Are YOU the One Holding Yourself Back?

limiting beliefs surf graphic

I’m not the type of person who’d be good at playing ukulele and covering my favorite songs. I’m not a sporty, adrenaline chasing girl who’d be into surfing. I’m not a New Age, woo-woo seeker who’d enjoy doing yoga and meditation. I’m not… I’m not… I’m not…

How many amazing opportunities and potential talents have you passed over or talked yourself out of because you believe you’re not a certain type of person? The above hobbies – playing ukulele, surfing, and doing yoga – are all things that I never thought I’d love to do, or even be good at doing!

Last year, I showed Stefan a bucket list of things I wanted to achieve before the age of 30, and one of my goals was learning to play the ukulele. Part of me actually wanted to learn. I didn’t know how to play any instruments, and I felt like I was missing out on this giant part of human existence by not creating music. But the other part of me thought, “If I haven’t learned how to play the ukulele or guitar before my age of 24, then obviously it’s not in my life path. I’m too old to learn something so complicated. I’m clearly not an instrument playing type, or I would’ve done it already- maybe I’m just more of a singer.”

False. If it was up to me and my stubborn brain, I never would’ve gotten to learn what turned out to be one of the loves of my life. Thankfully, Stefan saved me from a sad, music-less fate by buying me a beautiful baritone ukulele for Christmas. But it sat alone in the corner of my room for over a month before a disappointed Stefan asked if I was ever going to use it. I’d been feeling guilty seeing it there everyday, untouched, but I was honestly too scared to even try strumming it once. I was terrified to confirm my suspicions that I, in fact, was not a music playing type. Then all of my ukulele dreams would be dashed forever.

Stefan picked up the ukulele and showed me where to place my fingers on the strings. He then demonstrated some easy chords. The fateful moment came when it was time for me to try- and I SUCKED. It was hard, and I didn’t like the feeling of being new and bad at something. So there Josefina, my ukulele, sat in the corner for another couple of weeks before I summoned up the courage to try playing her one last time before giving up. This time, I did it my way. When I saw the movie “Her” a few months prior, I decided that if I only learned to play one song, it would be The Moon Song by Karen O. So sitting alone with my ukulele, I slowly learned the chords to The Moon Song and then added the words to sing along with my strumming. Once Stefan got home from work a few hours later, he was flabbergasted that I’d learned how to play and sing an entire song by myself.

I suddenly felt exhilarated that I was a music playing type of girl! I could recreate new versions of any song on the planet with my own beat and strumming style and voice. Amazing! Over the next few months, I practiced every single day and learned how to play at least 50 different songs on my ukulele while singing simultaneously. It turned into a time of total mental and emotional absorption for me. It was my meditation. It was my release. It was my joy. Tears came to my eyes as I sang Hurt by Johnny Cash, and I laughed as I covered We Can’t Stop by Miley Cyrus. In just a couple months time, I became the type of girl who played music and was confident in her abilities. The previous way that I viewed myself was totally shattered, and it opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for me. I never would’ve believed it if you told me that a year ago.

So, to get to my point, how are you holding yourself back? This entire post was inspired by a great quote that I found this weekend:

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you’re not.” – Denis Waitley

Think about all of the limiting beliefs that you hold about your personality and your life. What positive experiences, jobs, and hobbies are you stopping yourself from trying because you think you’re not a certain type of person?

I thought I wasn’t a musician, but after giving it a real shot, I feel like I’m a natural at playing ukulele. I was absolutely terrified to try surfing in Costa Rica and didn’t feel like I was athletic enough to be good at it, but I popped up on the board on my very first wave. I’ve shocked myself time and time again by realizing that I’m not the diluted version of a person that I stifle into a tiny box inside my mind. I am so much more. I am whoever and whatever I want to be. And so are you!

Who says you can’t be the type to hike the Pacific Crest Trail? To own your own business? To learn how to sail? To make your own movie? To be a great parent? To create your own vegetable garden? To get toned and healthy? Sometimes you are the one stopping yourself! I hope that you choose to challenge yourself into being the person of your wildest dreams. Surprise yourself, and show that you can be more than you ever thought possible. You don’t ever have to keep being a certain type of personality, unless you decide to be the type who kicks ass and steamrolls your goals. In which case, go for it! 🙂

Thanks for reading, and please share your thoughts in the comments below. What type of person do you wish you could be but think you’re not? What’s really stopping you?

Have a beautiful Monday,

xo Caylee

Tweet this: “It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you’re not.” – Denis Waitley via @Cayleepugh

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Living Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida” Lifestyle


If you’ve ever traveled to Costa Rica before, I’m willing to bet that someone said the phrase “Pura Vida” to you at least five times daily. These words were coined during the 1950’s through a movie but weren’t common in the country until the 1970’s. Now, it’s a way of life for Ticos and surfers alike, and the quickest way to describe their amazing lifestyle in the tropics. Translation into English literally means “pure life” – it’s an expression that I’ve had the urge to live by ever since I visited the little gem of a country.

To many foreigners, “Pura Vida” is symbolic of a leisurely lifestyle full of friendliness and a disregard for time. For Costa Ricans, the phrase can mean a whole lot more – or a whole lot less. Some rattle it off as a casual greeting like how we might say, “Have a good day” or “Goodbye” in the United States. When “Pura Vida” is used to its depth of meaning, Costa Ricas have described it to me as:

 

Appreciating what you have. Enjoying life slowly. Building a strong sense of community. Being good spirited.

 

I believe to my core that all of those things are important for embodying my idea of the good life. For me, it is all about quality over quantity. I want deeper friendships rather than more friendships and greater spiritual wealth versus material wealth. I crave meaningful experiences that enliven my heart – maybe that’s why I like to travel so much. Just loving the simple moments in life is what I want to focus on.

 

Both times that I’ve been to Costa Rica, I found it very easy to live in the present and enjoy every little thing that came my way – or at least feel it to its depth of emotion. When my boyfriend, Stefan, and I arrived at our first stop on the trip, I pulled open the doors to our cabina and sitting majestically, right in front of us, was Arenal Volcano. Tropical birds were chirping all around in the lush, green trees, and the setting sun was hitting Arenal dramatically. Everything was so fresh and quiet and beautiful. I cried. I’m not a crier, guys – this place just buries itself into my core, every time.

 

Since we can’t all go and live in Costa Rica right now (a shame, I know), figuring out how to live the “Pura Vida” lifestyle back home is key. So have you ever been to Costa Rica? What are your thoughts on the “Pura Vida” lifestyle? What does a “good life” consist of for you? Please share, and let me know your experiences in the comments below! This is a topic I love, so I’m sure we’ll talk more about it soon. 🙂

 

Have a beautiful day,

 

xo Caylee