As much as I wish this wasn’t the case, I have always been the type of person who seeks the approval of others. I’m a bit of a people pleaser and I would love nothing more than for everyone to be happy and approve of me and my choices. I have often viewed my self-worth in terms of how other people see me and have never been terribly confident in myself or my abilities.
And then I became a mother.
Becoming a mother has helped me to “find my voice” and my self-confidence in so many ways and it all started during my pregnancy when I decided early on that I wanted to have an all-natural (out-of-hospital) birth.
I am admittedly a bit of a baby when it comes to pain, but I dug deep and found an inner confidence that I never knew I had in order to go through with it. There were plenty of naysayers along the way who tried to dissuade me from my choice, but I told them with no fear in my voice that I knew I was capable and strong and that I could do this. Somehow knowing that there was another little life dependent on me and my choices gave me the strength that I needed to follow through. I stood up for myself throughout my entire pregnancy and advocated for myself during birth and ended up having the experience I had always wanted.
Since then it has been a snowball effect. As my confidence has grown, I have started to learn who I really am and I have realized what is truly important in my life, and aside from the opinions of a few close friends and family members, I have learned to take all the others with a grain of salt. There have been plenty of choices I have made concerning parenting that may seem a bit “off-the-beaten-path” for some and those people have often been vocal. But, I have learned to trust myself and my voice and to ignore negativity.
A big part of finding my voice has also been learning to be comfortable in my own skin. I have always struggled with self-image, but seeing yourself through the eyes of a child is truly magical and makes it near impossible not to feel more confident in who you are as a person. In my daughter’s opinion, the sun rises and sets with me. She thinks I am a great cook, have the most beautiful voice, and that I’m endlessly fun to be around. If she sees me that way, then why can’t I see me that way?
So now I do. I have learned to appreciate the beauty of who I am. I am not perfect, but being me is pretty great and what I have to say and share with the world is worthwhile. I have realized that I can speak my mind and share my feelings and I no longer find myself putting up with those who are negative or draining in my life.
My daughter has helped me to find a strength that I never knew I had and in the process I found my voice.
In honor of this idea of finding my voice, and in conjunction with Disney’s “Find Your Voice” singing contest, I have decided to be brave and share my singing voice with you as well! In honor of the re-release of “The Little Mermaid” in October Disney decided to host this contest and when they asked me to join in and share a song with you, it was a little bit like a childhood dream come true. I used to sing the songs incessantly and pretend I was Ariel with my bath time mermaid hair, so singing a “Little Mermaid” song for all the Babble world to hear feels a little like coming full circle.
So, check out my video and then go enter your own in the Disney “Find Your Voice” Contest!
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble or at Disney Baby. More from Lauren: