Recently, I was discussing emotions with a friend not in the mental health space and realized that the topic of “numbing or avoiding emotions” comes up frequently both at work as well as in my personal life. So, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about the risks of avoiding or numbing emotions!
As a psychologist, the topic of numbing or avoiding emotions comes up frequently in my sessions and discussions with clients. It is my belief that part of this is our culture that currently suggests that any emotion that is not typically thought to be "positive" is somehow "negative" or "bad." Clients come in with many thoughts about how to manage emotions and often seem to vacillate between avoidance and wallowing in the emotion. Neither of these is very helpful for long-term mental health. Emotions are cues to the environment and so important to learn to sit with and process through them so that you can receive the lesson the emotion is there to teach. For example, if you are feeling depressed it is very worthwhile to think about what is going on and why you might be feeling down and depressed. This query and search for meaning can help you figure out what the depression is trying to tell you and what life changes might help you feel more content with your life again.
Unfortunately, when someone tries to avoid or numb their feelings, it often leads to increases of that very same emotion in the future. Kind of like when you have a soda bottle and just keep shaking it. Eventually, it will explode! Emotions are very similar and unfortunately, numbing them is only a short-term solution. Additionally, when we numb our unpleasant emotions, we also numb our more enjoyable emotions. They are flip sides of the same coin and it is through the experience of sorrow that our capacity for joy grows.
Here are some tips on ways to sit with unpleasant emotions:
By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
I recently went with a group of therapist friends to see the movie, Inside Out, which is, as many other child therapists have already noted, a child therapist’s dream movie. This is for a few reasons but primarily because it is based on the emotions or “voices” in our heads and the movie did a pretty wonderful job of demonstrating what each emotion is all about and what it looks like without the other emotions combined with it. Fear seemed to represent anxiety and sadness was certainly a great representation of depression. Anger was quite over the top anger that I often see with some of the kids I work with who have difficulties managing their big angry feelings.
The coolest thing about this movie is that it takes emotions and makes them an interesting and okay thing for kids to talk about, which can be unusual in our current culture that focuses a lot on happiness and avoidance of most other emotions. Some of the kids that have come into my office since seeing the movie have been more open to share about their feelings, using the movie as their platform for the conversation. As I stated before, this is a child therapist’s dream!
Another element of the movie that I really appreciated is that you get to watch an evolution of the characters, where they grow to understand that each emotion is important and that their person, Riley, will cope and live her best life if they are all working together, rather than just focusing only on Joy (which was how the movie began). I fundamentally believe that all of our emotions are important and useful tools in our lives and that issues arise when they get out of balance and we rely on one emotion and neglect the others. As such, this message was something I really appreciated.
Here are some questions and discussion starters that I have been using with kids in my office to help them open up about their feelings while also feeling like they are talking just about the movie:
I can’t say enough how impressed I was with the movie and how easy it was to relate to it without having an over the top, educational or therapist vibe! I would highly recommend that any parent who is interested in talking to their child more about their emotions go see the movie with their child and then discuss it afterwards.
As always, thanks for reading and comments are always welcome regarding any issues around child or teen psychotherapy in San Diego.
By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
As many of you may know, I was recently interviewed by ABC News to comment on the trend that occurred in response to Zayn leaving the group, One Direction. Fans were cutting themselves and demonstrating their wounds publicly utilizing the hashtag, #Cut4Zayn on social media. Some posts even suggested to others to do the same because then Zayn would come back to the group. (If you did not catch the story and very small role I played, check it out here). Since so much of my interview was cut out from the story, I thought it would be nice to cover this topic in a blog post!
The more that I reflected on this particular scenario and the overall topic of self-harm, the more I felt strongly that instead of posting about more typical topics around cutting (how to stop people from doing it, what to do if your teen is cutting, etc) I wanted to have a discussion of WHY this might be happening so frequently and in such a dramatic, public way. Please keep in mind that this is mainly my opinion, which is based on what I see in my office and in our culture but not on specific, measured, scientific facts necessarily.
This topic also ties in with some of my fundamental beliefs about why people are feeling so stressed, anxious, unhappy, and disconnected because I think many people are cutting for exactly those reasons. While I might come off as entirely elderly during this post, I’m kind of okay with that! As I have gotten older, particularly given the work I do, I have gained such an appreciation for simpler times (which I would categorize my childhood in as I grew up prior to the internet in the 80s).
