“In biology, moulting (British English), or molting(American English), also known as sloughing, shedding, or in many invertebrates, ecdysis, is the manner in which an animal routinely casts off a part of its body (often, but not always, an outer layer or covering), either at specific times of the year, or at specific points in its life cycle.
Moulting can involve shedding the epidermis (skin), pelage (hair, feathers, fur, wool), or other external layer. In some groups, other body parts may be shed, for example, wings in some insects or the entire exoskeleton in arthropods.” – Wikipedia
Although we as humans do not physically molt or shed our skin as these creatures do, we can relate to the idea. Having the ability to let go of what was, to completely change is remarkable. They are able to make anew everything that was damaged or even regenerate missing limbs. Although this process the animal is completely vulnerable to their predators, it is necessary for their evolution. What feels like a moment of weakness is in fact the way to growth. Like these creatures, humans need to shed parts of themselves in order to evolve. Even our hair goes through the cycle of shedding before new growth is possible.
This concept can be foreign to humans. We cling to the things we are afraid to loose and often the parts of us that are holding us back. The fear of what is on the other side or the fear of change can be crippling. All four season are entirely necessary for us. Growth, taking pause, shedding and rest. This is how I would summarize them in my own words. Think of an Apple tree, just as a tree sheds its leaves and apples, this step is a part of the whole cycle. The leaves and apples that fall even help nourish the ground beneath it with nutrients for the soil. Every aspect helps the tree grow higher and stronger every year with more production.
So what does shedding our skin/shell look like? For everyone it is different. It could be as small as letting go of a bad habit, it could mean letting go of a grudge or external persona that has served to protect your heart. Whatever it is, there is a time when it will be made known. When seasons in our lives change it can be uncomfortable and terrifying, which is usually how we identify the need to shed something. For myself, if I feel stuck emotionally on something I reflect on what part of it is serving me. For example maybe something hurtful was said to me that I have been clinging to for a substantial period of time and it rolls around in my head for ages until finally I have had enough. Most of the time the part of me that needs shedding is linked to pain and the only way through it is by forgiving. Forgiving doesn’t have to mean approaching someone or facing something directly, but rather I can mean we are able to let go of the part of us we left with that person or circumstance by acknowledging the pain and choosing not to allow it to have control over our thoughts and emotions. It’s not easy. Once shed, we can free up that part of our energy that was nursing the wound or weighed down by the pain and baggage.
Another example is shedding identities or ways others perceive you. Often in life we are given labels or people will try to summarize who we are. They often don’t give much consideration to how these statements or labels impact another person. Labels could be things like “bossy” or even “stubborn.” These can leave a person feeling limited to these as beliefs that carry as their own. With enough time and self reflection in ones personal growth they can be identified, unattached and eventually shed from our lives allowing us to live into our full potential.
If you aren’t certain how this applies to you I recommend journaling. Make a list of things you felt you let go in the past both forced and voluntarily. Reflect on those. Then make a list of the things in your life that feel like wounds, damaged parts or things you have been carrying with you that feel heavy.
Whatever it is, the parts of you that don’t fit or no longer serve you let it go. You will be able to make space in your life for new things and grow in ways you have never before. It’s hard. It can be a rough process but it will always be worth it.
I hope you enjoy reading these snip bits of my heart each week and share with your friends if you found it helpful. As always, I believe there is no point in living and learning if not to share with others in the purpose of encouragement. If I can help you navigate through hard things in your life by sharing my loved experiences and learned skills and understanding then my struggles have been worth it too. Happy Wednesday and see you here next week!