logo
Unsplash | A child looking through bars in a library
Source: Unsplash | A child looking through bars in a library

58 Looking Back Quotes to Exhale the Weight of the Past

Dayna Remus
Dec 12, 2022
01:00 A.M.
Share this pen
FacebookFacebookTwitterTwitterLinkedInLinkedInEmailEmail

Many of us have had those moments in the shower or while trying to fall asleep when a cringe memory suddenly comes up, and we want to shut it down out of fear and horror. Of course, a lot of us would opt never to think of these awkward moments again. But what about your past as a whole? Read the 58 quotes below to explore this.

Advertisement

Many of us have pasts filled with joy, sadness, embarrassment, and sadly, sometimes trauma and grief. We can never indeed run away or forget about our entire history, but is it wise to look back at it? Should we keep moving forward, leaving the past in the past, or take some serious time to analyze it and figure out if there are any lessons or emotional issues still holding us back?

There are varying opinions about this, with many claiming that looking back will slow us down and others stating that if we don't take the time to do so, we will feel the repercussions in the long term. Read the following 58 quotes and make up your mind.

Bob Weir’s quote: "Looking back, I guess I've lived an unusual life." | Image: AmoDays

Bob Weir’s quote: "Looking back, I guess I've lived an unusual life." | Image: AmoDays

Advertisement

Quotes on Never Looking Back

"Each step we take back is a moment in future we are losing." ― Joan Ambu

"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way." ― Henry David Thoreau

"For me, looking back is akin to being on a tightrope and looking down. It doesn't help you in the present moment to deal with what you have to deal with to move forward." ― The Edge

"I don't spend much time looking back at what happened. I do remember it, but I don't see any purpose of wanting to look back." ― Amitabh Bachchan

Advertisement

"You can't look back; you have to keep looking forward." ― Lucy Liu

 Joan Ambu’s quote: "Each step we take back is a moment in future we are losing." | Image: AmoDays

Joan Ambu’s quote: "Each step we take back is a moment in future we are losing." | Image: AmoDays

"We don't want to get distracted by looking back; we need to move forward." ― Valerie Jarrett

Advertisement

"The trouble with 'if only' is that it doesn't change anything. It keeps the person facing the wrong way – backward instead of forward. It wastes time. In the end, if you let it become a habit, it can become a real roadblock – an excuse for not trying anymore."― Arthur Gordon

"No excuses and no sob stories. Life is full of excuses if you're looking. I have no time to gripe over misfortune. I don't waste time looking back." ― Junior Seau

"If you make the mistake of looking back too much, you aren't focused enough on the road in front of you." ― Brad Paisley

"Ever since I made tomorrow my favorite day, I've been uncomfortable looking back." ― Paul Harvey

Advertisement

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s quote: "It is not possible to go forward while looking back."   | Image: AmoDays

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s quote: "It is not possible to go forward while looking back." | Image: AmoDays

"For me, I find that even though I've accomplished a few things in my life, looking back on accomplishments doesn't give me a sense of satisfaction." — Alan Alda.

Advertisement

"My life is like driving down a road. I occasionally glance in the rearview mirror, but I'm not focused on the past or looking back anymore." — Scott Hall

"I'm an incurable optimist, and I'm a great believer in never looking back. Life is too short, and new challenges are exciting." — Cherie Blair

"It is not possible to go forward while looking back." — Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

"Looking back at my life's voyage, I can only say that it has been a golden trip." — Ginger Rogers

 Cherie Blair’s quote: "I'm an incurable optimist, and I'm a great believer in never looking back. Life is too short, and new challenges are exciting." | Image: AmoDays

Cherie Blair’s quote: "I'm an incurable optimist, and I'm a great believer in never looking back. Life is too short, and new challenges are exciting." | Image: AmoDays

Advertisement

"If I had done this, if I had said that, in the end, you are always more tormented by what you didn't do than what you did, actions already performed can always be rationalized in time, the neglected deed might have changed the world." — Damon Galgut

"We don't want to get distracted by looking back; we need to move forward." — Valerie Jarrett

"Each step we take back is a moment in future we are losing." ― Joan Ambu

"I have no regrets. I don't believe in looking back. What I am proudest of? Working really hard... and achieving as much as I could." — Elena Kagan

Advertisement

Quotes on the Positives and Lessons Learned from Looking Back

"To look back, to go back, is not to be weak. It is not to reopen wounds. It takes strength; it takes courage. It takes a person who is more in control of who they are to cast a discerning, non-judgmental eye over who they once were." ― Cecelia Ahern

