Some insects do it. Certain reptiles. And so do people. Molt. We outgrow our literal and metaphorical skin.
As we progress on our journey in life, we evolve from one phase into another. Sometimes, that requires shedding old parts of ourselves in order to step into our new self. When we move from one phase in life to another, we’re shedding the surplus stuff to grow into a new form.
This is a natural state of development. We do this at a biological level. But also, this occurs creatively, emotionally and spiritually. At times it happens without us even realizing it. And therefore, we often don’t see our own progress. We see ourselves at the level that created the desire for transformation and expansion in the first place. But we don’t see how we’ve progressed toward the fulfillment of that desire.
So we judge ourselves from our old standpoints, which we’ve already outgrown, but we continue to falsely see ourselves from that perspective.
Part of this is because, as we grow, we are forced to move into a new space that generates a chasm to cross.
In that chasm, we’ve shed this old skin, and we’re then in this vulnerable phase before we’ve stepped into our new self. For animals in this molting phase, it can be quite perilous. This is when insects become lunch for birds. This is when snakes get eaten by bigger carnivores—or other reptiles.
At this juncture we humans feel exposed, raw, vulnerable, seen.
We often don’t like the feelings that accompany that phase of our growth, so our self-talk while in that new vulnerable space is often self-critical and self-abusive. We are unkind to ourselves and continue to judge ourselves from the old vantage point, not from the new phase we’re about to enter.
Letting go—molting out of our old skin (in the form of ideas, thoughts, habits, etc.)—is not easy since it brings up all of our insecurities. Our job, however, is not to see this necessary process in a negative light. Our job is to allow. Just by showing up, you get to the new phase.
Kids do it naturally. Children are often challenged by some skill and are unable to master something for a long time. They practice. They get frustrated. They keep trying, and then eventually, they get it. Eureka! Then they struggle at a new level of something else they wish to learn or conquer, and then they eventually get that. Then they move to a new level and then struggle and then get it. This is called development. Sometimes, they get frustrated with their inability to break through to their next level, but more often than not, they stay focused on their ability and desire to arrive at the next level.
And so they do.
Trust you’re getting there. See yourself from an accurate vantage point once you’ve lived in your new skin for a while and see what you had to do to get there. A snake doesn’t beat itself up for sloughing off its old skin in favor of a new one. It’s a milestone of growth.
You need to be the same way. Try and appreciate what it took to get to that next phase.
Negation of who you are—wherever you are—never serves you.
Stop negating yourself.
Step into that new skin that’s been created for you. Do it with grace and confidence and gratitude.
You’ve earned it.
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and Artistic Director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) with studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Vancouver. It was voted the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles by Backstage in 2011 and 2012 (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read).
Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and the CW KTLA. He is also the author of the new best-selling book, “At Left Brain Turn Right,” which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. 'Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.