A message I received:

“Herpes isn't an opportunity!”

I recently received this in my inbox. It’s an example of a message I’ve received a lot over the years. And it’s at the source of a lot of the pain and suffering I see surrounding herpes. So, once and for all, is herpes an opportunity or a curse (or something in between)?

Here's what the email said:

“You know, honestly, while i appreciate your forum and your perspective on everything, it’s not an opportunity, it’s a curse. Why? Because people are short-sighted, judgmental, and ignorant … Just had to say how I feel.”

... and here is my response:

I appreciate you being real about this and reaching out to share. As you can imagine, I've received this message in various forms over the years. And I totally get it. How I came to this Opportunity perspective was hard-won through many years of suffering … So I truly, deeply get how much it can hurt and how scary it can be.

And you want to know something fascinating? You’re absolutely right: It IS a curse …

And you want to know something else equally fascinating? It IS an opportunity.

Either can be 100% true.

Beliefs can be a tricky thing. And beliefs are subjective: There is no universal truth about any of this. Your personal beliefs can magically pull in any supporting data and label it “proof” of whatever belief you’re holding. Be careful. Notice.

The psychology behind this is the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. And you’ve probably heard of this yourself in the new car analogy. When you buy a brand new red car, you notice red cars all over the place. But that doesn’t mean that all of the sudden, all other colored cars have vanished from the roads. So, if you believe that all people are short-sighted, judgmental, and ignorant, you’re going to find all the examples to support that belief. Your brain is a pattern recognizing machine. And it works hand-in-hand with your thoughts and beliefs. It takes more energy and focus to notice things that are outside of the scope of your beliefs. That’s why it takes practice to shift your beliefs to ones that suit the life you want to live.

And when it comes down to it, even though I want you to live your best possible life … it ultimately doesn’t impact me whether you believe it’s an opportunity or a curse.

But I’ll tell you who it will most certainly impact: You.

So I’m not here to try to convince you or pressure you to believe something. I simply offer this Opportunity perspective as an alternative to suffering through your self-limiting beliefs … This is an empowered alternative that you either decide to take on or not. And yes, it does take work.

So wake up. Or not. It is totally up to you. It always has been. (And that is very good news.)

“Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.”

— Henry Ford

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