Compassion: Heal Shame & Transform Anger
Transforming Anger through Compassion
If we compare each of the seven chakras to different elements and images, the Solar Plexus, also known as the Manipura Chakra (meaning “City of Jewels”) can be considered the fireplace in the center of a home. Like a fireplace, it must be slowly kindled and built-up to provide just the right amount of warmth, light, and energy to the rest of the structure.
When the Manipura Chakra is in balance, we possess vitality, motivation, and a playful ability to laugh at ourselves. We live with authenticity and can make decisions confidently and with assurance.
An imbalance in the Manipura Chakra manifests as a lack of purpose, discipline, inability to make or stand by decisions, and a propensity to avoid anything challenging or unfamiliar. Other signs of imbalance include bullying, manipulation, and overreacting.
Working through anger and shame and finding the will to live for oneself are essential to strengthening Manipura.
Find your Center
The Manipura Chakra is located in the center of the spinal column and right above the belly button, encompassing the entire region between the navel and sternum.
Trusting one’s instincts and making decisions based on gut feelings are signs of a strong Manipura.
If the function of the second chakra is to get in touch with our feelings and reactions to situations, the Manipura Chakra provides the follow-through to transform situations.
Once we are clear about what is, has been, and where we would like to go moving forward, we can direct our will to make the most of the present with purpose and direction.
Unprocessed anger compels us to do things against our true will, knocking us off center. As a result, we harm ourselves or others without realizing what we are doing until it is too late.
Anger is often a defense mechanism to cover up feelings of insecurity, powerlessness, sadness, and neediness. As a result, emotions such as depression, anxiety, and fear are often avoided, while anger is more socially accepted and makes us feel powerful in the moment. Compassion is unconditional self-acceptance that transcends anger and other unpleasant emotions, before they get out of hand.
True strength lies in compassion, and it is easier to cultivate compassion when we do things that empower us.
1. Increase physical strength and energy through exercise.
It goes without saying, but one way to feel more powerful is to build up your physical container. Strengthening the body and engaging in activities that make us feel alive can help boost self-esteem and confidence. Jogging, dancing, martial arts, and abdominal exercises are some great ways to fire up the core.
Ashtanga Yoga is a rigorous but invigorating discipline that emphasizes cultivating the fire, or Tapas in our being, by continuously practicing until it gets easier. Mastering physical practice and strengthening the body allows us to sit still so that we can access our upper chakras and experience concentration, meditation, and self-realization.
When you feel angry and powerless, show yourself compassion and acknowledge how you feel. Channel your anger through a physical practice that makes you feel powerful and forgive yourself if you are not where you want to be.
2. Be mindful of what you eat and how your body digests certain foods.
Anatomically, the Manipura Chakra corresponds to the digestive system, adrenals, and stomach. This is the Chakra responsible for processing, metabolism, and digestion. Just as our bodies break down food, we mentally process experiences and derive meaning from them, allowing us to choose what actions to take going forward.
Whenever we overeat at one time or consume food that does not digest easily, we weigh ourselves down. Digestion requires a great deal of energy, so eating too much can zap our cognition and willpower. As our willpower depletes we often make decisions that aren’t in alignment with our true will. Eating foods that are heavy and hard to digest causes sluggishness, brain fog, and fatigue. Eating nutritious food that digests easily helps sustain energy.
You may have heard the gut referred to as the second brain. The food we eat affects the bacteria in our gut (the microbiome) which handle synthesizing neurotransmitters in our brain. Neurotransmitters like Serotonin and Dopamine affect our levels of motivation, ability to respond to people and situations calmly, as well as our ability to solve problems.
Developing a consistent eating schedule can help regulate blood sugar levels and metabolism. Eating larger meals earlier in the day, when digestion is at its peak, and avoiding eating too late at night are recommended practices for balancing the Manipura Chakra—take care of your tummy.
