Shame and the Third Chakra [Solar Plexus]

Written by Kate • January 24, 2012 •
1 comment

Image Thanks to Kat224k

Image Thanks to Kat224k

Recently I made a mistake, one which a lot of other people probably wouldn’t consider a mistake. It’s an ordinary kind of mistake, the kind we go through life making all the time. I’m at the point in my life where I can see that I’ve made my mistake and I’m no longer chewed up by it, at least to the extent I was.

I took stock in the days following my mistake to see how far it is that I’ve come. Rather than saying my habitual harsh words and spending hours and days trying to figure out how I can use this example to avoid making any sort of mistake at all in the future, I sat with my guilt, shame, and unkind beliefs.  For a wonderful book on the differences between guilt and shame, see Brene Brown‘s I Thought It Was Just Me. It’s been a wonderful process, to see how I’ve come -from a place where ordinary mistakes used to cause me endless suffering through my feeling a sense of shame, remorse, guilt, and stupidity over even the smallest of mistakes. I have been called a perfectionist in my life, which is to me another word for someone who’s afraid to really live.

In that I’ve been getting to know the chakra system, I see that shame is located, for me, in the third chakra, the solar plexus. I wrote about this chakra in a previous post.  I know that this chakra is associated with our sense of power in the world and is obviously located in the solar plexus. And to prove it, as I consider my mistake, I’ve had a lot of unpleasant feelings in my solar plexus, like an unpleasant roller coaster and a sense of contraction.

Shame

The feeling of shame in the pit of our stomach arises from the false belief that what we’ve done has diminished us, that it has defined us either in our own eyes or in the eyes of others as something “less” than what we had been. Perhaps you’ve felt the following before:

  • Flip flops in your stomach when you think on the issue
  • A sense of contraction or of involuntary sucking in of your stomach when you think about the issue
  • Nausea when you think about your issues
  • A sense of your stomach dropping out when you think on the issue

These physical feelings are your body’s way of showing you that your beliefs are off and that the sensations of guilt, shame, and remorse are due to your thoughts around what you’ve done, rather than what you’ve actually done. But if you listen to your body’s signals, you can turn around your beliefs about you’ve done and what you’re experiencing and rid yourself of your suffering.

Brene Brown calls it shame resilience and she encourages everyone to become more resilient to shame, which is not a useful emotion. Byron Katie calls it accepting what is.

Giving Your Power Away

One of the reasons that shame can felt in your third chakra is that to feel shame, we have given our power away to someone or something else. We have decided that whatever we have done has diminished us to the point that if others found out, we would be considered bad. Therefore, we are elevating the thoughts and opinions of others over our own sense of self.  And yes, it’s that we’ve internalized these external beliefs so that it’s our own shame. But if you explore your feelings more fully, you’ll see that your shame is based on having thoughts of being exposed, that someone you love and/or respect will find out what you’ve done and you’ll be rejected or criticized or made to feel bad.

Remember, what you’ve done has NOT defined. It’s what you think about what you’ve done that defines you.

Healing Your Shame

To start to heal your shame, I would recommend, in addition to reading Brene Brown’s book on shame, I Thought It Was Just Me, you can also understand that it is only your thoughts that create the belief around your sense of shame and it is you who creates the meaning out of what you’ve done.

So you’ve bounced a check, does that mean you’re a bad person or you made a mistake?

So you said something boundlessly inappropriate, does that mean you’re stupid or you made a mistake?

It’s up to you.

Or is the mistake on even larger proportions?

So you slept with your best friend’s husband, does this define you forever or have you made a mistake?

So you embezzled some funds at the office, does this define you forever or have you made a mistake?

Again, it’s all up to you.  Your shame can make you want to crawl up and die and not do the right thing after having made a mistake. And you can punish yourself for months for one small mistake and then when you make another, as you inevitably will, you will continue with your shame. Or if you consider that the mistake is big enough, you may punish yourself forever for the one mistake, and it will define you, because you let it. You took on and internalized someone else’s sense of right and wrong and have used that tool as a weapon against yourself. Or you can heal your shame, do the right thing in this moment, and in the next moment, and in the next, and be the person you’re supposed to be, without the shame, mistakes and all.

And as I mention in this post, there is no destination. You’ll never make it to the point that you’ll be perfect. Why are you even trying?

Balancing the Third Chakra

To help with your shame and to get your third chakra more balanced, I am including some of the strengthening recommendations I cited in my original post. Remember to also question your thoughts about your shame to be able to catch what your core beliefs are around mistakes, being perfect, and who has power over you.

Many of the balancing methods below don’t cost a thing and can take just a few minutes each day.

Honor Yourself

  • Find out what it is that you want to do with your life or your free time
  • Practice saying no so that you can begin saying it without guilt
  • Sleep on it or take your time in committing to anything
  • Build your courage.
  • Read Steve Pavlina’s Post: How to Give Your Power Away– and then stop doing it
  • Start a project and finish it. Acknowledge this accomplish and feel the power it gives back to you. Then do another.

Stop Trying So Hard

  • Don’t force yourself. If you’re trying and coming up against a lot of resistance. Stop. Take a deep breath. Find out about the resistance and where it’s coming from. Visualize instead how easy the task is and that you can do it easily and with grace.
  • If something really isn’t working, give it up. Don’t feel guilty about it. Begin with something that is easy and comes to you without resistance. Follow your joy.

Yell. Or Hit Something

  • Yell as loudly and as hard as you can. And again. And again. Yelling not only strengthens your core, it releases some of the pent up power you’ve been repressing and allows the energy to move through you.
  • Hit something, like a punching bag, some pillows or the bed. This too release some of the power you’ve been holding on to.
  • If you can make the time, take a kick boxing or other martial arts course in your gym or area. This will increase your sense of personal power and ability to protect yourself.

Protect Your Solar Plexus

  • When you know you’re going to be in a tough situation, such as the first time you say no and stick to your guns, knowing you’ll disappoint that certain someone, or when you need to have a tough discussion with your colleagues, or it’s time to ask for a raise, don’t go “belly to belly”. In these situations, turn slightly so that you are positioned so that your solar plexus isn’t facing him/her/them directly.  This prevents their energy from entering your chakra’s aura and allows you to better maintain your power and will.
  • When a conversations starts to go wrong and you can feel yourself losing your power, put your hand up and block your solar plexus’ aura so that you aren’t being bombarded with their chakra energy.
  • Another way to increase your power in the middle of a situation is to, in addition to physically blocking your solar plexus, is to visualize your solar plexus as a disk or a ball of light and that it is getting bigger, warmer, and brighter. Quickly imagine it growing in intensity and you will feel your power flow back to you.

Laugh

  • Laughing at life can greatly increase your sense of power by not taking everything so seriously.
  • Rent a comedy and really laugh for as long as you can.

Physically Strengthen Your Core

  • Sit ups and other core strengthening exercises help to anchor your solar plexus in power. By increasing your strength physically, you can increase your strength psychically and emotionally.
  • Rock Climb on a local wall or take course.
  • Take a Pilates Course at your local gym.
  • Anodea Judithrecommends the following yoga poses as solar plexus strengtheners:

Good luck. And I wish for you a more shame resilient life!

 

 

Post to Twitter

Join the Conversation

1 Response to "Shame and the Third Chakra [Solar Plexus]"

Cole on June 3, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink |

Beautifully written Kate, Thank you!

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge