To deal with this lack of love, we create coping strategies that either close the heart or overcompensate. When we close our hearts, we respond to wounds of love by withdrawing. As a result of pain, the heart makes its love conditional. It wants to receive before giving—because at its core, the heart feels depleted. The child who was not met with empathy has difficulties empathizing with others. Or one may be critical and judgmental, driving others away. In intimate relationships, people with a deficient heart energy are often the ones walking away in order to avoid getting hurt. The deficient heart at its core feels unlovable and lonely.
Where the deficient heart chakra is the result of an avoidant response to too little love, the compensating heart chakra overcompensates in an attempt to fulfill its needs. It uses love excessively to get one’s own need for love met. We overcompensate because of our own subconscious feeling of lack. This compensation strategy has a compulsive need to fixate on others. It takes care of others almost obsessively from our own denied needs for such care. This coping strategy creates dependency and codependency. Love is like a drug whose high keeps one away from one’s unresolved pain.
Neither the avoidant nor the compensation strategy leads to a fulfilled heart. They block the natural flow of giving and receiving. The previous closes us off from love altogether, while the latter obsessively seeks love through the other. We could say that symptoms of an avoidant strategy often manifest as a lack of love for others, while those of a compensating strategy manifest as a lack of love for oneself. Both stem from a feeling of lack of love, and neither strategy manages to fuel the heart with actual love.
Healing the heart is a gentle process that can not be forced. We cannot force the heart to open—and neither can we decide to suddenly have a stable inner source of love. The heart thrives on compassion and gentleness. When the heart feels safe and the conditions are right—this is the area where we can do our healing work—the heart will begin to go through its natural cycle of healing and blossoming.