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Self-Esteem and Herpes

I have been coaching women with genital herpes for almost five years now.

It has really been amazing to see them transform and rebuild their self-esteem.  I have watched many of them find success with telling partners and then move into more serious relationships.  When women are able to share with each other in a positive, healthy environment, they begin to see how valuable they are as a person; that they are normal, and that the condition is really minor.

When you are diagnosed with herpes, it feels really devastating in many ways.  There are many topics we could address here and I hope to address in future articles, but today I want to focus on just one aspect of self-esteem.

What I find with most people who are diagnosed with HSV is that they blame all of their low self-esteem on their contraction of this virus.  I really believe, for many people, that HSV brings out low self-esteem that was already there before the diagnosis.  I certainly think having herpes
influences a person's self-esteem, but I believe there were probably issues of low self-esteem before.

One question I often ask clients is: If it wasn't herpes, what would you be insecure about?

Try to avoid answering with the statement "I don't know."

It may be helpful to begin working on the things that you discover when you answer that question.  Perhaps that means forgiving yourself, forgiving someone else, accepting yourself, making a change, etc.  There are some good self-esteem workbooks out there.  You may want to do a search on Amazon to find something that you relate to.

After you have answered that question, ask yourself these questions:

  • What kind of relationship do I want?

  • What are the qualities that I need in a partner?  (i.e. loving, affectionate, kind, etc.)

  • What are the qualities that someone who is looking for a real relationship is looking for in a partner?

Often you will find that people who are healthy emotionally and looking for a great relationship are looking for a partner who is loving, who makes them laugh, who is attentive, who is kind, who encourages and supports them as a person, and someone who receives the love they have to offer.

What qualities do you have to offer in a relationship?  What skills can you develop that would help you to be a more loving person?

You can focus on one aspect of your body, i.e. herpes, and what that means for a relationship, or you can focus on all of the other values you can bring to a relationship.

I highly encourage you to find others you can talk with who share your concerns and who are determined to move forward into a healthier perspective.


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