Balancing your heart chakra requires you to embrace the light & dark within to live a more authentic life. Accepting all aspects of ourselves — the light and the dark, the past and the present — clears and integrates the pieces of us that made us who we are today.  When our heart chakra is balanced, we operate from a higher global perspective. It’s not about what’s in it for me; it’s about what can I give, how can I serve? 

The heart chakra serves as the mystical meeting space between our lower, more physical chakras and our upper, more spiritual ones. Our heart chakra is all about having equality in relationships, having compassion for ourselves and others, seeking cooperation, justice and truth. When we are operating from our heart chakra, we are connecting with ourselves and those we love from a more global perspective; we are looking to take care of each other and to see humanity evolve. As humans, we need love, we need acceptance and it has to start from within. Balance of the heart chakra is found when we integrate our light (love & happiness) with our shadow (shame & guilt) and we begin to love ourselves as a whole complete person.

A good example of interacting with the world with an imbalanced vs balanced heart chakra

Imbalanced: you are often focused on what’s in it for me. How can I benefit from this interaction? You often make decisions from a state of needing something

Balanced: You approach life with a service mindset. You live from a heart-centered space of open love and compassion, you observe from your heart space and you say, “Who am I aligned with? Who can I help? What actions will benefit all involved?”

When we are operating from our heart chakra, we seek to turn conflict into peace, we work to turn self-focus into service to others, and we strive to see the web of connection that beautifully links all of us together. Mind you, we still have to have healthy boundaries and take care to move certain individuals farther out on our intricate web of connection while bringing others closer to the center point — the heart point. This mindset shift from self to collective reveals that it’s not about how am I different but how am I the same; how am I connected; how can we help each other evolve? 

Our heart chakra really starts to develop at a very young and impressionable age. We begin to understand love, connection, and relationships when we are only about three and a half to seven years old. Before three and a half, we are still learning to control our bodily functions, how to somewhat regulate our emotions, what yes and no mean; we are learning all aspects of human communication. Between three and a half and seven years old, however, we start to learn how we receive love. This perception of love is greatly impacted by those around us, typically our family, parents, siblings, etc. We may learn to receive love by being helpful or quiet, by being funny, smart, or athletic. And because we are still learning what love is at this very young age, we often start to think that we are only loved as a result of the things we do. We may start to internalize the idea that if someone doesn’t give us enough praise or attention it means, “I am not loveable, I am not heard, I am not seen.”

It is at this point in our lives that we start to develop a protective mask. Before three and a half to four years old, we show up authentically, do what we want to do, and love ourselves exactly as we are. After the age of about three and a half, we start to understand that we are expected to behave in certain ways in social settings. We start to comprehend the need to act a certain way to be accepted or to not get into trouble. We start to develop belief systems around love and how we need to show up in the world…and as a result, we start to disconnect our authentic self from this public persona, this mask, this actor that we become. Our masks do serve a very real and helpful purpose, they even protect us to a degree. If, however, we as adults want to develop true, intimate relationships with each other and form deep authentic connections with our friends/family/lovers/kids, we cannot operate from a place of masks. We have to embrace our shadows, remove our masks, and let people see us for who we are.

Many adults will spend years learning to unpack and unfold their false and limiting beliefs around love. Being gracious and loving yourself through the unpacking of the limiting beliefs you developed as a young child is incredibly important. Reconnecting with absolute truth, the universe, your higher power, and the serenity of unconditional love, however hard it may be to work towards, does promise that we will feel supported, seen, heard, and loved for exactly who we are. When we heal ourselves, change ourselves, and open our hearts it allows us to love ourselves, to open up to others, to love our kids, partners, and friends unconditionally. By reconnecting, we heal generations, change family ties, and no longer pass on shadows that were passed on to us. We say, “No! This stops here. We are done with this.”…whatever this is for you specifically. 

When you’re truly balanced in your heart chakra, you embody love and compassion; you are able to look up to your third eye and see things from a higher perspective. You can check in with your solar plexus below and think, “Oh I need to have a boundary here” or, “No, this is a trust issue so I need to work through it.” You can really discern the information that is coming in. As we work towards true balance, we learn to discharge or recharge our heart chakra. If we have too much heart energy we’ve been holding on to, we may feel jealous, have poor boundaries, act possessive, or clingy. To discharge the heart chakra, you can use a combination of breath-work, yoga, Reiki, intuitive energy healing, or life coaching to help work through the energy buildup and restore balance. The key is that we want to be self-loving, we want to have an open heart chakra, but we also want to have clear boundaries and genuine discernment. 

One of the things that have a direct impact on the balance of the heart chakra is grief. There are many layers to grief and many emotions to process as a result of it: fear, guilt, anger, denial, acceptance. Grief comes about when we had a strong bond to something or someone and the presence of that thing or person becomes an absence. We have to learn to live life, learn to love, learn to be without what was once there. Grief is heavy. The heart chakra is all about air and free-moving energy. When we carry grief with us, its heaviness is in direct opposition to the heart chakra’s natural state. If you’ve ever had one of those ugly cry moments where you completely surrender to grief, you understand just how heavy grief is. Embracing grief by sitting with it is physically and emotionally exhausting, BUT it also feels so much better, so much lighter, once you’ve done so. This speaks perfectly to the integration we seek to achieve within the heart chakra. It’s about embracing the shadow and the light within us. It’s like when you used to go for a job interview and they would ask about your strengths and weaknesses. Light and shadow integration takes the interview analogy to the extreme, but it really is all about embracing the things we love about ourselves and have pride in [our light], as well as the things we hide from our self and others out of shame or guilt [our shadow]. Integration is found when we balance our light and shadow and we love ourselves as a whole, complete person. Our shadows are merely a reflection of our wounded inner-child, our rebellious inner-teenager acting out, our young-adult-self experiencing rejection at work or in love, etc.  Accepting all aspects of ourselves — the light and the dark, the past and the present — clears and integrates the pieces of us that made us who we are today. 

The thing about the shadow is that it just needs light. WE need love, we need acceptance, we need light! 

If you enjoyed this article and are ready to explore balancing your heart chakra by integrating your light & shadow, reach out. Self-care is of the utmost importance to your overall wellness. Audrey Parker, Reiki Master, Intuitive Energy Healer & Quantum Light Coach provided the eloquent insight for this article and is a part of the holistic wellness team at the Kansas City Wellness Club. You can book your Energy Healing session with Audrey online, over the phone, or in person. Each Energy Healing session includes Aromatherapy, Guided Meditation, and Reiki energy work to balance your chakras, remove cords or attachments, and cleanse your emotional and/or physical body. After your session, we invite you to reflect on the experience you’ve shared and further strengthen your sense of balance by spending some integration time in the KC Wellness Club Steam Bath and/or Sauna. Group classes and couple’s energy healing sessions are also available.