How Healing The Solar Plexus Chakra Could Lead To Radical Self-Acceptance
The chakras are concentrated points of energy, and they add a spiritual dimension to health. Just as every structure in the physical body has a physiological purpose, each chakra has a spiritual one. In my holistic medical practice, I use the chakra system to explore the questions that science cannot yet answer. This helps my clients understand why they are suffering and what it all means.
Although the chakras are not physical structures, they can still be wounded and dysfunctional. When a chakra is "wounded," it simply means the energy of that chakra is discordant or chaotic. Sometimes this results from a negative or traumatic event during the developmental phase of life associated with that particular chakra. Other times, the wounding results from a prolonged imbalance (excess or deficiency) in the energy related to that particular chakra. Regardless of the source, wounding in the chakras inevitably affects our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual experiences.
Each chakra has a unique set of characteristics associated with it, and this includes a shadow state and a gift. When a chakra is "wounded," we live in the shadow frequency of that particular chakra. The healing path involves identifying and addressing the wound so we can transcend it and move into the gift frequency of that chakra. Wounded people wound others, and healed people heal others—so when you heal your chakras, you contribute to the healing of all those around you.
The shadow of the solar plexus chakra is shame.
Shame typically stems from our teen years, when we build our identity. As we explore and express who we are, the world around us provides positive feedback for the things we do well and subtly discourages us from pursuing our weaknesses. Over time, we emphasize those characteristics, behaviors, and qualities that we are validated for and we instinctively choose to hide our vulnerabilities, flaws, and imperfections. This leads to a fragmented identity—one that makes us feel quite confident because we are defining ourselves by the things we are positively acknowledged for—but it's incomplete because we're excluding all of our insecurities. Feeling confident in who we are supports us in pursuing higher education and building successful careers, but we remain incomplete.
The more the world around us validates this identity, the more we are driven by perfectionism, self-judgment, and criticism. Every time we want to pursue something that makes us feel insecure, our critical mind raises its voice and keeps us small. Shame keeps us small. It's a protective mechanism, and it served us well earlier in life, but it comes with huge limitations. Shame keeps us incomplete yet tells us we are not enough. Shame drives our pursuit of perfection yet says we are not worthy. Shame tells us the things we really want in life are not possible (and they aren't, when we are driven by the voice of shame because we are not whole). And the only way to expand what is possible for yourself is to expand yourself in pursuit of wholeness (aka healing). This requires you to welcome all the parts of yourself in hiding back so you can integrate them into your psyche.
Physical signs of the solar plexus chakra's shadow.
If you hold yourself to impossibly high standards, set unreasonable expectations for yourself or others, or have little tolerance for failure, you are likely driven by a solar plexus wound. Somewhere in your unconscious, shame is alive and it's obstructing your unlimited potential. When you heal this wound, your limiting belief systems dissolve and you realize that your vulnerabilities and imperfections are the things that draw people and opportunities toward you. These are the parts of you that others love most—the roots of your worthiness.
The gift of the solar plexus chakra is self-acceptance.
To heal the wound of shame, we must move from judgment to worthiness. Self-acceptance is about identifying all the things we judge ourselves harshly for and welcoming them back in. It's about acknowledging that all the things we judge others for are reflections of the parts of ourselves in hiding. Acceptance says, "All of you is welcome here—especially your vulnerabilities."
The more you accept yourself, the more worthy you become. You cannot create anything in your life that you do not believe you are worthy of, so this path is essential to growth. To receive love, you must be worthy of love. To create financial wealth or professional success, you must be worthy of it. To have a loving partnership, you must be worthy of it. So if you are trying to create something in your life and your momentum has plateaued, it may be time to heal your solar plexus chakra. Here are three exercises to help you get started:
1. Always start with awareness.
Create a "fix it" list for yourself. List all the things about yourself you are trying to fix, change, or improve upon. Then review the list and note all the things on the list you judge yourself harshly for. Review the list again, and note whether you believe any of the things on the list make you unlovable.
2. Reframe and discover your gifts.
Using the list above, identify how each thing on that list has served you. Have these qualities protected you? Are they connected to parts of yourself that you like? Can you find a gift in each one of the things on the list?
3. Confront your critic.
Identify one thing you want to do in your life that you have not yet pursued because you believe you don't have the talent or skills to be successful. Note the dialogue that prevents you from doing it, and do it anyway. Do it with the intention of failing. Let yourself fail and discover how liberating it is to live imperfectly.
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Erica Matluck, N.D., N.P. is an NYC-based naturopathic doctor, nurse practitioner, and holistic coach. She was trained as a Reiki master at 20 years old and began studying yoga as a teenager. She obtained her master's in nursing from Seattle University and doctorate of naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University.
Eastern philosophy threads through all of Matluck’s work. Combining over a decade of experience working in conventional and alternative medicine, she brings a truly holistic lens to medicine, addressing the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual obstacles to health.
Prior to opening a private practice in New York City, Matluck spent eight years at One Medical Group and has delivered onsite wellness workshops at countless prominent companies. She is also the founder of Seven Senses, where she leads transformational wellness experiences throughout the world.