The most important lesson of my life has been that I can only experience as much good in life as I allow. Plain and simple.

This isn’t how I’ve always operated.

I used to be the one with the detailed plan, every nuance perfectly analyzed. I thought that if I could just get it all right, nail down all the little pieces and keep them exactly as I wanted them, I’d finally be, have, and feel all that I ever wanted.

I was very much an I’ll be happy when kind of gal.

It worked for a while, too. I’d check my boxes, have a little victory party, and then move on to the next “when.”

Still, it didn’t last. And that’s what I wanted. Lasting joy, real freedom, deep confidence. But it was always a matter of when.

For a long time, I looked outside of myself for these things. Everywhere, really. In my clothes, physical appearance, job, the perfectly kept house. To my dismay, what I wanted was never there, or at least not for long.

What I didn’t see was what I was and was not allowing into my life.

I wanted freedom but allowed force.

I craved abundance but allowed lack.

I desired joy but allowed disappointment.

And all the while, I was never successful enough, kind enough, generous enough, gentle enough, smart enough.

The conversation between me and myself went something like, “This isn’t right. This isn’t what you want. But who do you think you are for wanting what you want anyway?”

This was not what I was going for, but the most troubling thing was that this wasn’t me. Not the real me.

How had I come so far from who I really was?

It’s clear to me now that I wasn’t allowing the joy in.

Thankfully, joy has a way of seeping in even when it isn’t allowed. It snuck in through the afternoon sun and my children’s laughter. It waited for me at the park and in music.

It asked to be let in a little bit every day, waiting for me to be ready for it.

One day, I saw things as they really are: It’s not there, it’s here! If you don’t allow the joy in, how can you ever expect to get any joy out of life? And how can you ever let your joy out?

Mind. Blown.

I saw that my outer judgments mirrored my inner judgment. My ability to appreciate what was outside of me was limited by my ability to love myself. The goodness I allowed into my life was determined by how much goodness I gave myself permission to see within me.

I looked around my life with fresh eyes and saw with bittersweet clarity that it is beautiful. How could I not see how much magic surrounded me? How much of what I desired had been in my hands all along?

I decided that feeling, doing, being, and experiencing what I want started right here, within me. So, I came back home.

One choice at a time, I allowed the joy in.

One tiny epiphany at a time, I allowed the truth in.

One breath at a time, I allowed the freedom in.

It happened in little ways like drawing with my kids or filling a composition book with poetry. And then, the most amazing things began to happen.

Ideas bubbled up so quickly I could hardly capture them all, there was so much to appreciate every day, and I went to bed excited for what the next day would bring.

Today, my motto is let the light in to let your light out. I don’t know the details of how any of this will turn out, but it’s not about the details. The details aren’t my department anyway.

If my story resonates with you, maybe you’ve been looking everywhere for what you want when it really begins right there, within you.

It’s true, there’s a ton of good stuff out there, but having what you really want starts inside. That dream you have, that joyous and free version of you, they’re always in the process of becoming – if you’ll allow it.

So, allow the joy to flow through you now. Even if you don’t have the details lined up.

Allow what is light and good and true fill you up.

Allow yes.

And allow for exactly what you want.

Because it’s by allowing the good in that we get more goodness out of life. This is how we find our purpose, make magic, and light up the world. @ralph_leslie (Click to Tweet!)

Leslie Ralph writes words and creates art for soul-searchers, deep feelers, and big-hearted dreamers that crave inner peace and inner truth. She reminds them that lightness is like oxygen for your soul and that when you let go, your hands are open to receive. Download her free ritual for receiving to bring true healing, inner peace, and lasting joy into your life: You can follow Leslie on Facebook or Instagram.

Image courtesy of Tobi.