In this article, I’m going to go into what an underactive heart chakra looks like, and how this issue can be resolved.
If you would like to read one section of this article only, you can use the links below to navigate to the relevant section that you’d like to read:
- The signs of an underactive heart chakra
- The most common causes of an underactive heart chakra
- How to resolve this issue
Before we go any further, let’s just take a look at what the heart chakra is all about, and where it is actually located:
As you can see, the heart chakra is the fourth chakra, and its location is in the centre of the chest, close to the heart.
Through this chakra, we are connected to the Divine energy of love, compassion, forgiveness, empathy and self-esteem. This chakra governs both the giving and the receiving of love, affection and support.
When the heart chakra is healthy, we are able to give and receive love and support, in equal measure. We value and respect others and ourselves. We are also able to put ourselves first, and fill our own cup up (so to speak), so that we will then have something to give to others. We are able to empathise with others, but not to the point that other peoples’ needs obscure our own and we stop caring for ourselves.
Here are some of the signs that your heart chakra is underactive:
1. You devalue others and/or yourself
A person with a healthy heart chakra sees the inherent value and worthiness in human beings — both herself and others. She does not devalue herself or question her own worth, and she does not act like others need to prove their worth to her, before she will treat them with respect or care.
She sees the humanity in others, and is able to honour it.
Sometimes this devaluing may be aimed at a particular group of people, such as a particular ethnicity or sexual orientation, or a group of people who ascribe to a particular set of political or religious beliefs.
Devaluing others is a behaviour that is practised by bullies and abusers, but it doesn’t only come from people who habitually behave badly. Some people can feel this way about themselves and others (i.e. secretly believe people are shit and humanity is a worthless scourge on the planet) but keep it to themselves and go through the motions of being a loving person, yet feel another way entirely.
So, a hefty dose of cynicism (and not just as a one off, but rather as an ongoing way of looking at the world and other people) is another indicator that your heart chakra is out of balance.
Now let’s look at the second indication that your heart chakra is underactive:
2. You’re emotionally unavailable and inaccessible, to others and to yourself
Being emotionally unavailable means you don’t like to be too aware of your own emotions, or share them with others.
If you try to notice how you’re feeling, you may actually not be able to access what it is you’re feeling on an emotional level. You may find it quite difficult to cry and you could be someone who represses their emotions.
You may also be someone who does not like to consult with your emotional aspect (i.e. how you feel about things) when making decisions and choices. You may denigrate emotions, see them as irrational or feel that in an ideal world, the heart should hold little sway over our decisions.
3. You don’t believe in healing, or you’re unable to heal
Another sign of an underactive heart chakra is if you have gone through a tragedy, heartbreak or trauma, and you cannot heal from it. Instead, you have become bitter or broken. You may also harbour fantasies of revenge.
Maybe you don’t believe in healing, and you have no faith in the people who help others to heal, such as psychologists.
You may feel bitter towards people who haven’t known the pain you have. You could be bitter about life and the forces of fate that led you to the place of experiencing something difficult.
This is a kind of emotional ‘stuckness’ that is common among those who have underactive heart chakras.
If you resonated with more than one of the signs explained above, it’s likely your heart chakra is underactive.
Now, let’s look at the common reasons for the heart chakra being underactive.
We live in a capitalistic and (historically) patriarchal culture where we are trained to put aside how we feel, in order to get the job done.
In many businesses today there is not enough of a human element. Roughly 1 in 5 CEO’s exhibit psychopathic traits (a psychopath is a prime example of someone with a shut down heart chakra). Capitalism rewards psychopathy (aka an extremely underactive heart chakra.)
Capitalism is bad for the heart chakra because it also teaches us that we have worth so long as we’re producing. And those who do not have resources are worth less than those who do.
In addition to all of this, men are told that it’s not OK for them to be in touch with their emotions or cry, because it detracts from their masculinity.
So, there are many cultural influences that encourage heart chakra shut down.
Another common reason for heart chakra shutdown and underactivity, is when a person has been through a trauma (and by trauma I mean an event that was life threatening or that the person perceived as life threatening), and it went unhealed and unwitnessed.
When we go through something difficult, it is important for the healing process that the trauma gets witnessed by someone compassionate.
This could be a friend or family member, or a therapist who can listen to what happened and empathise with our negative feelings about it. Being listened to can also help us to sort through our memories and make a coherent story out of what happened — a story that makes sense.
But in the absence of someone who can witness what happened to us, the heart chakra feels the negative effects.
It can be quite difficult to be sensitive towards other peoples’ emotional needs and emotions, if no-one has witnessed our own.
Growing up with insensitive caregivers
And even worse, if a person is raised by harsh, uncompassionate parents, and is told to suck it up, that their feelings don’t matter, and it’s not OK to feel how they feel, that person is probably going to find it hard to exercise emotional sensitivity with others, because they haven’t had it from their care-givers. The psychologist Alice Miller calls this state ‘emotional blindness’. If no-one has ever witnessed our emotions, we are going to be emotionally blind and indifferent to the pain of others.
Sometimes people who went through experiences like these in early childhood (so kids who grew up with brutal and harsh parents) can be so damaged by that, that they grow up to be psychopaths or with narcissistic personality disorder. These disorders, on an energetic level, correspond to an underactive (and shutdown) heart chakra, where the person has shut down the energy that would normally run through the heart chakra.
Underactive solar plexus
Another possible cause of an underactive heart chakra is when the solar plexus is underactive.
When the solar plexus chakra is underactive, it means that we have inadequate boundaries i.e. we are not keeping out what we don’t want, and allowing in what we do want, into our lives. So when we are in that space, there’s all kinds of things coming in that we don’t want. And from there, it’s hard to open up on the level of the emotions and the heart chakra.
Now let’s look at how we can balance an underactive heart chakra:
If you feel your solar plexus chakra is underactive, work on that first, because that can cause heart chakra under-activity.
Another good way to balance the heart chakra is to heal trauma or go into psychotherapy. I am starting to sound like a broken record here, because this is a recommendation I have made for many of the chakras where they are out of balance, but the fact is that traumas knock our whole energy system out of balance. Some chakras feel it more than others, but healing trauma is probably the best way to resolve under-activity in the chakras, and in particular the heart chakra. I won’t go into how to approach that issue in this article but I wrote an article on the topic here: How to Heal Traumatic Stress.
An excellent way to resolve under activity in the heart chakra is to get in touch with your emotions. One way to do this is to journal about how you feel on a regular basis, and not being afraid to express strong negative emotions in your journalling.
Another way to do it would be to use Michaela Boehm’s Non Linear Movement Method, which is a somatic emotional release modality, where you dance what you are feeling. She gives instructions for that in her book ‘The Wild Woman’s Way’.
Brene Brown’s books on vulnerability (‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ & ‘The Power of Vulnerability’) may also be helpful for some people with a heart chakra underactivity.
My Chakra Meditation Kit also teaches you to diagnose imbalances in the chakra system, cleanse your entire chakra system, and resolve imbalances.