The third chakra, called the solar plexus chakra, is located in the solar plexus which is just below the rib cage. It corresponds to the color yellow and concerns itself with issues of autonomy, will, self-esteem, power, and individuation. It says I have the right to act and be an individual.
Stephanie* curled up in her chair as she listlessly described her situation. She is very accomplished, has a PhD in a field in which she makes a lot of money, but wonders how she is going to make through the day. She explains with downcast eyes that she feels shame when she thinks about her boyfriend. Stephanie reveals that her boyfriend has been caught lying to her and stealing from her friends, she had to kick him out and now is in deep fear of retaliation.
She feels like she has to contain herself to feel safe and constantly wonders what others think of her especially since she doesn’t have a boyfriend anymore; being without a boyfriend is strange, new territory for her.
Stephanie hugs herself as she says with tears in her eyes, “even though I know I’m a grown up and need to take responsibility for my choices, I still blame my mother. I was always a good girl, followed all the rules, did what I was ‘supposed to’ do, made really good grades and has worked hard to get where I am now as a professional”. Yet she was always told to stuff her feelings, she murmurs, “my mother punished me when I didn’t have the “happy” face on”. Because of this, she has always put her own desires and individual dreams aside. Plus she feels “bad” for taking such strong steps to protect her self and get free from a manipulative and destructive relationship. A lack of confidence in her own decisions, feeling like she has no choices due to other’s expectations, and that she must have a boyfriend or an important job or a “happy face” to be accepted by others are strong signs that her third chakra is out of balance.
Symptoms of the Solar Plexus Chakra being unbalanced:
Being controlled by shame, low self-esteem, low energy or overly aggressive, victim mentality or blaming others, are all symptoms of an imbalanced third chakra. Placing responsibility on others for the decisions one makes, which may have been instilled by parents or teachers, leads to losing as sense of self and denies our personal power and ability to live proactively.
Feeling stuck between wanting to exert your will and being held back by shame, even to the point of shame attacks can result in passive-aggressive behaviors. It is common in our culture to be raised in overly controlling homes. It is traditional to believe that the child’s “will” must be broken for his/her own “good” to create upstanding citizens. This creates a mindset of inadequacy and shame.
Not having a sense of self-worth, says you don’t have the right to act or the right to be free. It creates a sense of lacking worth and leads to feeling weak or overly aggressive, it says you don’t take risks or do anything that might make people not like you.
The third chakra is the point at which a person beings to individuate. It is here that we begin to define ourselves, dare to be unique, risk disapproval, and claim out power. It is a transformational part of our journey and corresponds with Maslow’s need for belonging, Freud’s anal stage, and Erickson’s stage of autonomy vs shame and doubt. It lasts between 18 months and four years of age.
Balancing the Solar Plexus Chakra:
Some affirmations you can use to address an imbalanced solar plexus chakra:
- I honor the power within me
- I accomplish tasks easily and effortlessly
- I can do whatever I will to do
Is your solar plexus chakra balanced, do you feel like you are able to make decisions for yourself in a healthy way? Do you know what your desires and dreams are? Can you answer the question, “what would I do if there was nothing I was supposed to do” without falling into an unhealthy selfish mindset? You may want to talk with a professional who can help you reconnect with your solar plexus chakra.
Reintegrating our body with our mind, heart, and spirit requires us to think holistically and take a bio-psycho-social orientation. This means we examine what understandings each field of study can bring to our knowledge.
*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality. These are examples taken from women I have worked with.