Here we go! The following is a summary about some factors I see as influencing Americans mental health and leading us to feel generally unhappy, disconnected, anxious, and stressed and which also could lead people into self-harming.
The Happiness Obsession: This is my way of saying that we are all SO focused on being happy all the time that I believe people are losing their ability to understand, accept, and tolerate discomfort and the less pleasant emotions. I covered this topic in another blog post as well (feel free to read that here) but in essence, I think that particularly younger individuals have an expectation of being happy and excited all the time. This is so entirely unrealistic that it is the definition of an unreachable goal but so many people may not realize this, which creates feelings of isolation and anger that THEY are not happy, since everyone else must be. After all, that’s what TV shows (well, happiness or complete and total DRAMA but that’s another topic). This also reduces our capacity to regulate ourselves through less pleasant emotions and situations, which can lead to cutting behavior.
General disconnection through mass media overload: I should preface this section by saying that I generally have a love-hate relationship with the media. While I love some great/terrible reality TV, I am also highly concerned about the impact TV, movies, the Internet, social media have on us as human beings. I believe that our expectations are so driven by what we see on the Internet that they are entirely skewed. I even find myself falling into this trap and thinking, well they have time for that (on my favorite show), why don’t I? While I mediate this thought by reminding myself that I live in reality and not a made-up world on TV, I can imagine how hard that is to do for someone who is younger, less mature, and likely to be less educated about how the media impacts our perceptions.
There is also the factor of how much time we spend connecting with other people in inauthentic ways, such as through social media or even texting. I find it concerning that so many of the teens I work with do not communicate with their friends verbally apart from occasionally at school. Most things are communicated through some sort of electronic source, which I believe reduces our ability to connect in an authentic way where we feel connected and heard by the other person. Plus, anything in writing could be misinterpreted, saved, and even used against someone and as such, many people are less likely to be truly vulnerable in writing. I believe that connection and vulnerability are so important in developing emotional resilience as well as shame resilience and without face-to-face communication, we are all lacking these skills to some extent.
Expectation of Perfection: Failure has somehow become such a dirty word in our culture. The sad thing to me is that so much of our learning comes from our failures and being open enough to try something different but we are all so consumed with being perfect and doing things “right” that we are often afraid to try something new. In many ways I do think our culture has forgotten that it is hard work, failure, and perseverance that drives success, not doing everything right all the time. I see parents often trying to help their children avoid any sense of failure, which unfortunately only leads to them never developing the resiliency to deal with failure and recover from it. This is particularly concerning to me because I do think this is a huge risk factor for self-injury as well. A shame spiral so quickly develops when we feel ashamed for our mistakes and can spin all the way down to being completely worthless, ashamed, and terrible which could certainly lead someone to feel like harming themselves in one way or another.
All of these factors lead to reduced emotional resiliency and regulation skills, which are key factors in developing healthy relationships and coping skills. My next blog will discuss ways to help facilitate resiliency in kids and teens. Stay tuned!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Let me know what you think in the comments section or feel free to send me an email.
Please contact me regarding any issues around child or psychotherapy for teens in San Diego CA.
This is the first guest blog here at Thrive! We are so excited to share Sarah's blog with our followers. Sarah is a fantastic therapist and works in similar capacities as I do and this post includes some really helpful information about how to increase your child's vocabulary around emotion. Sarah's information is at the bottom of the post if you would like to read more of her blogs!
By: Sarah Leitschuh, MA, LMFT
I often talk to parents about being open to having their children express their emotions (feelings) through means other than words. Art, music and play are just a few of the powerful ways in which children communicate and share their emotions with us. I have learned so much about how children understand the world by just playing with them. Having said that, there are many reasons why it is valuable to help children build a feelings vocabulary and comfort in discussing their emotions.
The Benefits of Building Your Child’s Feelings Vocabulary
How Do We Help Children Build a Strong Feelings Vocabulary?
Short answer: We help children develop a feelings vocabulary by incorporating discussion about emotions into our daily interactions with them.
Longer Answer: (Including some ideas to try!)
