It seems that most people who are letting herpes hold them back are people who genuinely feel they are “protecting” other people from getting herpes, and therefore protecting others from having to experience their same pain … As heartfelt as this seems on the surface, it’s counterproductive in that by isolating herpes from others, you’re isolating you.

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If you are the type of person who finds yourself shutting out from the world because of herpes, that truly breaks my heart … first of all, that action of shutting off has an underlying belief that herpes is an absolute dealbreaker. What if herpes really wasn’t all that bad? Let’s just pretend, shall we? That person who is (from their perspective) “protecting” the world from their “disease” has such a big heart. There are plenty of people out there who would rather ignore that they have herpes and not face it. But you would rather ignore the world in order to “protect” it from herpes. So by shutting yourself out of the world, you’re doing the world a HUGE disservice. You aren’t sharing that heart of yours, that heart that doesn’t want to hurt others, that heart that wants to love someone. You’re assuming that herpes will overshadow all of your other positive qualities. Yeah, sounds like a softy line, but it’s so true: By holding back from the world because of herpes, you’re not allowing the world to experience YOU.

Now, I’m certainly not discounting the potential pain that can accompany living with herpes … I put myself through a crazy amount of pain, anguish and self-loathing during that period in my life. I thought my life (definitely sex life) was over. That’s why now, with me on the other side of that, it doubly breaks my heart to see people putting themselves through the same pain. Unfortunately self-defeating thoughts seem to be human nature — “No one will love me,” “I’m alone,” — herpes just makes it that much more easy to actually take those thoughts as truth. Ultimately it’s a decision that EACH OF US makes to degrade ourselves. It’s ultimately our choice about what we believe.

So what is the number one reason you shouldn’t let herpes hold you back? You are. You have so much more to give the world. And it ain’t herpes.

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