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Shedding Your Old Identity: Life in Transition

By Kelly C. Wells


You’ve heard the phrase “feeling comfortable in your own skin.”  Never is this more difficult when you are in a life transition and learning to take on a new identity.  However, it’s important to know that being uncomfortable is not a sign that you are lost, powerless, or disconnected.


The best example of this in the natural world is when a snake sheds its skin.  During the shedding process, the snake is visibly uncomfortable and unproductive.  It doesn’t eat; it is irritated and sluggish, devoting all of its energy to this one task of ridding the old to make room for the new.


Why is the snake shedding?  To grow into a larger, more capable and more evolved body and existence.  While snakes do this physically, we as human beings metaphorically shed our own skin when it is time to grow personally, professionally, or spiritually. 


You may voluntarily elect this process, as in the case of letting go of a job you hate in search of work you love.  Or, you may choose to end a relationship that is no longer fulfilling so that you can find a partner that better meets your needs and can return your love equally.  Many times this “shedding” occurs in a forced fashion, as in the case of an unwelcomed illness, financially trying times, or an unexpected loss. These times are particularly painful, yet may profoundly alter your experience and catapult you to a new spiritual plane.


When you are shedding your old identity, realize you will often lack your typical energy, feel out of sorts, and perhaps be angry and confused.  Only after you begin to wear your new skin, your new identity, will you have the clarity of vision to better understand the test and the growth that has occurred.


Getting comfortable in your new skin takes time as well.  After all, you are, in essence, a new person and your old beliefs and way of being have fallen to the waste side.  The result, however, is that you are now a bigger person than your old self, cloaked in new consciousness and greater potential.  You will be stronger, more enlightened, and more capable than ever before.  Old challenges are old hat.  You easily overcome the circumstances that previously seemed insurmountable. 


Are you done growing?  Not hardly.  The process will repeat again, with new adventures and new challenges, all a part of your soul’s evolution.


While a time of shedding and then learning to feel good again is no easy process, it can be better accepted in looking at all you are becoming.  Be kind to yourself as you stretch.  Give yourself the room you need to grow.  Cry or scream if you need to, but also slow down enough to examine who you want to be and where you want to go next.  Above all, trust in the unfailing timing of the Universe and the surety of your ever-growing personal power.


For those of you today that are hurting in transition, I encourage you to embrace the hope of a rising sun in your life again.  I’ve been through many dark and difficult transitions myself.  I cursed them at the time, and doubted my future happiness.  Each time, however, I have grown. I became more self-aware and, yes, more brilliant than I was before. 


You see, the snake sheds its skin only after the new skin has already grown beneath it.  In the same way, you are shedding your old identity because a new and glorious you is ready to burst forth!


Transitions, then, while temporarily painful, can lead you to your highest mountains and provide bridges to a brighter inner world, to a more courageous inner-self. And, in looking at your new clothing, arms out-stretched toward the unwavering sun, you realize just how brave and powerful you really are.

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