If I could, I’d tell you the secrets that would light your heart forever. I would say them soft and slow to get you to lean in and listen closely.

If I could tell you exactly how to make the most out of your life, I’d ask how you’d be living today if you knew that your grand adventure started the day you were born. (Because it did.)

I’d tell you that everything you’ve ever wanted to be is in the process of becoming, and I’d offer you this gentle reminder: acceptance of now, of you and things as they are, imperfections and all, is what allows for the change you seek. It’s the great paradox of life.

I’d tell you that daydreaming is vital to your health. Our dreams are the unifying force that ties all the little moments together. It’s the dreams that give us the nudge when it’s time for a big push. They point us home when we’re lost.

I would tell you to dream freely and often, but I’d say this, too: Trust that you will be okay no matter what.

If I could tell you how love works, I’d first remind you to love yourself as much as you wish to be loved.

Even if you’ve failed. Even if you’re alone. Even if you’re nowhere near who/what/where you thought you’d be by now. Maybe even especially then.

Because in the end, how you love is how you love. 

I’d tell you that love is part loving and part allowing yourself to be loved, and both take courage.

If I could tell you the secret to happiness, real happiness, I’d start here: what you say, do, and practice day in and day out makes a difference.

Even the baby steps.

I’d say that money well-spent can help fund happiness, but never completely. That relationships can nurture your spirit and enrich your life, but not without you receiving your own love first. That liking what you see in the mirror can boost your confidence, but only if you can first like who you see.

I’d let you know that gratitude and optimism are excellent to practice. But still…if you’re crying, then cry. If you’re hurting, then hurt. If you’ve lost, then grieve. Honor where you are and know that you will one day thank today and look forward to tomorrow again.

If I could tell you everything you’d ever need to know to find lasting peace, I’d start here:

Getting through the longest night isn’t about outrunning the dark but finding a light to hold on to until the morning. @ralph_leslie (Click to Tweet!)

I’d tell you that when you’re stuck or blocked or resisting, fear is nearly always behind it. The way through is love. With love comes softness, openness, compassion, patience, honesty.

I’d say that the thing that hurts also holds the key to healing.

If I could teach you what it means to be present, I’d have you place your hands over your heart and just breathe for as long as it takes to come back to your body. I’d tell you how to hold on while letting go.

If I could draw a map that would lead you home whenever you get lost, there’d only be an arrow pointing back to you. And if you’d believe me, I’d tell you how very strong you are. You are magic embodied.

If I could tell you everything all at once, it would be this:

There’s a universe in you waiting to reveal life’s greatest mysteries, love’s most precious secrets, and the keys to liberation. And that because they are already inside of you, I don’t really need to tell you anything.

Leslie Ralph is a psychologist, writer, and artist who hopes to leave the world a little brighter than she found it. Her people are creative spirits, soul-searchers, and big-hearted dreamers that crave love and peace, inside and out. Download her free ritual for receiving for inviting in more love, peace, and healing so you can remember your true gifts and do real, good work for this world. You can follow Leslie on Facebook or Instagram.

Image courtesy of Milada Vigerova