 Steve Jobs’ quote: "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards." | Image: AmoDays

Steve Jobs’ quote: "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards." | Image: AmoDays

Advertisement

"I don't know whether you can look at your past and find, woven like the hidden symbols on a treasure map, the path that will point to your final destination." ― Jodi Picoult

"Looking back is a way to sharpen the focus on the things you want to change in your life. I think there's something about nostalgia that really puts a fine point on the here-and-now, and that can be incredibly fascinating and interesting and engaging for the mind." ― Sarah Paulson

"Looking back, we see with great clarity, and what once appeared as difficulties now reveal themselves as blessings." ― Dan Millman

"You'll discover for yourself soon enough the things that devastate us most in the moment are always the things we look back on with such gratitude." ― Rachel Harrison

Advertisement

"I am constantly reflecting back on how I've done things and how those things have turned out. I like to think about the cause and effect of my decisions and the way that I have lived. Therefore, I am constantly assessing and evolving. It has been important to look back and say, 'This caused that, so don't do that again.' Or, 'This is helping move you forward in a nice trajectory; keep that up.'" ― Eric Overby

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard’s quote: "You live life looking forward; you understand life looking backward." | Image: AmoDays

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard’s quote: "You live life looking forward; you understand life looking backward." | Image: AmoDays

Advertisement

"I hurt myself deeply, though, at the time, I had no idea how deeply. I should have learned many things from that experience, but when I look back on it, all I gained was one single, undeniable fact. That ultimately I am a person who can do evil. I never consciously tried to hurt anyone, yet good intentions notwithstanding, when necessity demanded, I could become completely self-centered, even cruel. I was the kind of person who could, using some plausible excuse, inflict on a person I cared for a wound that would never heal." ― Haruki Murakami

"Looking back now, if I went to film school, it probably would have helped to know what the best of the best of foreign films were, but that wasn't the case. In some ways, I think that led to my originality because I hadn't seen anybody else." ― Wes Craven.

Advertisement

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards." — Steve Jobs

"You live life looking forward; you understand life looking backward." — Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

Looking Back Quotes to Remember Beautiful Moments

"When the most important times are occurring, we don't even recognize them or notice. We are just busy living our lives. Only looking back do we know what was a great moment in our lives." ― Federico Fellini

Bonnie Blair’s quote: "It's sad to know I'm done. But looking back, I've got a lot of great memories."  | Image: AmoDays

Bonnie Blair’s quote: "It's sad to know I'm done. But looking back, I've got a lot of great memories." | Image: AmoDays

Advertisement

"Memories have their purpose, and nostalgia is not a danger in small doses. It can be good to remember what has made us who we are, to reflect on what has made us stronger." ― Rachel Harrison

"I'm quite nostalgic. I like looking back over the papers and watching videos." ― Iker Casillas

"Looking back, we were the luckiest people in the world. There was no choice but to be pioneers; no time to be beginners." ― Margaret H. Hamilton

"It was a great experience for a kid because it was a bunch of kids playing on pirate ships and water slides, so looking back on it, it was the fondest experience of my childhood." ― Corey Feldman

Advertisement

"There was a time when I thought I was doing a good thing with good guys for a good cause. Looking back, I think I really wanted to be a warrior." ― Steven Seagal

Federico Fellini’s quote: "When the most important times are occurring, we don't even recognize them or notice. We are just busy living our lives. Only looking back do we know what was a great moment in our lives." | Image: AmoDays

Federico Fellini’s quote: "When the most important times are occurring, we don't even recognize them or notice. We are just busy living our lives. Only looking back do we know what was a great moment in our lives." | Image: AmoDays

Advertisement

"Funny how memories come back - sometimes in dribs and drabs, sometimes in enormous sweeps." ― Sophie Kinsella

"I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry." ― Cat Stevens

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." ― Robert Breault

"A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you." ― Brigitte Bardot.

