Does Your Inner Prostitute Destroy Your Chance for Real Happiness?

Path with trees, chiswick house

I am faced with a choice. There was probably a meeting I was late for, but I could not stand up. I had logged onto my Fidelity account for the 10th time to stare at the stock options that had been placed in my account earlier that day. No, they were not mine. Yet. They vest over three years, but the account conveniently shows them all as mine. A substantial amount of money in an account just waiting for me – well, if I am willing to stay in a job I hate for another three years.

Feeling Good Can End Badly

We have all been there, in a place where we have to choose between our short- term temptations and the consequences of those temptations. Mine just happened to come in the form of stock options that day. But, if I am being honest, those temptations to sell out for the short- term feeling of happiness are constant. Often, it does not feel so much like a choice. In those moments, the choice to take short-term happiness feels like the only option. The craving is so intense and the impulse is so strong that the moment that a choice could be made is too short to see. In high school, it was partying with friends. In college, it was the classes that were an easy credit. Then, the adult versions hit and those are the hardest to avoid and have the longest reaching consequences. Do you take the job you want or the one that pays? Do you marry the person who you love or the one that most fits the role? Do you move to the city that you dream of or the city that makes the most sense? And, then, there are the every day moments that arise: the outfit that you want, but can’t afford; the car that is cool, but out of your budget; the day of Netflix bingeing instead of getting through the emails that have stacked up. Drugs, alcohol, affairs, shopping, eating, and every other thing that brings that hit of “feel good” that we are all looking for. I get it, and I am not here to say that I have not indulged in it. Trust me, I have indulged a lot more than I want to admit in this blog. But, that is not the point.

My Inner Prostitute Nearly Stole My Life

The prostitute in me took over and she got what she wanted. She wears beautiful clothes, eats at the fanciest restaurants, drives a beautiful car and, today, she is staring at those stock options with deep joy. And, while she is adorned in nothing but the best, I am broke, lost and deeply unhappy. She wins, and I pay and pay with regret, self-hatred, and lost dreams. Caroline Myss calls this, “The Four Archetypes of Survival.”

“Prostitution should be understood as the selling or selling out of your talents, ideas, and any other expression of the self. The core learning of the Prostitute relates to the need to birth and refine self-esteem and self-respect.”  Caroline Myss

My solution? Divorce my inner prostitute. Yes, divorce was expensive, but it was worth the price. That pull toward the immediate pleasure is hard. So, when I divorced her, I had to accept the unpleasant news, the difficult task, the painful emotional moment: no escape. But, what I found was that the pain in those moments was never as difficult as the aftermath of her choices. Those stock options never vested and my wardrobe is not nearly as up to date, but the self-loathing, regret, and pain from her choices are also gone. And, what I found was that the pain I was attempting to escape was never as difficult as the pain of selling out. As Carolyn Myss suggests, I placed a virtual, “not for sale” sign outside of my virtual house. So, divorce your inner prostitute, accept life’s discomforts, and find pleasure in the harder choices with the greatest gains.

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