3. Gather information and gain new skills.
Knowledge is power. Learning and gathering information helps one build up personal power that has been depleted. Staying ignorant and closed off to new information keeps us in a state of blaming others and expecting them to create our happiness.
Refining our skills grants self-confidence and empowers us. The more knowledgeable and skilled at something we are, the more control we have in challenging situations.
For example, if I get a flat tire and I have some knowledge about how to fix the problem, I can handle it without needing others and will feel more capable if something goes wrong. On the contrary, if I don’t have any clue what to do, I will feel fearful if I get a flat and lose my center.
Next time you feel anxious and out of control, remind yourself that you are smart, capable, and have the tools necessary to pull yourself out of any sticky situation.
4. Laugh and find humor in situations.
Blaming people for our problems takes the power out of our hands and gives it to others. While people may do things that make us angry or hurt us, we have control over how we channel those feelings and respond. We can choose strength and compassion over harming others or ourselves when we feel hurt.
When we are stressed out, we can take ourselves too seriously and get frustrated if things don’t go our way. Look for the humor in situations and remind yourself that it’s okay if things don’t go exactly how you want them to. Sometimes we cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond, which in turn affects our self-image.
Instead of trying to control life or the people around you, take control of your emotions by watching a funny movie or some stand-up comedy. Be around people who make you laugh and remind you not to take life so seriously. Laughing moves energy into the belly and raises one’s frequency.
5. Get clear about your desires, dreams, and goals. Let go of anything or anyone that weighs you down and drains your energy.
Sometimes we give our energy and time to people or situations that do not replenish us in return. This could include putting energy into goals that are not manifesting or leading to fulfillment. If we are trying to increase vitality, then it makes sense that we may need to let go of what weighs us down and makes us feel uninspired, dull, or stuck.
Evaluate how your job, relationships, and hobbies make you feel at the end of the day. Does something feel like a dead end, or is there just a momentary challenge? Challenges lead to growth and confidence, while dead end situations lead to stagnation and burnout.
Finally, ask yourself whether your goals are really meaningful to you or if you’re trying to live up to societal expectations or standards. Trying to achieve a certain goal or way of life based on someone else’s definition of success will actually weaken the will by zapping energy that could be used elsewhere.
Through recognizing our gut responses to situations over time, we can use intelligence to perceive the correct path to take in life. The purpose of the will is to follow that path. When we follow-through with willpower, we build self-discipline. Through self-discipline, we hone our skills and form the foundation for self-esteem.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself in situations that are unfamiliar or challenging. This puts you in the moment and increases vitality. Rising to meet new challenges each day is a task of this Chakra. Think about how empowering it feels to do something scary and how daring situations charge your body with energy and aliveness. Being in unfamiliar territory gets us out of our heads and into our bodies.
How often do we approach our responsibilities with the thought, “I have to do this”, rather than “I get/ want to do this”? This chakra comes into play when talking about to-do lists, goals, and responsibilities. Developing the will and energy to devote time to personally meaningful projects is the key to living with vitality and power.
Shame zaps our vitality and self-confidence and is often caused by experiences that humiliated us and made us feel powerless. If shame is holding you back from feeling worthy of the life you want to create, imagine a situation from your past where you felt embarrassed. Close your eyes and imagine you are sitting with your younger self and show some compassion. Acknowledge that you did the best you could, and you do not need to hold on to shame. Whatever happened is in the past, and each moment you have a chance to start fresh. Power lies in the present moment.
Practicing compassion is the key to reclaiming your center and living with personal power. Be gentle when you make mistakes, and lovingly remind yourself that you have the capacity to solve problems.
About the Author:
Renee Williamson is a Blog Writer for The Love Yourself Foundation. A New Orleans nativeshe currently resides in Austin, TX and works in Green Construction. She has a degree in Psychology and has studied and taught Yoga for the past 2 years. Renee enjoys traveling, hiking, dancing, cooking, reading, watching movies, and going to live performances of any kind. She believes nature is medicine and that respect for Mother Earth fosters self-respect and love for all.