We help children develop a feelings vocabulary by frequently exposing them to discussions of emotions. There are many ways that we can incorporate discussion of emotions into our daily interactions. Here are some possibilities to consider:
Do you have other ideas that you use to help children build their feelings vocabulary? If so, feel free to share your ideas in the comment section.
By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
I was reading through a wedding planning book this past weekend and came across this quote: you’re not broken, you’re human. It was in the context of discussing the disappointment we experience when our expectations do not match the reality of our situation, particularly with weddings. This quote really resonated with me, because I think so many of us have piles of unrealistic expectations and ideas of what life “should” be like that make us feel that our lives do not match up to some preset ideal. So often we feel broken or wrong in some way because we do not match society, our friends, the ideals in movies or TV, or our families view of what life should be like.
Expectations are a common topic in my office with my clients because often our unrealistic expectations lead to unpleasant emotions and relationship conflict. Big events and topics such as marriage, relationships in general, having children, careers, etc. seem to be areas where we judge ourselves the most harshly by others’ expectations and standards. I believe that this has a lot to do with how much we are told by others what things need to be like in order to be successful, happy, the best, etc. While some of these messages certainly come from our families, friends, and messages we heard throughout our childhood, they also come from what we witness in the media. The media seems to infiltrate everything about our lives and is just so easily accessible for people to use it as a point of comparison. There is an entire industry around getting people to believe that they need more things, beauty, money, etc. in order to be truly happy, beautiful, and worthy. While I appreciate our culture, I think that the consumerism that we are all exposed to has a dramatically negative impact on our mental health and overall well-being.
Another huge area that I find people experience a lot of feelings of unworthiness, judgment, and self-criticism is when our expectation of how we think we “should” feel in certain situations does not match how we actually do feel. For example, one of the most confusing times for people is when they have conflicting or uncertain feelings about big life events such as graduation, a promotion at work, having a child, a relationship, retirement, etc. Many people seem to think that these events only will come with positive or happy feelings. Then when they begin feeling other feelings, uncertainty, anxiety, fear, upset, sadness – the conclusion is that they are somehow defective and wrong in the way they feel. The reality is that there is nothing wrong with feeling however you feel in a given situation. Our feelings are what they are and they often can be surprising and different than expected. Once we stop shaming ourselves about them, we can use them more effectively as cues to our environment and lives.
I still remember one of the most difficult transitions in my life, graduating from graduate school. I remember that most of the people around me assumed that I was excited and happy but the reality was that I was totally freaked out about the next steps in my life. Even as a psychologist, it felt uncomfortable to have others assume what my feelings were and then to either go along with it or correct them. It’s hard to tell people we are not feeling what we are “supposed” to feel! I think it is important for all of us to take stock of the fact that there are no right or wrong feelings in a given situation, there are just feelings. Some may be unexpected but they are all there to help us learn something, even if they are uncomfortable or unwelcome to us.
Often I find that our expectations serve as ways we attempt to make a complicated world simpler. Unfortunately, this only alienates us further from ourselves and can shame us for experiencing the world in the way that we do. Learning to untangle our internal values, feelings, expectations, and preferences from what we have internalized from others is an important skill to begin developing. Re-defining our expectations is something that I work with my therapy clients towards and can benefit all of us dramatically. A fantastic step is simply to acknowledge what you are experiencing and that it is a disappointment related to unrealistic expectations.
Tips in working through unexpected emotions and managing expectations:
Remember: Fear, anxiety, uncertainty, discomfort, sadness are necessary parts of change, even positive change. Lean into these feelings! You will be amazed at what will happen when you stop allowing discomfort to guide your choices and decisions. It can be so empowering!
The most important point of this blog is to remember that there are no hard and fast rules in life. As much as we want to make rules to organize ourselves (this is what we are programmed to do!), life can really be anything we want it to be and it does not need to match up to preconceived ideas. If we can surrender to this and let go of some of our expectations, I think many of us would experience less disappointment and more overall life satisfaction. Just remember that when your life, experience, or feelings is not measuring up to your expectations that you are not broken, you are simply human.
(The book referenced is a fantastic reality based wedding planning book called:
A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration and can easily be found on Amazon).
As always, thanks for reading.
Have questions about our practice? Please contact us regarding any issues around child, therapy for teens, adult or marriage and family therapist services in San Diego by Thrive Therapy Studio.
