes but that hope can serve as a blindfold for your future too. Decisions based on feelings once assigned to others in your life limit the fullness of future relationships.
People with joyful pasts take a stroll down memory lane every once in a while and talk about how great life was back when... But they rarely balk in decision making because they fear that life might end up being good... again.
Holding on to what was distracts our focus on the present and inhibits our ability to see the possibilities of our future. And that can result in missed opportunities for something different and something good.
The past does not determine the future. It is merely a factor in our decisions. It should not define them.
Two years ago, I made a decision to stop holding on to pieces of my past and to stop running from the rest of it. The struggles in my life didn't stop immediately. Decisions do not automate change. Decisions require work. But the differences appear and the goodness comes over time. Eventually, making undefined decisions becomes easier. The differences and the goodness become the struggle because there's no point of reference for them. It's all new. And sometimes it's frustrating.
But there's a freedom in deciding which way to go without the ghosts of your past weighing in on that decision. The people you let into your life, your new experiences and simply being open to the idea of anything brings pleasure and on good days, a great deal of happiness.