I’ve been told many times “don’t look back, you’re not going that way”, but moving forward I’ve realized that it’s important to reflect. This is why I rely on these looking back quotes when my perspective is cloudy.

If you never look back, you can’t see how much you’ve grown. So many things from your past have shaped you into who you are today.

And that is what these motivational quotes truly represent.

I’ve compiled the best quotes on looking back to help you see the past more clearly. They will also help you appreciate how much it has affected your present in surprisingly positive ways!

Help yourself to these brilliant life quotes that include beautiful lines on life, family, heartbreak, letting go, and success.

It’s healthy to reflect but you should never look back in anger. Your past was your best teacher, and these sayings will help you understand why.

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Positive Quotes On Looking Back

smiling woman holding black smartphone while taking selfie

1. ‘’ Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.’’—Robert Breault

2. ‘’The years go by. The time flies. Every single second is a moment in time that passes. And it seems like nothing – but when you’re looking back … well, it amounts to everything.’’—Ray Bradbury

3. “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

4. “People will walk in and walk out of your life, but the one whose footstep made a long-lasting impression is the one you should never allow to walk out.”―Michael Bassey Johnson

5. ”I don’t like looking back. I’m always constantly looking forward. I’m not the one to sort of sit and cry over spilled milk. I’m too busy looking for the next cow.” ― Gordon Ramsay

6. “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

woman sitting on a cliff during sunset

7. “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

8. “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

9. “The only reason time seems to be moving rather fast is that sometimes we’re too busy living in the past.”―Dominic Riccitello

10. ”Living the past is a dull and lonely business; looking back strains the neck muscles, causing you to bump into people not going your way.”―Edna Ferber

11. “The whole thing was so intense, so full of hurt that when I look back at it I squint. I want it forgotten.”―Helen Oyeyemi

12. “What if I can’t turn my head? I can look in any direction by turning my wheelchair, and I choose to look back. Rodman to the contrary notwithstanding, that is the only direction we can learn from.”―Wallace Stegner

woman wearing gray long-sleeved shirt sitting on armchair

13. “We only irritate ourselves when we scratch at an itch that no longer exists.”―Jason N Versey

14. ‘’You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward.’’―Steve Jobs

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

16. ‘’You know, I try not to look back, because looking forward is so much better than looking backward.’’―Jim Baker

17. ‘’Seems like the only one who doesn’t see your beauty is the face in the mirror looking back at you.’’―Taylor Swift

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Wisdom Quotes On Looking Back

woman walking on forest trail looking downwards

1. ”Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”―Satchel Paige

2. ”I think that power is the principle. The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you’ve done.”―Robert Downey

3. ”If only time could be seen whole, then you could see your past remaining intact, instead of vanishing in the rearview mirror. There is your immortality. Frozen in amber.”―James Gleick

4. ”Don’t look back! For a bright future is ahead of you.”―Anonymous

5. “I hate that word: ‘lucky.’ It cheapens a lot of hard work.”―Peter Dinklage

6. ”Don’t look back unless it’s a good view.”―Tupac Shakur

woman wearing yellow floral dress walking in forest

7. ”Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”―Albert Einstein

8. ”Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”―Oscar Wilde

9. ”You live life looking forward, you understand life looking backward.”―Anonymous

10. “Looking back through life you will find the pleasure of achieving your dreams is always greater than the pain you met while achieving them.”―Moffat Machingura

11. “The answers hardly seemed of consequence. Not much did. I thought of the things that had happened to me over the years, and of how little I had made happen.”―Julian Barnes

12. “Live and do everything in such a way so that if you look back in time, you shouldn’t say that if I had a time machine I would’ve done it better.”―Immanuel Mohan

two women standing on mountain while looking on road

13. “I wonder if this is the end, thought Ducane, and if so what it will all have amounted to. How tawdry and small it has all been.”―Iris Murdoch

14. “Sometimes you look around the world, to see the dazzling walls and showering fountains of it, and feel like that today is the end and beginning at the same time. That’s the moment you discover something new about yourself. That’s love, cause, and life.”―Sami Babar

15. “Then the girl in the cafe taps me on the shoulder, I realize five years went by and I’m older, memories smolder, winters colder, but that same piano loops over and over.”―Mike Skinner

16. ‘’From the outer edge of his life, looking back, there was only one remorse, and that was only that he wished to go on living.’’―Ray Bradbury

17. ‘’It will be very interesting one day to follow the pattern of our life as it is spread out like a beautiful tapestry. As long as we live here we see only the reverse side of the weaving, and very often the pattern, with its threads running wildly, doesn’t seem to make sense. Some day, however, we shall understand. In looking back over the years we can discover how a red thread goes through the pattern of our life: the Will of God.’’―Maria von Trapp

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Inspirational Quotes On Looking Back

man lying down on grass surrounded with flowers

1.  “I have been on the whole a lucky man. And I would say that even now. Perhaps especially I would say it now.”―Iris Murdoch

2. “One of those fights that we’d been having a lot around about then. I thought they were all her fault. She seemed to think they were all mine.”―Keren David

3. ”I’ve never looked through a keyhole without finding someone was looking back.”―Judy Garland

4. ”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

5. ”One in 200 stars has habitable Earth-like planets surrounding it – in the galaxy, half a billion stars have Earth-like planets going around them – that’s huge, half a billion. So when we look at the night sky, it makes sense that someone is looking back at us.”―Michio Kaku

6. ”My guess is that my mom and dad are very actively involved in the affairs of the next life, and they don’t spend too much time looking back. My dad used to say he always looks forward; he never looks back.”―Mitt Romney

woman standing near gray vehicle looking nature in front of her

7. ”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

8. ”For me, growing up felt like a roller coaster ride at times, but looking back, I don’t think that it was such a bad thing. It was all part of the excitement of being young.”―Jameela Jamil

9. ‘’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

10. ”They say not to look back, but if you’re not sure what lies ahead, what else is there but looking back?’’―Laurell K. Hamilton

11. ‘’Almost all the people who’ve had the most effect on me I seem to have met by chance, yet looking back it seems as though I couldn’t but have met them.’’―W. Somerset Maugham

12. ‘’Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive – as well as perhaps the one who is most in need of our forgiveness is the person looking back at us in the mirror.’’―Dieter F. Uchtdorf

woman in white sweater standing in front of mirror

13. ‘’Missing someone is like hearing a name sung quietly from somewhere behind you. Even after you know no one is there, you keep looking back.’’―Tim Seibles

14. ‘’Looking back at my younger self, that I’m not so different than I am now. I was always a seeker. I wanted very ambitiously to be a writer and what happened between now and then is that I continually threw myself in the way of those things that would help me become that, of doing and finding and learning from things that altered me along the way.’’―Cheryl Strayed

15. ‘’When you’re in your nineties and looking back, it’s not going to be how much money you made or how many awards you’ve won. It’s really what you stand for. Did you make a positive difference for people?’’―Elizabeth Dole

16. ‘’When you’re single, you go out and party and it’s fun, but in a relationship, you experience things together. It’s just sharing the memories and looking back on them together, remembering that it was an amazing time. And then thinking about it like it was just yesterday.’’―Andrew W.K.

17. ‘’The first time I made myself up, I was looking at my reflection in the mirror and it wasn’t me looking back. It allowed me to do things I couldn’t do as myself. I found out how powerful that was and how much that can mean to an actor.’’―Rick Baker

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Looking Back Quotes: 50+ Inspirational Sayings On Reflection