Herpes & Forgiveness
In this week's support group call, our discussion centered around a topic that resonates deeply with many of us - forgiveness. A member shared a significant moment when she reached out to the person who gave her herpes, expressing her forgiveness. This act, born out of a conversation we had in a previous emergency call, highlighted a crucial truth: forgiveness is the key to overcoming the challenges that come with a diagnosis.
Initially, a herpes diagnosis can be overwhelming, inundating us with pain, anger, and resentment. It's natural to feel a desire to forget the day you received the news, as harboring such intense emotions is not conducive to a healthy mindset. What often occurs is the retention of this anger and resentment, burdening ourselves with emotions that the other person may never comprehend. Holding onto these negative feelings can be detrimental to our own well-being.
During a retreat last September, we delved into the workings of our subconscious minds. Our subconscious doesn't distinguish between self-talk and external dialogue; it simply absorbs the emotions we express. When we harbor anger or ill will towards the person who gave us herpes, our subconscious interprets it as self-directed negativity. For example, wishing your ex constant outbreaks translates to your subconscious as wishing the same upon yourself.
Through countless conversations and my studies in theology, I've come to understand that whether rooted in faith or not, two fundamental practices emerge: forgiveness and responsibility. Forgiveness extends not only to the person who gave you herpes but also to yourself. While forgiving someone who was unaware of their condition is relatively straightforward, it becomes challenging when they knowingly withheld information. In these instances, it's crucial to approach the situation with compassion, recognizing that they, too, navigate a complex emotional journey.
Taking responsibility is equally pivotal. It's easy to point fingers and lay blame on the person who transmitted the virus. However, acknowledging our own choices in engaging in intimate situations is an integral part of the healing process. Assuming 50% responsibility allows us to start the journey towards healing.
Remember, the path to moving on and finding peace involves practicing forgiveness and taking responsibility. Undoubtedly, there will be days when cursing the circumstances seems inevitable - and that's okay. The key lies in regaining the right mindset, consistently practicing forgiveness and responsibility, and, if you're ready to elevate your healing journey, incorporating gratitude along the way.