Change your thoughts, change your life.
By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
Language is a powerful force in our lives, more powerful than many of us give it credit for. I remember when I first recognized this, while I was living in France after college. Learning another language is an amazing and enriching experience particularly when you have the ability to be immersed in the culture where they speak the language. I lived in France for one year as an au pair, which means that I was a live-in nanny for a French family. This was one of the most powerful and transformative years of my life and I learned so many cultural and life-altering lessons that have guided the way I practice as a psychologist. While I lived there, I was able to uniquely observe the shaping nature language has on a culture. While I am sadly unable to remember the exact phrase that allowed this information to really sink in for me, I just remember thinking that many of our cultural differences are rooted in the structural differences in the way we construct language, and therefore our worlds. This realization was critical for me in my own ability to change my thoughts but also in my ability to understand just how important our words can be.
Another moment where the importance of language was underlined for me was during a yoga class when our teacher recited the quote I have listed at the bottom of my website while we were setting our intention for the class. I was so struck by that quote that I spent the rest of the class repeating the words in my head so that I could use them to emphasize some of my key points in therapy! (The opposite of the point of a yoga class but that's a different topic!)
Here's the quote again for those of you who love it as much as I do: "Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become character, it becomes your destiny." (It has been credited to many different people including Gandhi, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lao Tzu, Frank Outlaw, Gautama Buddha, and the father of Margaret Thatcher).
My belief in the fundamental importance of language in creating our perception of the world is why I often tend to get very specific with my clients about some of the words that they use to describe situations and themselves. I believe that if we learn to change our words, we can change our perception and experience of the world. A simple example is as follows: instead of instantly describing events in dichotomous terms (“good/bad”), we can simply acknowledge that they are the way they are and then dig deeper to acknowledge and accept our emotional experience of the event. This will lead to lessened judgment of our experience and increased acceptance that life just is. It might feel “good” or “bad” but it really just is what it is. Once we can reduce our judgment, we are on our way to accept the life we have and then we are more able to make changes from a place of acceptance and peace.
Here are the first words that I work on with my clients during therapy:
Here are some other ideas about how to shape your language and perception in a more productive way. All of these are geared towards building up a more grateful and positive mentality to help move your thoughts away from negativity and towards a more resilient mindset.
In closing, I would like to also note that when I talk about gearing our mentalities in a more “positive” direction, I do not mean that we are not permitted to experience the more uncomfortable (“bad”) emotions. I believe that we need to pay attention to our thoughts so that they are not overly skewed in one direction (negative or unrealistically positive). I believe when we pay too much attention to unpleasant events, people, situations, and outcomes, we cultivate further negativity in our lives and struggle more to recognize more positive situations or events. As such, I recommend that we first honor our emotions by experiencing them and describing them accurately. Then we can let them go, particularly the unpleasant emotions, rather than ruminating about them as this only creates stronger patterns in our minds and makes it more likely to experience those feelings more frequently. I look at changing our thoughts as training for our brain. While you take steps towards these changes, please be patient and kind with yourself as it takes time to re-adjust your thoughts, words, and experience of the world.
Thank you for reading!
Have questions about our practice? Please contact us regarding any issues around adult, child or teen counseling services or marriage family therapy San Diego by Thrive Therapy Studio.
By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
Welcome to Thrive's first parenting blog! One of the components of my work that I am most passionate about is my work with parents through parent consultation (either on its’ own or in addition to a child’s treatment). I am excited to be starting a series of blogs that discuss parenting and give parents useful and effective tips that they can implement right away. I would like to begin today with several common topics in my parent consultation sessions and an overview of ways to set yourself up cognitively and emotionally to be an effective parent.
Before going into the tips, I would like to share a bit about my perspective on parenting and parent consultation. I fundamentally believe that children need rules, limits, and consequences. They also need parents who communicate with them, demonstrate their love, and are present in their lives to show them just how much they care, even when they have made a mistake. I would also like to share that as a parent consultant, I am here for parents as a collaborative partner. I have a wealth of knowledge and experience with children and parents that will help guide our work together but I always respect that parents are the expert on their family and their child. While I give a lot of feedback about how to help their child, none of that is coming from a place of judgment as I know that parenting is not an easy job and that children do not come with an instruction book. Please also keep in mind that the strategies that are posted are general strategies and not effective for every child. Children are all so different and respond to different things! As such, please feel free to seek further help with parenting if these strategies are proving ineffective for your child. I would love to hear from you and consult with you!
