Success ≠ Happiness

Today I got my exam results for the final stage of my ACCA exam paper, it was my fourth attempt at this blasted UK Advanced Tax paper, but I passed it! I usually receive a text message at midnight but I hadn’t updated my mobile number and so had to wait until 4am when the email came through. Needless to say I didn’t sleep until it came through.

I am now officially a qualified accountant, after 4 years of hard work and perseverance I have finally done it. I am going to sound so ungrateful now, and to be honest I’m not really sure how I’m feeling, but all of a sudden I’m very afraid and I am not sure I can handle the success of it – it’s too much pressure.

I keep thinking I’m not good enough, surely I am simply not good enough. I realise in my mind that I had written it off as something unattainable, and anyone who has it is a genius or a mastermind, and therefore that can’t be me. I know my view is warped; the exam is clearly doable and no one who takes it is a genius, they are just intelligent and have put in the hard graft, just as I have.

It has really shocked me how much I can’t seem to see myself with a realistic and positive light, I almost want someone to snap me out of it and wake me up because it’s too much for me to bear. I am used to pain and disappointment, to not being good enough and hiding behind the success of others.

I can feel myself wanting to self-sabotage, it’s like an addiction, an itch i need to scratch. I desperately don’t want to do that, I really want to enjoy my hard earned success and stop trying to ruin the good things that happen to me. I’m scared, of what I might do, or that this success isn’t as real or good as I perceived it to be. I feel like my version of reality is totally skewed.

I am seeing my therapist tomorrow, and last week he suggested that I see him twice a week again. I would if I could, but I am going to have to tell him that I can’t afford it at the moment. If I’m honest with myself, I am also scared to let him in anymore than I already have. He wants me to open up and let him in but I am petrified to do so. I don’t trust myself.

I feel so sad that this is how I feel about myself, that I don’t trust me and I don’t have any real faith in my abilities. I’m afraid that this blog will be rejected, seeing as I am starting to get external interest in it, all of a sudden it’s under scrutiny and I’m not sure that I am ready for that. It’s not even paid interest, but this is who I am. This blog is me, and so any rejection of my blog is another painful rejection of me.

I know that it was a risk starting my blog and opening it up to criticism and review, but I didn’t realise how I would feel when it actually started happening. It’s hard. It feels so precarious, and I want that release of someone putting me and my work down so that I can feel sorry for myself and wallow in my comfortable well of self pity.

Succeeding is hard. Achieving is hard. Getting what you thought you wanted is hard. It’s not that I don’t want these things, but I realise that they do not make me who I am, they do not make me happy. My happiness comes from feeling good about myself, not from external validation, but it’s so easy to forget that, especially when that’s where I am used to getting it.

Yes, it’s great that I passed my exam, but it doesn’t dictate my worth. It is also great that I have been asked to contribute to another blog and have had interest in my freelance services for the first time, but these too do not dictate my worth. I am not ready for these things yet, and I realise that I am still focused on my journey of self-discovery rather than accelerating my career.

I want to go to New Zealand and work on the ski slopes for a while, I want to travel around and work on farms, in bars and offices and keep learning about myself and the world. I don’t feel confident enough in my abilities just yet, and I don’t think these things are going to make me happy. I think following my heart and passion is the key to happiness.