While people -- mercifully -- do not literally shed their skins, there are times when humans do undergo similarly significant growth.
Herself knows that she is many ways very different from how she was even a few years ago. It has been a gradual transformation; there has been no precipitating event, no watershed moment to which she can point. What is certain, though, is that she has changed. Even those close to her have noticed: her mother-in-law (a truly lovely woman) has stated that Herself has blossomed and "come out of her shell." And indeed, she has. How so? It is difficult to describe.
She is more likely to speak her mind. She questions more, and expects differently. She occasionally puts her own needs ahead -- not necessarily first, but certainly higher up than ever before. She is less tolerant of unkind words and actions, and actively takes steps to address issues that hurt her or those whom she loves. She appreciates the unique qualities of each member of her family more. She has found remarkable reserves of patience and kindness. She has reached out to other people in ways she would never have dared do before, and she is joyous and grateful for the return that she has received.
She laughs more. She hopes more. She risks more. She dreams more.
To what can we attribute her transformation? There are many different factors. If you ask her, though, she will tell you that the primary reason is:
she has true friends.
Close friends contribute to our personal growth. They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there. - Judith Viorst
She has shed her old shell. She will never wear it again.