Herpes and how shame can hold you back

By me believing that there is something about me that is unlovable, it has me hold myself back. Because I don't want to show myself and risk that part of myself being seen. This is the sneaky thing about shame: There is no objective provable truth. If one person rejects me, I can easily convince myself from that one experience that I am unacceptable, period. This can then become a self-fulfilling prophecy, a vicious cycle. When I hold myself back because of the shame that I'm not enough, then it oozes into other aspects of my life. When I hold myself back from being seen by a potential partner, then I can also hide myself from my friends, family and career. As Brené Brown says, you can't selectively numb.

But the good news is, the reverse is also true: The more I practice accepting myself around herpes and any sexual shame that comes out of that, then that self-acceptance also spreads into other aspects of my life. Herpes self-acceptance can truly act as a doorway to a broader experience of self-acceptance in all aspects of life. Then a new reinforcing cycle begins: The more I can accept everything as it is without judgment, then the less shame there is ... the less shame, the more I can feel safe to more deeply accept myself, and on and on. With more self-compassion, we can step out more fully into the raw vulnerability of what it means to be a whole human being.

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