If you don’t go back to find out what effect your past is having on your present you will forever live out your present as if it is still your past. That is why therapists often need to have their clients talk about the past.
For example, if a little girl grows up without feeling that her daddy loves her, and going into adulthood she never realizes that a past wound is affecting her current choices, she will continue to make bad choices from those past wounds. She will find herself, in fact, forever trying to find what she could not find as a child, and she will likely be willing to compromise herself in tragic ways in order to find it. Of course each mistake will leave her more empty and desperate, leading to bigger and bigger mistakes.
Many times people complain “I don’t want to talk about the past, what does the past have to do with right now!” Of course that is exactly right. The past does not need to have any impact on the choices we make today. The problem is that many people have not resolved their past and they are making choices in the present moment that come out of emotional spaces created many years earlier.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George Santayana
On a personal level, it is not enough to just remember facts and details. One has to see the connection between past circumstances and present choices. Only when a person becomes aware of that connection will they be able to see the repetitive and toxic pattern they are locked in. The good news is, once awareness comes, freedom is very near. The tricks our minds play on us only work under cover of darkness. They cannot stand up to truth and once the light of truth is shown on them, they immediately begin losing their power.