Saying Goodbye to Yesterday
By Linda H. Williams

Are you familiar with the lyrics, “it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday?” Oftentimes, we hang onto things of the past and miss opportunities that await us in the present and the future. Experiences, whether good or bad, are sometimes all we have, and most of them reside in our “yesterday, “so letting go is often difficult to do. Your yesterday can be filled with comforting thoughts of a loving and devoted spouse who is no longer with you or filled with anger and bitterness caused by many years of disappointment. Whatever the case, holding onto your yesterday long after you should have let it go, strains relationships, makes us hesitate when opportunities present themselves, and keeps us from experiencing the delightful and important moments we are living right now! I believe the things we hold onto speak volumes about where we may be subconsciously stuck and the attachments we form can give us insight into how we can set ourselves free—if, that is, we’re willing to peel back the layers of our motivations.

Sometimes we hold onto things simply because we want to appreciate, enjoy, or honor those memories. But other times, they tether us to the past, and serve as physical representations of the limiting stories we tell ourselves. It’s not the stuff that carries an emotional charge; it’s the meaning we give it. It’s not holding onto stuff that weighs us down; it’s how we think about it. That box of old letters from an ex can be a trove of happy memories, or it can be a reminder of what you fear you may never have again. Is maintaining your child’s room once they've left for college for them to come home to or for you to hang onto what once was? The difference is literally all in your head. We have all heard stories or experienced firsthand the wish for different last words as a loved one passed away. We know of hanging onto a past relationship far too long due to a lack of closure; and we know how the hurtful words from a superior can feel when transitioning from a job. Those parting words can either help to propel us into what’s next in full manner, or send us into a tailspin of what ifs. There is a reason why we call them good-byes and fare-wells.


1. Accepting that there is nothing you can do to change what happened yesterday. If you made some bad choices, face your failures and know that you were as good, loving and effective as you could have been at the time. Even if you could go back, you couldn't do anything differently because that is who you were then. You've got to let it go. If you wish you could have done something different for a loved one who has passed, you've got to learn how to forgive yourself and move on.

2. Forgiving yourself for the mistakes you made. Dwelling on the woulda, coulda, shoulda is unhealthy and ineffective. Have you ever replayed past mistakes in your head, over and over again until you make yourself crazy with guilt? Or, sometimes, you keep going back in time, wishing you could have done something different. The “if-onlys” is a chain that binds you to your yesterday with such a force that it prevents you from fully enjoying today and creating a brighter tomorrow.

We all have things that we wish we hadn't said or done and things we wish we had. Sometimes, our yesterday is comprised of unfilled dreams. When we expected someone to do something and they didn't or we expected our circumstances to turn our differently, we have regrets. When an unexpected illness or sudden death of a loved one robs us of doing something we had our hearts set on, regret may seem to be too limiting a word to express our “yesterday.” Most of the time, we are able to put our past behind us, especially if it doesn't involve a major disappointment. But sometimes, you can get stuck. You tell yourself if you had done something different or hadn't done something, you would be much better off. You are convinced that your life would be so much better today, if only you hadn't been so “unwise or so weak or so unlucky!” Your mind keeps replaying these thoughts and instead of getting rid of them and moving on, you give them fuel to grow more persistent. But, there is a way to “say goodbye to yesterday.” You can potentially think a thousand thoughts and see a thousand images, but you can only think of and hold one image at a time. So, if you fully focus on what is and what might be, it is impossible to concentrate on what was or what could have been.

How do you let go of yesterday?

1. Be aware of your thoughts – When you find yourself obsessing about a “yesterday” experience, gently bring your thoughts back to the present. Remember, you control your thoughts. You can dictate what you will focus on. Listen to the conversations you have with yourself. You should control your thoughts-not your thoughts control you.

2. Trust in the nature of time – whether that wound is from pain or a loss, it still hurts. Yesterday’s hurt will heal with time. Your wound will slowly close up and only a faint scar will remain, if you let go of it. Letting go doesn't mean you will forget it, it simply means that your yesterday will not play a dominant role in your today and your tomorrow.

Letting go of your yesterday requires effort and energy, but your own strength and courage will kick in. You’ll not only survive, but you’ll be wiser, more peaceful and more centered than before once you learn how to “say goodbye to yesterday.”

Author's Bio: 


Linda empowers women through her gifts as a life coach, facilitator, author and inspirational speaker. Her passion is to influence women in such a way as to motivate them into positive action.

Linda works tirelessly providing her services to various women’s organizations. She facilitates several support groups, workshops, seminars and provides inspirational speaking for many women’s causes. She provides life skills to the Women’s Prison system and to community based programs offered through local agencies. Linda provides professional development to local colleges and businesses.

Linda is the author of “Your Past Has Passed” and is a contributing writer to It’s All About and Self

Linda has a degree in English and is a Certified Life Coach.