Tip #1: You are the parent, not your child’s friend (particularly when discipline is involved)
This is a tough one but so important in any discussion of parenting as our desire to be our child’s best friend leads us away from acting as their parent. Parents always need to remember that they are responsible for teaching their child how to be fully functioning adults and this means saying “no” and sometimes that your child will be upset with you because you are not giving them what they want. While this can be challenging, it is necessary. As a parent, you are the leader and you are in charge so the way you approach things sets the tone for your whole family.
Tip #2: Empathy works
Particularly for highly sensitive and emotional children and teens, they need to be approached with empathy and compassion for their situation and their feelings. Some parents struggle with this because they feel the child is acting “dramatic” but it is important not to shame them for their feelings by pushing them out of it before they are ready but to approach them with some compassion. Start by reflecting their feelings to them, “I can tell you are feeling (overwhelmed, sad, like everyone hates you, etc), that must be difficult.” Then let them share about it before helping them find solutions. Try not to go to solving the problem too quickly because they might feel that you do not understand and shut down more. Also, even when you are providing consequences, it is appropriate to be kind and compassionate. Sometimes parents are working so hard on being “strong” and holding the limits they set that they forget to connect with their child and give them some love too.
Tip #3: Set appropriate expectations
Your child is going to have strengths and weaknesses just like we all do. As such, the areas where they are less proficient will need extra focus, patience, and have more room for growth. These are often the areas that are most frustrating for a parent but it is important to thoughtfully consider if your expectations match your child’s abilities. Then you can recognize where your child is at and meet them there by setting expectations just slightly above their skill level. This way you are challenging them but not overwhelming them with the challenge, which can lead to giving up.
Tip #4: Consistency is key
One of the most important cornerstones of effective parenting is to be consistent. Children need rules and they need to know what to expect. I find a fantastic way to meet this need is by creating visual cues that help parents and children stay consistent.
Tip #5: Always keep your future goals in mind
This is a tip geared towards changing your mindset when disciplining your child and to help you stay firm in your expectations. When parents are wavering in their discipline and not setting consistent limits, it’s helpful to look at the situation differently and from a more neutral approach. For example, a goal for your child might be for them to understand cause and effect. As such, the first step is to recognize that they do not yet have this skill fully developed and will need support. When they make mistakes and break rules (ex. Hitting their brother), a consequence needs to be provided. They will often become upset as a result, but if you can remember that the consequence is there in order to teach them cause and effect, it might be easier to follow through.
Tip #6: It’s okay for your child to experience unpleasant feelings
This tip follows up on my blog last week about the “Happiness Obsession” and my belief that as parents and caregivers, we need to stop thinking our job is to protect our children at all costs. I get it. You love them so much that it is extremely painful for you when they are struggling or feeling uncomfortable/unpleasant feelings. However, sometimes those are experiences they need to learn the lesson at hand. For example, when a child makes a mistake, it is okay for them to feel remorse about it and to be bummed for a while. It is then our job to say, “I get it. I make mistakes too and I feel awful when I do. It’s okay to feel badly about it but remember that you are still a great person and everyone makes mistakes. How can we make this situation better?” Then we are providing support and empathy but validating that it’s okay to feel badly when we mess up. Protecting them from the unpleasant feelings would look more like telling them what they did is not a big deal anyways, telling them they were not really responsible for the mistake, or letting them off the hook for a consequence.
Tip #7: Take the yelling out of discipline
One of the most important parts of any discipline discussion is what I call “firm and neutral” parenting. This means that when giving a consequence it is done in a firm and neutral way. There is no yelling involved or shaming your child. Just matter of fact, “that is unacceptable behavior.” Then you give a consequence in a similar way “because you hit your sister, you will not watch TV for the rest of the day.” And that’s it! End of story. Try not to discuss the mistakes a child makes over and over as that simply gives the negative behavior more attention (which sometimes increases it!).
Take away points:
Have questions about Thrive Therapy Studio? Please contact us regarding parent consulting, adult, child or teen psychotherapy services or family counseling services in San Diego.
