Love is better with two, right? The thing is, unless you love yourself first, loving someone else well can be difficult - and frankly disappointing! Learning to show empathy while having healthy boundaries, and to self-soothe, are important parts of human development that many people miss out on.
Even reading the words 'love yourself' can be unsettling, especially if you grew up being expected to serve and be 'humble'. Not learning how to give love to your own self though can lead to a feeling of emptiness that never really goes away, and a scarcity mindset around love - that there's not enough, that you can give too much, that your cup won't ever be full.
If this resonates, read on for a deep dive on the Heart chakra and pick up three fresh ways you can care for your own need for love and relationship in a completely healthy and independent way.
To step back a moment, in case you're new to these parts, I see Chakra system as a beautiful memorable framework for understanding and supporting our holistic human needs. It speaks to our most basic survival requirements - oxygen water food - through to our need for independence, self-expression, and connection to the higher power. Chakras come from ancient Indian traditions and are thought to nest on key points of the body - along major organs and nerve bundles etc. The heart chakra rests in the centre of your chest at heart level. It's where people will often instinctively put their hands if something wonderful or scary happens! It is traditionally represented by the colours green and pink and to relate to the element Air.
Being the middle primary chakra, the heart is seen as the bridge connecting our physical lower chakra needs with the less tangible concerns of the higher chakras. In a similar sense, the heart is also a balancing point between our individual needs and the needs other people have of us in relationships.
When our heart centre is flowing well we're able to give and receive love freely. We feel empathy for other beings, and at the same time have healthy boundaries so that our giving is healthy both for ourselves and for the recipient. That is, we don't need to control or manipulate to get our needs met. We'll also have a good level of self-knowledge, seeing ourselves clearly with our strengths and shortcomings.
Every chakra moves in and out of alignment at times. When the heart centre is not flowing nicely, symptoms include feeling restless, unable or unwilling to trust people, impatience and irritability, and problems with empathy - either caring too much and when it's not safe or appropriate, or not feeling as empathic as we should.
Whenever we argue or experience discord in relationships be they with family friends or spouses, especially where nothing is resolved, these emotions may get trapped and create disturbances in the Heart chakra.
But don't worry, even if the other party won't meet you halfway, there are things you can do to get your Heart back on an even keel.
1) Get out your essential oils and do 7 minutes of mindful breathing.
Increasing your air intake through deep rhythmic breathing helps regulate stress hormones calming the fight or flight instinct. Download a brilliant app called The Breathing App by Eddie Stern, and notice how quickly 7 minutes of breathing in and out for the count of four zips by! Even better if you use essential oils as well - they possess a unique ability to transport a person from unhelpful states of mind into more positive, capable ones. My all-time favourite is Sandalwood because it is deeply calming and seems to benefit all chakras, but others that balance the Heart chakra include Sweet Basil, Peppermint, Lime, and Rose or Geranium. Literally, all you need to do is open the bottle and breathe... does it get any easier?
2) Stream of consciousness writing. If you've had a run-in with someone and it's got you feeling down, grab some paper and let it flow... without censoring or stopping. How do you feel? What happened? What were your expectations and how were they responded to? What did you want to see happen? What was your part in the disagreement and what would you do or say differently next time?
Pouring it out of your body and mind and onto paper will help you get it out of your system instead of keeping everything bottled up. Plus, it creates an opportunity to reflect on it a day or two later and decide how much of what you were feeling can be fully let go of, and what parts you may need to take action on.
3) Use jewellery to keep your Heart-related intention front and centre. It's so easy to lose sight of things we mean to do for ourselves especially when we're busy, and especially if we're the type of people who were trained to care for everyone and everything else first. (Can I get an amen?!)
Crystals in green and pink colours like Rose Quartz, apple green Chrysophrase, <-Phrenite, Pink Opal, Rhodochrosite, Watermelon Tourmaline are linked with the Heart chakra. And jewellery is an excellent way to keep crystals close to your body without effort.
Once you've set your intention to the piece, it will remind you each time you notice it that you want to breathe air deep into your lungs and heart daily; that you want to get outside into nature and see the trees. No guilt, no emotional drama, just an invitation to give yourself some love, because your needs matter too.
We all know the saying "you can't pour from an empty cup". But it's remarkable how long we persist trying to do just that!
If you need encouragement today to jump off the hamster wheel and spend some time making yourself feel human again, here it is... go DO IT.
People might complain initially but they will soon realise that a happier, less stressed-out you is better for them too. And if they don't... well that could be a sign they need to play a smaller part in your life, but that's a conversation for another day!
If you try any of these ideas let me know how you find them! These are techniques I swear by and I know they'll help you too ---- when you take action :)
PS: if you don't find 'the one' in store and want to commission a custom design, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I'll send you the Custom Design Kit and we can collaborate to bring your ideal piece to life X