Looking back: only do it with love and appreciation

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Looking back at life is something many of us do from time to time. But how do you look back at events and people in your life? Do you do it with love and appreciation or with disappointment or regret?

The way you look back at your life is important because that will also determine your future.

We know that the law of attraction works to bring to us more of what we are a vibrational match to – so if we are feeling joyful and offering that vibration to the universe, then it will respond in kind and send us more vibrations that match i.e..e joyful ones.

In my understanding, it is not so much that the universe sends these things to us, as much as that because we are in a joyful state, we can then TUNE IN and RECIEVE these vibrations that are really always there for us.

Esther Hicks always uses an analogy of a radio station which I really like. She says that you cannot tune your radio to 96 and expect to hear what is playing on 101. Which means that if you are only tuned to the frequency of confusion or doubt, you will not be able to receive and translate any of the other frequencies that are being offered to you such as joy and happiness.

I liken it to the visible light spectrum. Because we are used to seeing light in a small range of frequencies, we cannot see infrared emissions with the naked eye. Yet if we use an infrared camera, then we can see a whole different image. Is it that the image only exists when we look or are the waves there all the time?

In reality, we understand that the waves are being emitted all the time, but it is only when we tune into the infrared using the camera that we can see them.

infrared image

We can only see this image with an infrared camera

The universe works in a similar way so we need to tune into the frequencies we want in order to be able to translate them into what we then call ‘reality’ or “manifested stuff“.

So what does this all have to do with looking back at your life?

Well, when we look back at our life, the events and situations that occurred and the choices we made within them, there are different stances that we can adopt which will have a direct bearing on our emotional state in the present moment.

So how we ‘remember‘ these events will impact your current emotional state, which will determine the things you are attracting NOW.

Let me give you an example.

I was looking through some old photographs and albums that I found in a box whilst clearing out my loft yesterday. They were from my school-days and my 20s. I’m now in my 50s so they were a long time ago and I haven’t looked at them for years. They included holidays with friends, old shows, trips with my orchestra, the first weddings of two of my best friends, my old, now sadly-deceased pets and some old boyfriends that I hadn’t thought about in years.

And for the record, that is NOT one of my old boyfriends in the first picture!

I also found an old autograph book that I took to school on my last day at senior school after my A’ Levels. What interesting reading it made and I can honestly say I went through the whole gamut of emotions whilst looking at the photographs.

In looking back at the past, I realised that I had several reactions to it.

1) With fun and nostalgia

In most cases, the images made me smile as they reflected a happy time in my life with friends and colleagues, enjoying myself and living life as if it would never end, or at least as if my happiness would not end. I found some photos of me in old shows, chuckled when I remembered dressing up as a Preacher Pigeon (the one on the top right) and remembered being proud of my first set design and venture into choreography.

I struggled to remember the names of several people who had meant so much to me at the time, and was relieved when later in the album, I had obviously preempted my later memory-loss, and had started labelling the photos with the names of the people in them.

These were fun memories and in many ways, when I thought of them, I was right back there, experiencing the laughter and camaraderie again. This is not because I am reliving the moments, but the thoughts I am thinking about them NOW are causing me to translate those thoughts into positive emotions and feelings. Therefore, my experience of these events was a positive one, leading to a positive feeling in the present.

And as we know, positive feelings in the present will attract more positive feelings in the future.

2) With a pang of regret or loss

The second emotion I initially felt when looking through my photos was one which had a small pang of regret or a feeling of loss. I felt this when I looked at some photos of old boyfriends whom I shared a few years of my life with and whom I had been in love with.

I am currently single and very happy, as I devote a lot of time to my foster children, and I’m aware that my choices for relationships at the moment have excluded a partner in the last few years. Whilst I am not actively looking for a partner, when I was looking back at the old boyfriends, I became aware there was a slight pang of ‘that was nice, and that I don’t have that romantic relationship now‘ feeling.

Luckily, I am well practiced in recognising my emotions and the guidance that they give me, so I was able to change this slightly negative emotion by giving thanks for what had been and looking forward to when I next manifest a romantic relationship. So I could change the pang of regret into, appreciation and love.

The danger here of looking back at the past is that we can fall into a pattern of seeing things we either had once and now miss, and start to think negatively about them.

This could then lead us to examine our current life in a negative way, focusing on the things we don’t have instead of the things we do have.

Doing that will only bring more of the same – more of what we don’t have. If that happens, then we are allowing the past to dictate our future because of vibration falls and we now start attracting more feelings of loss and regret. So when looking back at the past, it is important to remember these times with love and appreciation rather than with a sense of loss.

3) With anger or a sense of injustice

The third feeling I had, although brief, was looking back at some people in my past whom I felt had mistreated me at the time and I felt a sense of anger and injustice rise within me. The danger here is that we bring up all the negative emotions from the past and carry them forward, not only into the present, but because of the law of attraction, we then end up affecting our future as well.

We ALL feel negative emotions at some point. We ALL feel angry and hard done by at some point too. It is not that we should abandon these emotions, but we should recognise them for what they are – our higher selves telling us that we are way off our own path, thinking thoughts that are out of alignment with who we really are. I’m talking here about feelings like anger and wanting to get revenge or make someone else feel bad just because we do.

We all do it at times, but it really is against everything we truly are.

Luckily with the benefit of hindsight, as I looked back at these images again, my thoughts turned to things like “Phew, that was a lucky escape” and “I’m glad that things turned out the way they did because I’m much wiser and happier now”.

Sometimes it takes some distance in terms of years to be able to think like this, but if you can, the events of the past can have no hold on the present or the future.

What can you do to change how you feel?

There are number of things you can do to stop your past dictating your future. Here are just a few ways to change your thinking about past negative events or situations.

