‘Happier’ With Dave Flynn


Feeling Enough

As I watch Fia, my 7-month-old daughter, contentedly exploring a simple wooden toy in the soft glow of the morning sun that filters through her nursery window, a thought dawns on me. She exists in a state of pure contentment, feeling ‘enough’ without any effort. This makes me question: at what point do we adults lose that sense of intrinsic value and start believing we must achieve something to be ‘enough’? And what does enough mean – to you, to me and to the world?

These reflections about ‘feeling enough’ have been niggling me for weeks, probing at the notion of ‘feeling enough.’ Am I trying to prove my worthiness in order to feel enough? Is this what is driving me? Is it a deep-rooted insecurity, a need to prove I’m worthy of love? Perhaps it’s tied to my own personal experience, especially the unique dynamic of competing for my mother’s attention as an identical twin.

In this weeks Happier Column, I want to invite you on an inner journey with me, together exploring 

  • Worthiness
  • Being enough is not something we earn but something we are
  • Comparisons
  • Making our worth more intrinsic

Unpacking our drive for worthiness

The notion of ‘enough’ is something that often seems just out of reach, a destination we arrive at only after ticking off a list of achievements. We often see worthiness as an award for success, thinking, ‘Once I’m successful, then I’ll be enough.’ Despite an inner awareness that our worth isn’t dependent on external achievements, we’re still driven by something. Why do we fall victim to the notion that we must accomplish certain goals, whether it’s a fit body, a certain income, or luxury possessions?

Rationally I know that feeling ‘enough’ isn’t about ticking off boxes on a checklist of societal expectations. I know it has much more to do with my internal world and so much less about the external. Yet here I am, a 44 year old man, reflecting on this ever-present conflict inside me. 

Being enough is not something we earn, it is something we are.

How do we seed the idea into society that being enough is not something we earn but something we are? How do you and I embody this and start to live more from this point of view? In my experience, adult life seems to be fueled by striving to feel enough via achievements and accolades. I reflect upon getting older, my hair greying and getting thinner, my skin getting more lines and I have threads of worry about the effects this will have, will I be enough as these continue? 

In some moments, I also have doubts about my work and generating financial stability for my family, and the list goes on.. I don’t think I am alone in this? I believe these types of insecurities are not unique to me; they are likely just part of the shared human experience. I think this realisation brings an awareness that we all have to deal with not feeling good enough at times, and overcoming this feeling likely starts with remembering that you are enough – just the way you are. A feeling that  is not dependent on what you do or how you look, it is fundamentally a part of who you are. 

Comparison, the thief of joy

Sometimes I think it might have been simpler to feel ‘enough’ a century ago, before the internet and the age of social media, where success wasn’t gauged by Instagram likes or TikTok views. While comparison isn’t new to human culture, social media amplifies it immensely. It’s all too easy to compare our inner world to someone else’s curated external world, leading to envy and eroding our sense of self-worth.

Speaking from experience, as part of The Happy Pear’s significant online presence, I’ve felt both the perks and pressures of social visibility, which often go unnoticed by others.

A few years back, I decided to take control of my relationship with social media. Instead of mindless scrolling and battling feelings of inadequacy, I now approach social platforms with intention. I don’t scroll on my phone, I post when I need to. When I choose to engage, I do so from my laptop, which I find much less enticing than my phone. This small change has made a big difference in preserving my sense of ‘enoughness.’

Reprogramming our worth to make it more intrinsic

I’m convinced that to shift our sense of worth from external accolades to our inner qualities, we need to embrace mindfulness. Being present helps me discern whether my decisions stem from fear or confidence. It’s about pausing to question, “Is this choice driven by fear, or is it rooted in self-trust and trust in life?” I’ve frequently caught myself in the ‘busy fool’ cycle, tirelessly toiling in the name of efficiency, only to later realise I was focused on the wrong tasks!

As kids, we naturally felt secure and didn’t worry about our worth, just like baby Fia. But as we grow up, we start to think our value comes from what we do, what we have, and what others think of us. To find that deep, unshakable sense of self-worth again, I believe that we need to learn to trust life’s flow and have faith in ourselves, just like when we were young and the world seemed so much simpler.

In life, learning to trust and have faith can make all the difference. I’ve found that the more I try to control everything around me, the more stressed I become. Real worth and happiness come from feeling content on the inside, no matter what’s happening outside. It’s a personal journey that starts with letting go. When I trust that things will work out and have faith in my own ability to handle whatever comes my way, I feel a sense of inner peace. Last week, while preparing to photograph a new book, I faced an overwhelming array of dishes that needed to be cooked for the shoot. On Monday morning, I felt swamped, my mind echoing doubts that it was impossible to finish in time. However, I soon made a conscious decision to accept the situation. I surrendered to the moment, focusing on cooking one dish at a time and not surprisingly, we managed to get through it all!

To me, this isn’t about giving up; it’s about accepting that I am enough as I am, and that’s where my true strength lies.

Reflecting on our intrinsic worth is a journey we all share, and I’ve opened up about mine in hopes of sparking a wider dialogue. Now, it’s your turn to add to this collective exploration. In the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories. How do you resist the pull of external validation to find contentment within? What daily practices keep you grounded in the belief that you are already enough? Your contributions are not just welcome—they’re essential. Let’s start a conversation that reminds us all of the beauty and strength that come from simply being ourselves. Share your voice, your insights, and let’s navigate this path together.

Next week’s column will be about self worth and the practices that I do to cultivate this. Have a lovely week 🙂

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