"It's sad to know I'm done. But looking back, I've got a lot of great memories." — Bonnie Blair

Advertisement

Looking Back Quotes on Regrets and Mistakes

  Enid Blyton’s quote: "Remorse is a terrible thing to bear, Pam, one of the worst of all punishments in this life. To wish undone something you have done, to wish you could look back on kindness to someone you love, instead of on unkindness—that is a very terrible thing." | Image: AmoDays

Enid Blyton’s quote: "Remorse is a terrible thing to bear, Pam, one of the worst of all punishments in this life. To wish undone something you have done, to wish you could look back on kindness to someone you love, instead of on unkindness—that is a very terrible thing." | Image: AmoDays

"Life is our resume. It is our story to tell, and the choices we make write the chapters. Can we live in a way where we look forward to looking back?" ― Matthew McConaughey

Advertisement

"Already my childhood seemed far away—a remote age, faded and bittersweet, like dried flowers. Did I regret its loss? Did I want it back? I didn't think so." ― Margaret Atwood

"Remorse is a terrible thing to bear, Pam, one of the worst of all punishments in this life. To wish undone something you have done, to wish you could look back on kindness to someone you love, instead of on unkindness—that is a very terrible thing." ― Enid Blyton

"Regret is how we hope to back into our real lives once we find the will, the blind drive, and courage, to trade in the life we're given for the life that bears our name and ours only. Regret is how we look forward to things we've long lost yet never really had. Regret is hope without conviction, I said. We're torn between regret, which is the price to pay for things not done, and remorse, which is the cost for having done them. Between one and the other, time plays all its cozy little tricks." ― André Aciman

Advertisement

"Looking back, you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your Life- and it was you. It is not too late to find that person again." — Robert Breault

 John C. Calhoun’s quote: "In looking back, I see nothing to regret and little to correct." | Image: AmoDays

John C. Calhoun’s quote: "In looking back, I see nothing to regret and little to correct." | Image: AmoDays

Advertisement

"Wisdom is looking back at your Life and realizing that every single event, person, place, and idea was part of the perfected experience you needed to build your dream. Not one was a mistake." — John Federick Demartini

"Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I loved, I did not say so." — Ray Stannard Baker

"In looking back, I see nothing to regret and little to correct." John C. Calhoun

Quotes of Stories and Opinions about Looking Back

"Memories. That's all I have left. Memories of all the good I've done and all the bad too." ― Arti Manan

Advertisement

"Looking back, I sometimes wish I had done things differently. But if I had, I'm not sure that I wouldn't have proven to be my own worst enemy." ― Michael McDonald

 Paul Berg’s quote: Relive it over and over again in our heads. Qurstipon is, do you want to and should you relive them." | Image: AmoDays

Paul Berg’s quote: Relive it over and over again in our heads. Qurstipon is, do you want to and should you relive them." | Image: AmoDays

Advertisement

"You will never see me surrender, never see me cry, but you will often see me walk away. Turn around and just leave, without looking back." ― Charlotte Eriksson

"When it's a memory, you already know the outcome, so we believe it was an easier time. Looking forward is much more uncertain and so feels more complicated. But I don't think it is. Not really." ― Karen Hawkins

"I try not to think too much about those days now - let the past be past. The truth is, we're all prisoners of our historical context." ― Tom Perrotta

"Looking back on the production of 'Nevermind,' I'm embarrassed by it now. It's closer to a Motley Crue record than it is a punk rock record." ― Kurt Cobain

Advertisement

"Looking back, I think we were all quite mature, surprisingly responsible. In earlier wars, boys of our age had just gone off to raise hell or enlist or both, but we stayed dutifully at our desks doing tomorrow's homework." ― John Knowles

Arti Manan’s quote: "Memories. That's all I have left. Memories of all the good I've done and all the bad too." | Image: AmoDays

Arti Manan’s quote: "Memories. That's all I have left. Memories of all the good I've done and all the bad too." | Image: AmoDays

Advertisement

"If you make the mistake of looking back too much, you aren't focused enough on the road in front of you." — Brad Paisley

"Looking back, I guess I've lived an unusual life." — Bob Weir

"Looking back, I realize that nurturing curiosity and the instinct to seek solutions are perhaps the most important contributions education can make." — Paul Berg

John Federick Demartini’s quote: "Wisdom is looking back at your Life and realizing that every single event, person, place, and idea was part of the perfected experience you needed to build your dream. Not one was a mistake." | Image: AmoDays

John Federick Demartini’s quote: "Wisdom is looking back at your Life and realizing that every single event, person, place, and idea was part of the perfected experience you needed to build your dream. Not one was a mistake." | Image: AmoDays

Advertisement

Perhaps the most extreme example of experimenting with these opinions is brought to life in the film "Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind." In this movie, the main character, Jim Carrey, opts to have any memories of his former ex-girlfriend completely removed from his memory.

However, throughout this process of having his memory wiped, he begins to struggle to keep her around in his mind, despite the negative feelings he has associated with her.

If you, like this character, are struggling to let go of the past, read these 50 quotes about holding on and letting go in life and love.

Advertisement

Subscribe if you like this story and want to receive our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Related posts