Herpes and the stigma associated with it is not one easily circumvented. This stigma, continuously exacerbated by media, ignorance and misinformation, does more harm than good. It’s a stigma teaching the uninitiated that people with herpes are dirty, reckless and irredeemable hazards. Most of all, it teaches that those with herpes in any form have no worth and are to be avoided. When you are subjected to that kind of prejudice on a regular basis, you start to believe what others say. You start to lose your sense of self-worth.
Self-worth is the belief that you have value, and you do. The keyword here is “self”. What I mean is that as long as you or I allow our worth to be determined by others, we can never see our worth as defined by ourselves. Saying this, however, is much easier than doing, and even harder when you are regularly devalued by something for which you never asked.
That’s why determining and laying claim to your own self-worth is a continuous, laborious task. It is a journey of understanding, inner work and self-love without a destination. What you’ll see and feel along the way is what makes it worth it. Your right to happiness and the knowledge that you have value are just a few of the stops you’ll make as you travel.
Knowledge and phrases that helped me:
- I am valuable because I am alive and am a decent human being.
- I know I love myself not on the basis on traits and characteristics, but on things like drinking water, taking time for things I enjoy, eating and performing other tasks for my own purpose.
- When people reject me, it is only because they lack the ability to see me for more than being fuckable. I have value beyond that. I know how to communicate, reciprocate energy, listen well and am understanding too.
- Herpes is a commonly known virus that those who leave me chose to remain willfully ignorant about.
- I determine my self-worth. Not others. It’s called self-worth for a reason.
- Herpes helps remove, and prevent me from dating, shallow individuals.
- There are people in my life who see my worth. Instead of concentrating on whether or not it’s romantic, I will look at that worth for what it is.
- I will not compare myself to others, nor will I lament at the past. Every day is new.
- I will not loosen my wants, needs and desires just to have someone nor will I compartmentalize my herpes diagnosis for anyone’s comfort.
- I will continually value me before anyone else does.
- I am not my herpes diagnosis. I’m a person.
It is with love in my heart and reverence for your existence that I tell you I see you. Herpes isn’t a death sentence. It’s an opportunity to love ourselves in ways we never saw before.