By: Dr. Erica Wollerman
I meet with many different families and individuals in my practice. One of the most fascinating things that I hear from almost everyone is something along the lines of “I just want my child to be happy” or “I just want to be happy, like everyone else.” I find this so interesting for two reasons. On one hand, I totally understand that feeling and can relate to just wanting to feel better, happy, successful, etc. On the other hand, while I understand the drive towards happiness, I do not necessarily think that the goal of life or a childhood is happiness. I think that a more realistic and helpful goal is to feel at peace even when facing adversity and to allow ourselves to sit with discomfort long enough to learn the lesson it teaches.
Additionally, I think that our culture’s obsession with being happy has dramatic consequences. One consequence that I see in my work is that people are becoming increasingly uncomfortable and avoidant of any emotion seen as “negative” such as sadness, despair, anger, shame, and guilt. I find it curious that so many emotions get such a bad rap just because they are uncomfortable for us to experience. The interesting thing is that life and growth truly begin at the end of our comfort zone and I think that by avoiding the less pleasant emotions, we restrict our growth and our experience of other emotions as well. I walk with people through change on a daily basis as a therapist and try to push myself towards change and I have to say, it is not always fun, comfortable, or happy. Change is typically painful and can be a struggle, even when we know the end goal will make us feel better in some way or that we are learning something. However, that does not mean that we need to run from change! Change is an exciting, amazing, scary, and beautiful process when we can embrace it. Above all, it is a process and it certainly is not something that happens instantaneously (as much as we may want it to!).
I think that a possible solution is to change our goal away from simply being happy and towards a full experience of the range of emotions life has to offer and towards resiliency in the face of challenging situations, feelings, and environments. While some feelings are uncomfortable to experience, we need to embrace them and accept their presence in our lives. I often talk with my clients about how emotions are cues to our environment and they are important sources of information about our lives. When we constantly avoid or numb them, we do not learn the lesson or understand what they are trying to show us or teach us. While I am not advocating wallowing in our emotions or “feeding” them with negative self-talk, I think we need to learn to recognize them and become curious about them. Once we can accept that the full range of feelings is meaningful in our lives, maybe we can invite them in for a bit to learn from them, experience them, and then let them go. One way to do this is to cultivate mindfulness of our thoughts and feelings through treating our emotions and thoughts as a wave that comes and goes. Early in my training, I learned to be curious about my thoughts rather than blindly accepting them as facts and it helps to remember that thoughts are just thoughts and feelings are just feelings.
Another area that I think is very impacted by our culture’s “happiness” obsession is parenting. I think that parents have become so concerned with providing their children with opportunities to feel happy that they sometimes miss providing them opportunities to learn to cope with disappointment, failure, and difficult situations that will inevitably come up in life. I often work with parents who struggle to set limits with their children and I think this has something to do with all of our difficulties tolerating unpleasant emotions. We want to rescue our loved ones from feeling things we do not want to feel so we may unconsciously do things to protect them from adversity and end up doing a complete disservice to them. While I obviously do not want children to feel miserable all the time, I think that helping them learn how to handle challenges in life is crucial in building resiliency. Resiliency is one of the most important tools a child can have and will serve them well in life. I think that we can give children different messages about failure, challenges, and fairness that will prepare them better for the world. I think these messages need to honor the fact that challenges are okay, feelings are all okay and not “good” or “bad,” and that sometimes we just need to accept things as they are. We need to be role models for them and truly become more comfortable with pain, failure, mistakes, and uncomfortable feelings in order to teach children that they are not to be feared. If we fear challenge, failure, uncomfortable feelings, so will our children. All of us need to accept that everyone faces adversity and it is how you respond that matters most.
Have questions about Thrive Therapy Studio? Please contact us regarding parent consultation, adult, child or therapy for young adults or marriage and family therapy San Diego.
Blogs from the Thrive Family!
Musings from Erica, Jennifer, Anoushey, Maria, Kim, and Ying-Ying
Call Today! 858-342-1304
Thrive Therapy Studio
5230 Carroll Canyon Rd. Ste 110
San Diego, CA 92121
"Watch your thoughts,
They become words.
Watch your words,
They become actions.
Watch your actions,
They become habits.
Watch your habits,
They become character;
It becomes your destiny."