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A Tougher Exterior

We recently spent some time with dear friends who have moved to the brackish waters of the south. A much more relaxed atmosphere at this phase of life than those of us living more up north. While we were there, I got an education on blue crabs. In all my years of eating MD crabs I never knew how a soft-shell crab came into existence. It is a fascinating process.

What I learned is that as a crab matures, it will “molt” to make a bigger and better shell. It only takes a few hours for the soft-shell crab to break free of its old habitat and begin creating another shell. A different shell that is bigger and better than the one before to accommodate its growth. And as the crab matures, the shell gets harder to serve as its forever home. However, while it’s in the process of creating that new shell, it is subject to predators, so it hides. It hides in sand, under rocks or in the ocean grass for protection until it feels able to protect itself again.

In thinking about this whole molting process of a crab, it caused me to wonder when I’m feeling vulnerable do I immediately run for cover and begin to work on creating new healthy boundaries for myself or do I retreat? Do I find a place to hide, to process the worries that surround me until I have it in me to create that new and improved outer layer that’s harder and can withstand the storms? For a crab, it only takes a few hours to build that new outer layer and then all within a day’s work, the crab has created a shell that will allow it to be a tough as it possibly can and withstand the test of time.

Wherever you are right now, honor your thoughts and feelings. Giving yourself permission to be vulnerable can create space for growth opportunities. And when we grow, the fear of predators is removed because we have the confidence to move forward.

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