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mr_hopp

Last night's virtual herpes support group

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We met over the phone last night for (h) group. I, for one, was humbled and inspired by all of you who showed up and how you showed up. How you all shared with one another and gave feedback felt so loving and supportive. Felt like we were all swimming in it! 

Here were some memorable topics that we touched on ...

Can I just stay in acceptance, please?
We all share a process of healing. That process we all go through toward acceptance can jump around a bit, stages can be revisited and skipped, and they don't always happen in order. A main theme that ran through last night's shares was the fear of disclosure. We might find ourselves in full acceptance mode — "Hey, I am okay with herpes." We feel perfectly good about ourselves and our relationship to having herpes — then, all of the sudden something happens (a disclosure rejection, a Valtrex commercial) that will plop you right back into the anger stage.

Just because we make it to acceptance doesn't necessarily mean we're done with processing what we need to process. And the more compassion we can have for ourselves when we do find ourselves revisiting past stages of the healing process, the more we can continue to heal. Naturally. 

Choice and empowerment
Someone on the line shared their experience with acquiring herpes when choice wasn't an option. This person's share simultaneously broke my heart, had me hating evil people and inspired the shit out of me. Many people who get herpes get it after exercising their choice to have sex. It's easier to see that you aren't the victim of herpes when sex is a choice. 

But when herpes is acquired through rape, when you don't have choice, it seems it would be harder to let go of the anger, the victimization. It's sad to consider that people could be so disconnected from their hearts, so pitiful to do such things to other human beings. And this person's share had me realizing something so profound … This person has so much compassion. This person discloses to potential partners. This person has so much integrity and love at the core of their being. This person could easily have reacted in revenge mode, not disclosing to any partners, giving out exactly what was given … but this person didn't. That is exercising positive choice: the choice to maintain personal integrity and compassion. This person turned the tides. The strength of character is undeniable here. This person insists on loving instead of lashing out. I want to say a sincere thank you to this person for being such a beautiful role model. You inspire me. 

The healing power of connection & community
After each person shared their experience of living with herpes, multiple people jumped in to give feedback and reflection to that person. It was beautiful to witness so much support and love. There was laughter, deep feeling and everything in between.

I felt that, even through painful shares (maybe especially through the painful ones), there was so much connection, so much loving attention from all the group members. All directed toward this one person. It was a connection through shared experience. Even though all the facts of our stories are different, our feelings are the same. We have all felt pain. We have all felt lonely. We have all felt like we aren't enough. That's where the opportunity for connection is blown wide open. There was so much of that last night.

After many of the shares and feedback, I sat back in awe of these people. Brene Brown was right. When shame isn't held in anymore, it releases its power. Vulnerability does equal connection. I felt it. I know everyone on the call felt it, too.

Interested in joining us for the next (h) group? We'd love to have you be a part of it! 
Sign up here »


Free e-book & handouts: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/ebook 
The Opportunity Lifestyle Guides: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/lifestyle-guides
Book a one-on-one coaching session: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/herpes-coaching

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Someone requested I share some of the quotes I read for the night. Here they are!

  • “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” — Shakespeare
  • “I’ve had many troubles in my life. Most of which never happened.” — Mark Twain
  • “Until you make the unconscious conscious it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” — Carl Jung
  • “The only thing that is real is my experience.” — Unknown
  • “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Marianne Williamson
  • “Connection is why we are all here. Shame is the part of us that says ‘Is there something about me that if other people know it or see it, that I won’t be worthy of connection?’ No one wants to talk about [shame] and the less you talk about it, the more you have it. In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen. The people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe that they are worthy of love and belonging. That’s it.”
  • “Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth.” — Benjamin Disraeli
  • “You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.”
  • “We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” — Lee Iacocca

Free e-book & handouts: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/ebook 
The Opportunity Lifestyle Guides: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/lifestyle-guides
Book a one-on-one coaching session: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/herpes-coaching

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The support group was so great! I am always so inspired when I surround myself by beautiful and authentic people. It's interesting but lately I've been encountering a lot of people who have talked about how difficult it is to believe that some people cry a lot or they go home and they are not as happy as most people perceive them to be. There seems to a really big gap between what people show other people on a day-to-day basis and what we are feeling inside. And that's why I love this support group. The gap is closed. Authenticity shows up. The good, the bad, and the ugly are all there and there is no need to cover anything up. Connecting with other people in this very real container helps me realize that I am not alone and that life goes on for everyone, regardless of what circumstances show up. Thanks everyone for being you!!

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Celebrations are in order! Remember Leslie's nervousness around her imminent plans to disclose to her special man? Well it went down last night in a beautiful way. Check out her post on it here!


Free e-book & handouts: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/ebook 
The Opportunity Lifestyle Guides: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/lifestyle-guides
Book a one-on-one coaching session: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/herpes-coaching

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I really enjoyed the support group that night. It was a really great experience connecting with everyone, and I like the way you conducted everything. It felt like a really safe, open space for everyone to be. Thank you for creating this beautiful website, and the amazing virtual support groups, that inspire me more and more every time I visit. 

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