Along with the leading psychiatrists and physicians in the world, Shatter Expectations Creator Kevin Skeens agrees that anger, frustration, and any other negative emotion must be dealt with in order for a person to become the best versions of themselves.
"Bitterness is unforgiveness fermented."
Renowned German Psychiatrist Michael Linden's research shows that long-term bitterness can affect everything from your sleeping patterns and appetite to your sex drive. It elevates cynicism and paranoia, and it perpetuates displacement.
"[Displacement is] Diverting emotional feelings (usually anger) from their original source to a substitute target…Frequently occurs in families, where the father [is] getting mad at the mother, the mother then takes her anger out on her son, the son in turn yells at his little sister, the little sister kicks the dog, and the dog bites the cat…Or [this phenomenon is revealed by] a boxer taking out his frustration on a punching bag or opponent" (Weiten, Wayne. Psychology).
Skeens asserts that even the most talented or intelligent person will be set back if they cannot deal with their harbored negative emotions. Negativity's occupation of our hearts can have disastrous results in our lives and the lives of everyone we come into contact with…But this is where success comes into play. Because success can accurately be viewed as a manipulation of energy, your heart's emotions need to be in line before you can grasp it. The Bible gives us the key to a healthy heart this way, saying,
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30, NIV).
Once you've focused your mind and heart on love—and God is love—you are free to pursue the dreams that have also been in your heart since you were old enough to grasp them. Only a power outside of ourselves, along with support and accountability from others, can give us the strength we need to overcome our harmful heart patterns.
"In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him" (1 Samuel 18:14, NIV).
Some practical applications for easing anger—which ultimately leads to bitterness, resentment, and other negative emotions—include specific breathing exercises, journaling, and confronting people who have wronged us before we allow our anger to fester. The 4-7-8 breathing technique was invented by Dr. Andrew Weil, and it is the practice of holding your breath for 7 counts, and then exhaling for 8. Repeat this process 4 times for a lowered heart-rate and anger relief.
Heather's story is a great example of how to shatter expectations through heart-work. She was talented, smart, and had the potential for great success. However, she had a bitter heart. She was constantly offended and always seemed to be looking for things to be irritated about. She complained about how people dressed, she got annoyed with questions people asked and she always seemed to attract the worst drivers on the road.
As a student, she would usually find fault with every professor and she always talked negatively about her classes. As an athlete, Heather was the girl who had tons of talent but would underachieve because of how frustrated she was with her teammates.
Finally, her volleyball scholarship was taken away because of what a poor teammate she was. Thankfully, it was at this time that Heather was given an article by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Simply put, the article explained that you can't give away that which you don't have. If you want to give someone oranges, you have to go to the store to buy some oranges! Heather took that metaphor to heart and started to look inward—she wanted to discover what had caused so much bitterness. During this process of self-reflection, Heather realized that she never dealt with her parents' divorce in a healthy way. She was holding onto bitterness towards her parents and harbored hatred towards them for how much sorrow they caused her during her most formative years.
Heather's solution was not to go to confession as her church taught her. Instead, she began to journal her feelings and reframe the entire situation. She asked God to show her ways she could forgive and move on from her past. Journaling became an instrumental part of her daily routine, as well as meditative prayer.
Over time, Heather realized that what she put out into the world was what came back to her, so instead of asking God to give her more, she asked him who she could help and serve. She soon noticed that the world was becoming a lot less annoying and more of a beautiful, giving place.
Eventually she was able to forgive her parents, and Heather insists it was her decision to serve that softened her heart and made the world around her change. School, activities and life became much more enjoyable and much less annoying!
Heather is now a coach and mentor for middle school athletes. She always stresses the importance of building others up and having a positive mindset, but this transformation is all due to her dedication in the area of heart-work.