The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. ~Doctrine & Covenants 18:10
We often hear, “you can’t take it with you” when referring to the funds we have accrued by the end of life. However, this is not true of the wealth of the soul; everything we’ve “earned” in our lifetime accumulates throughout our eternal evolution. In fact, our human journey is specifically designed for us to improve in each step of life, otherwise we must learn the lessons all over again during this lifetime and all that follow. In other words, we DO take everything we’ve learned with us as our abundance of wisdom grows.
Wealth is not measured by money when it comes to the soul. Our internal wealth is far more valuable; a lack of self-worth is the worst affliction of the human condition—we can feel no poorer than to We feel rich when our lives are aligned and we feel empty or poor when something is missing. We feel like we’ve gained something when we learn or overcome a life lesson and experience a “deficit” when something is incomplete. We feel more whole when we accomplish something we’ve been working toward and “less than” or insufficient when we fall short of our expectations or goals.
I wouldn’t have created the concept of soul health without scraping the bottom of my own vault of life. I wouldn’t have known what it felt like—or how to heal—had I not experienced my own serious deficit of the soul.
What many don’t know or would even believe is that I had terrible (and I mean TERRIBLE!) self-esteem as a young person. My first glimpse started in the fourth grade when I went through an awkward growth spurt and gained a bit of weight. I “thickened” in the middle despite the fact that I was active as a kid. I thinned out again as my height shot up and I continued to grow to the point that I towered over most of the boys in my class. By the 7th grade I was already 5’7 feet tall. I grew to almost 5’9 by freshman year. Typical pants didn’t fit and our family didn’t have the money to buy trendy brands so I felt awkward and out of place. In high school, I never fit in because I didn’t enjoy the activities that attracted most people my age. I didn’t listen to rock music, favoring more mellow tunes. I didn’t party ‘til I puked, which was the thing to do in my class. My home life felt different because my father was disabled from an accident he had when I was nine. My parents were also much older than the parents of my friends so we didn’t do the “cool stuff” that others seemed to do (vacations, large family gatherings, parties, etc.). One of my brothers had a knack for bullying and made every negative comment he could about my appearance or weight, which does very little to help build self-esteem. Possibly because of this, I was also more interested in doing well in school than in finding the latest hairstyle or hanging out with boys.
It didn’t help that a high school coach “groomed” me (a term used when an adult builds trust in a young person so they can later manipulate them) then sexually abused me, which often happens to youth who lack self-worth. The coach was a woman, which only added to my confusion at the time. Once I realized what was happening I got out of the situation but, like many I didn’t feel I could tell anyone what had occurred. I hid my depression and lack of self-worth because emotion wasn’t allowed in my family. I went further and further into my funk as my soul was buried under the ever-depleting human condition.
When I look back, things didn’t start to turn around until I got my first “real” job as an office manager of an insurance agency. I was hired just before graduating from high school and worked throughout my undergraduate education. This gave me a little financial freedom to do more of what I wanted and allowed me to pay for my schooling since my parents couldn’t afford to help. That job probably saved my life because it gave me the opportunity to gain confidence I wouldn’t have had by doing what everyone else had done—moving away to college. I would have felt even more out of place among those with which I already didn’t fit. The job also gave me the freedom to buy not only a car to assist in my freedom, but also helped me purchase inspirational and self-help books to start the journey to what I would later call soul health.
Before college, my internal bank felt completely in the red. By the end of that step in my education, I had accrued enough personal equity to move 800 miles away to attend graduate school, not knowing a soul where I had moved. I also knew the move would give me even more freedom to heal the wounds that drained my resources.
Once settled, I immediately started therapy, wrote in a journal almost daily, learned to release and heal the emotions that had been stored for so long and explored spirituality beyond what I had been taught through the Catholic religion. My world opened up and as I healed and refilled the deep crevasse of my soul, I finally realized I was worth it. Both my challenges and my evolution beyond them set the foundation for where I am today—able to assist others on their soul’s evolutionary path. The more I cleaned out my wounds, the more I filled up on life; I finally found “me”.
Russell M. Nelson said, “Spirit and body, when joined together, become a living soul of supernal worth.” After years of both human and soul-healing work I realized I was becoming whole. My dismal life became bright. I cleared the rubble of my human experience and filled my tank just by being and honoring me—the true essence of who I was, not the burdened and wounded being I had become.
The dictionary uses the words “whole” and “health” interchangeably. When I first created my holistic health model I called it the “Whole Health Model” because at the time I focused primarily on the various aspects of the human condition that need to be healed and balanced to live a healthy life. The soul came in when I realized the essence of who we are is what generates the will to overcome our wounds and challenges. I also realized that it was the deepest of wounds that needed to be healed to really experience a more radiant life. What was once the “Whole Health Model” soon became the Soul Health Model. I understand and teach the concept because my own soul knows what it feels like to hardly exist.
The wealth of our soul has much more to do with how we feel inside than about what actual money can buy. Billy Graham said, “Suppose you could gaineverything in the whole world, and lost your soul. Was it worth it?” The research is clear that lotto winners may feel temporary relief when their financial stressors are lightened, but any unaddressed anxiety, depression or trauma remain. It is also common for individuals who live in impoverished conditions to still experience great joy. This is why the practice of gratitude is essential to well-being.
Just today, I spoke to a soul-healing client about the flow of her soul. She sought my assistance in helping her identify her soul’s purpose and path now that she is approaching a key juncture of her life. She spoke of a difficult upbringing, marital difficulties and many other challenges to her human condition. However, she also recognized what she had overcome. I helped her see that her soul was ready to truly find her life purpose, having cleaned out the wounds of times past. We discussed the fact that few can find their soul’s purpose as long as the human condition is in the way. I made suggestions for how to release the remnants and residue that were left behind to fully embrace the light of her soul. It is this light that brightens the path to her true calling.
It seems cliché to say that you have to clean out before you can fill up because I’ve said this so many times. I’m living proof, as is every other person who has overcome difficulty in their lives. I’m no different than anyone else, other than that my own soul (and sole!) purpose was revealed in creating tools to help others find theirs through the concept of Soul Health.
What can you do to improve your internal wealth? What stands in the way of embracing the beauty and light of who you are?
At this point in my life, I can’t tolerate darkness—I can’t stand anything that diminishes the light of my soul. I no longer remember how bad I felt as a child or teen because I’ve reacquainted myself with my inner ally. We are now the best of friends, although there’s always more to heal and learn.
In my book, Soul Health, I say, “To know your soul is to know true health. Only then can you reach radiant living.” We all deserve to shine as brightly as our souls can stand.
What will you do to remember and refill your soul today? What investment will you make in your internal wealth?