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Are YOU worth it?

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Brace yourselves! (Winter is coming, j/k, Game of Thrones joke.) This post is super long.


Adrial inspired me to write this post where I pose the question to all of you – are you worth it?


Inevitably, all of us will confront the possibility that we may transmit herpes to a partner or significant other. We can all take steps to minimize that risk, but it remains. What follows is the usual delightful mix of feelings – shame, guilt, sadness, and a lot more guilt. The other day, I thought to myself, “what if I meet a really great guy? But then, later on, it doesn’t work out and we break up. Is it worth the risk of transmitting herpes to a really wonderful guy?” Then I thought of the larger question, “am I worth it? Am I worth the risk of herpes for a guy?”


What’s so interesting to me is that I could easily answer that question for a friend. I have so many extraordinary, wonderful friends who enrich my life. I am grateful they are part of my world and they have given my life meaning and significance. If there was a risk of contracting a relatively minor viral infection from one of them, would I take that risk? Without hesitation, I can say “absolutely!” But when it comes to me, I hesitate. I add qualifiers – “well, maybe I’m worth it.” This is part of the process. I know I need to get myself to the point where I say “damn it, I am worth it!”


But the question “are you worth it” doesn’t stop with herpes and romantic relationships. I realize that this question has followed me my entire life.


Whether it is applying for college, applying for grad school, or applying for a job, the implicit, underlying question is always – are you worth it? The entire point of an interview is for me to demonstrate that damn it, I am worth it! I am worth the salary, the benefits, and the opportunity. And now, at age 32 and starting out in my career, I am consistently confronted with the challenge of showing my clients, my colleagues, and members of my profession that I am worth it.


Shortly after I was diagnosed with HSV2, I disclosed to my boss. She is one of my biggest supporters (personally and professionally) and one of my closest friends. Our conversation, unsurprisingly, turned to questions of self-worth and self-confidence. In our profession, reputation is everything. One way to build a reputation is to take ownership of one’s accomplishments and skills and to unabashedly assert those accomplishments and skills at opportune moments. We discussed how hard it is for some women to do this. I can’t speak for all women, but she and I are more reserved about the issue of flaunting our accomplishments and abilities. And we’ve met many other women who feel the same way. We’re afraid of looking too aggressive, too arrogant, too controlling – the classic stereotype of an out of control bitch (for reference, see how Hillary Clinton was demeaned and criticized at different points in her extraordinary career). What I realized is that to move onto the next phase of my career, to progress and build my reputation, I needed to stand up tall, look someone in the eye, and confidently proclaim “I am worth it. I am smart, capable, savvy and one of the best.”


Easier said than done right? But I have to tell you, as I get older and wiser, I am actually starting to believe I’m worth it. I am starting to hone my skills in areas where I know I excel. I am seeking out opportunities that capitalize on my strengths. I am doing work every day that gives my life purpose and direction. All of this is slowly building my confidence.


I hope all of you will start to find the things in your life that give you confidence. Trust me, each of you is good at something. As time passes and we gain more confidence and wisdom, as we approach every person with lots of compassion and love, I hope each of us will start to say “damn it, I am worth it!”


And now, back to herpes – my goal is to slowly, but sincerely, work towards genuine acceptance. I want to be genuinely believe that I am worth the risk of transmission. I think there is a myth that, suddenly, you wake up one day and spring forward as a fully-formed, enlightened human being free of sadness or self-doubt. It’s a process. I take it one step at a time. And I hope you will too. :)

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Hear, hear! Thank you for this inspiring post! I can absolutely relate to this, especially the part about finding it hard to assert accomplishments and abilities. And it's a real bugger. In attempts to be humble and not full of ego, many of us dull our light...to the point where we don't have a foggy clue who we really are (in all our awesomeness) because we've done such a damn good job of blocking it. Talk about going up the creek without a paddle. How do we expect to be the highest expression of who we are if we can't even let OURSELVES know the truth? This is reminding me of one of my favourite quotes of all time by Marianne Williamson:


“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? You are a child of God. 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. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. 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.”


----from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and encouragement. Much love to you! xo Beckie

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