1) Look at all the good things that came out of a bad situation

There will be a number of good things that came out of each of the situations you are looking back at. Even if you couldn’t see them at the time, with hindsight you will be able to do that.

Then give thanks and appreciation for all the things that have been, that have led you to where you are now.

2) Remind yourself that everyone is on their own path and should be allowed to follow it

This is particularly useful if you feel let down by an old flame or partner. We often think we know what is best not only for us, but other people too, but really we don’t. Even if you thought that you knew what was best then, take a fresh look at the situation from everyone else’s perspective. Was the relationship really a healthy one? Were you suffocating each other? Were you really right for each other? When you look back and ask the right questions, you’ll be surprised at how you can now think differently about things.

3) Ask yourself, “what would love have done?” in that situation.

Maybe there is a situation or person you are looking at which makes you feel negative in the present moment. If you ask what love would have done in the situation, you might find that you get a very different answer to what each of you actually did. Source energy is pure love, it works for the benefit of all and it knows what will be the best.

We humans often act out of selfishness, fear or wanting to control people or situations, and therefore when we ask what love would have done, we get more optimistic and positive answers.

For example: maybe your spouse left you for another person and you felt aggrieved and angry. Many people would. But would you really want to stay in a marriage or relationship with somebody who really loved someone else? And would you really want to punish them just because you are hurting. Is this what you would tell your children do to? Is this what love would do?

When you ask yourself this, you realise that it was only how you felt at the time, but their leaving was really the best thing for you, because it allowed you the freedom to find another relationship based on trust and respect. And it’s immaterial whether you have found this yet, the point is, you begin to see the once negative situation in a different light – and you can give thanks for the events of the past, in the knowledge that they have set up your wonderful and successful future.

So if you are looking back today, on make sure you are doing it with massive amounts of love and appreciation.

There is a time and a place of everything. Remember all the amazing times you’ve had, good and bad, for these are the things that have made you the incredible person you are today.

If you had not taken those paths, you would not now be in the position you are today, looking forward with optimism and power.

Leave the past in the past, and don’t allow your past feelings to influence the future.

Look back yes, but only with love and appreciation, and your future will be brighter than even.

I’d love to know what you can now look back at with a sense of appreciation for the ‘step-up’ it really gave you. Even better if you can realise it now but understand that it didn’t feel like that at the time. Leave a comment below.

Love and blessings to all



How to live in the NOW

How emotions work with the law of attraction

How to find happiness through unconditional living

How to raise your vibration

Posted in General, Positive thinking.

Hi. I'm Gail and I'm a teacher, coach, writer and blogger who has been involved with self-development and the performing arts for over 30 years. I'm passionate about helping people to develop their full potential and I've studied education, the law of attraction, personal development and NLP which I write about on this site.

I love working with people of all ages and backgrounds and truly believe that we are all unique, unlimited creative beings who can do wonderful things with a positive attitude and spiritual outlook on life.

Here's to your continued success.



  1. Great post Gail!
    I have been doing the same thing. I was de-cluttering a few months ago and came across a stack of old photos. I have no idea why they are not with the rest of my photos, but I was shocked and saddened by some of them. Not because of the content, but because of the time passing and some regret about how I thought my life would be like.
    Now I try to look back with more compassion for the choices that I made, and also about choices that were made for me (like moving when I was 13). I work to actively live in the now and avoid anything ‘negative’ when thinking of the past. Thank you!

    • Hi Irma and thank you for your comment. We never know when looking back at things will hit us – sometimes it’s an old photo like we both found, and other times it’s a smell, piece of music or image. However it happens though, you are right to take a more compassionate stance – it really doesn’t help to go over the past with anything other than this. We can’t go back and change the decisions we made so we need to find a way to understand them and move on. It really doesn’t matter where we started, or what happened on the way; the only question that really matters is “where are we going now?”

  2. Hi Gail, thank you for a great article… I really enjoyed reading it!

    I too have recently started listening to Esther Hicks and learnt much about frequencies and it all makes sense.

    It was not an easy thing to do but I have learnt to leave the past in the past as I can’t change it anyway!

    I remember the feeling of disappointment in the past when things didn’t go my way only to later discover that was the best thing that could have happened to me.

    So, now I just say “Everything happens at the right time” and live with gratitude for the life I have been blessed with.

    I love your site… keep up the good work!

  3. HI Gail,

    Great post. Being in my 50’s as well I have a fair amount of life to look back on and have felt that same range of emotions. I also just became a grandfather and that has brought a full range of emotions with it as well. Life has taught me to remember that I am absolutely no place to judge others as their situations are always different than mine. If I look at others actions in light of stupid thing I Have done while thinking I was doing the right thing, I get a very different perspective lol.
    Having a grandchild I also have to wonder what type of world we are leaving behind for our next generation. I want my part in that to be a good legacy.

    Thanks for a great post and making me think.

    • Hi Kevin. Thanks for reading and leaving your thoughts here too. Congratulations on becoming a grandfather – that must be really something to think about and I’m glad you are wanting to leave a positive legacy for them. Looking back is great, but looking forward is even better and now you have the perfect excuse to imagine all kinds of wonderful things happening for your grandchildren to enjoy. All power to them for they really are our future. 🙂

  4. Hi Gail
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful article
    I think all of us have come through some sort of sadness and to be grateful for the wisdom it has given us is a blessing. I have a gratitude journal and I add to it every day
    I wish you every success by living who you are

    • Thank you Vicki. I’m glad you liked the article and even better that you have a gratitude journal that you can add to daily. The universe really does respond to feels of appreciation and thankfulness as they are some of the highest emotions, so the universe will match you with more to be thankful for.
      All the best today. Gail

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