Are you feeling like you’re bashing your head against a wall trying to figure out how to deal with this virus? Are you constantly beating yourself up about where you find yourself right now (“Why did I just have to have sex with that person …”)? There’s one magic phrase that will help with herpes … Here it is (drum roll, please)…

Where all of the suffering comes from is hanging out in the part that can’t be changed …

“If this (If I have herpes), then what?”

Yep, that’s it. Yep, it’s an amazingly powerful and magical phrase. Elegant in its simplicity. How? Let’s break it down into its two basic parts …

PART 1: “If this (If I have herpes)…”
Say it. Say it out-loud. “I have herpes.” Accept that you have genital herpes. That is done. No amount of self-flagellation will change that one singular fact. You got it. It’s for life. Now that the acceptance part is over with, you move on (quite literally) to the next part of this magic phrase.

Another part that keeps so many people from accepting this is all of the beliefs they have about what herpes means. Does it mean that you’re a dirty, damaged person or does it mean that you are compassionate, considerate and full of integrity for making sure that you are as safe as possible? What if herpes doesn’t actually mean all these horrible things you’ve been believing about it?

Where all of the suffering comes from is hanging out in the part that can’t be changed, beating ourselves up about that person we slept with, if only we could go back and tell them off, if only, if only, if only, etcetera, etcetera … But why are we dwelling on something that’s simply not possible? There’s not likely going to be a herpes cure anytime soon. And there’s no such thing as an anti-herpes time machine. (As far as I know, the time machine isn’t even in development yet — The laws of space and time — as far as my calculations show — won’t allow it. Sorry to be the bearer of the Truth, but that’s just how it is.)

Acceptance around simply having herpes allows us to drop that irrational hope of somehow getting rid of herpes so we can live life “like it used to be.” This acceptance around herpes allows us to move into our lives as it actually is without the fantasy (Read “Key to being happy with herpes? Give up hope.” for more). Dropping this false expectation allows us to move on cleanly into part 2 …

PART 2: “… then what?”
This is the cool part … This is the part where we get to see our life as it actually is. Hey, you know what? Everyone’s got their “stuff” … everyone’s got their baggage. Ours includes herpes (and maybe a few other carry-on items we’ve collected over the years). So what are we going to do with our lives now that we’ve accepted we have baggage (welcome to being human)? Yes, life with herpes doesn’t look exactly the same as life without herpes. But what are you still comparing for anyway? (Refer back to Part 1 … no need to compare when it is what it is, right?)

One thing that may jump out at us: Now we have a responsibility to have the herpes talk before we sleep with someone; and hey, I’ll hand it to you: the herpes talk ain’t always the easiest thing to do; it takes courage. And it’s something that we honest people do now that we’ve accepted we have herpes. Ultimately, just by us deciding to have the talk demonstrates some pretty admirable (and attractive) qualities. By us disclosing, it shows the kind of person we are. (By the way, the herpes talk can be a walk in the park if you focus on the right things when you disclose; check out the herpes disclosure e-book for more on that.)

So let’s wrap this baby up.

Ask yourself this question: “If I’m in total acceptance that I have herpes, then what?” What does a person who has accepted and integrated the fact of having herpes do in their life? You can be that person right now.

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