Pathways Out of Depression: Part 3-- Shifting Old Programming

In my last blog post, I talked about learning how to identify old programming—those thoughts you have in your head, and stories you tell yourself…sometimes without even realizing it. But, it’s REALLY important to start paying attention to them if you want to pull yourself out of the dark hole of depression!

Are you ready to stop howling?

Are you ready to stop howling?

Hopefully you’ve spent some time figuring out what those old stories are. In this post, you’ll learn how to stop being hooked by that old programming.

Maybe you’ve heard this joke:  You hear your neighbor‘s dog, Brownie, howling like crazy on the front porch. You ask your neighbor, “What’s wrong with Brownie? Why is she howling?” Your neighbor tells you, “Brownie’s sitting on a nail.” You ask your neighbor, “Why doesn’t Brownie move?” Your neighbor answers, “I guess it doesn’t hurt bad enough.”

As much as we hate to admit it, there are times we howl like Brownie. Maybe you whine about the workload that leaves you so drained that you have no energy for the rest of your life. Or you fume about the fact that your dead end husband forgot your birthday---again!

“When’s this ever gonna change?” you ask yourself.  The answer? Only when YOU get SO sick and tiredof hearing and living your story that you’re ready to do whatever it takesto move away from those nails that are poking you in the butt!

Your de-nailing process can be accomplished in three steps:

What things are you tolerating that are causing you pain?

What things are you tolerating that are causing you pain?


Step One: Decide to stop tolerating your nails
 Brownie isn’t a dumb dog. She just has a comfortable spot where she likes to hang out. And it’s SO comfortable that she’s willing to put up with being poked by the nail.  

If you want to stop howling like Brownie, you’ll have to make the decision to stop putting up with the people, events, and situations that drain your energy.

It will take effort. It will mean rocking the boat. You’ll have to get uncomfortable. And it will be SO worth it!

Step Two: Know your nails—Get clear about your values
OK. So now that you’ve decided to admit how miserable you really are, you might not know why. But if you want things to change, you’ll need to put on your wading boots and get over your fear of mucking around in the deep doo doo.

What are the things that give your life meaning and purpose? These are your values

What are the things that give your life meaning and purpose? These are your values

This is a simple yet powerful step: you need to get crystal clear about your values. You hear that word used a lot by people who are trying to sell you things. But what I’m talking about here are the things you’d walk through fire for. You can pour yourself into them and time seems to stand still.

You probably think you already know what your values are. But if there are things in your life that are making you whine or howl, you should definitely try this great exercise to get clear on your values.

Our pain related to values usually comes when we’ve strayed away from living them.

Step Three: Maintaining your porch—Live your Values

Knowing what sets off your howling is good. If you hadn’t decided to make some changes, it WOULDN”T be good, because you’d be like Brownie, yammering every time you sat on the porch. But unlike Brownie, you’ve got your hammer in hand now, because you know what you value.

Most people would call it good here. But if you want your life to be better for the long run, not just for the moment, you’ve got to take the next step, which is maintenance. Our lives are just like an old wooden porch. And on those porches, the nails will pop up from time to time. So, you’ll need to get your hammer out and pound them back in again.

If you want changes that last, you'll have to do your maintenance work!

If you want changes that last, you'll have to do your maintenance work!

Let’s say you value service, and you’ve decided to start your own business. You know the way YOU deliver will make such a difference. So, you do some leg work, put together a business plan, and then find yourself putting the plan on your desk instead of taking it to your investor. You feel miserable because in your heart, you KNOW you could really make a difference. You whine to your friends about how miserable you are, but your old programming “I might fail. Failure is bad” has loosened up the nail of your determination to move forward with your plan.

If you want things to change, you’ll have to get off your butt and do your maintenance work! It doesn’t do any good if you pound beside the nail. You have to hit the nail right on the head by knowing how your old programming has taken you off course from your values.  You’ll know it’s time to do your maintenance work whenever you hear yourself whining or howling, which is a signal that your old stories or tapes are what’s driving you.

So, dust off that big dream of yours and get ready to kiss depression goodbye   It’s time to nail it!