In this podcast episode, Jay Shetty explores the topic of low self-worth and self-esteem, feelings that many people struggle with.

A typical Google search where phrases like "Will I ever find love?" and "Will I ever be enough?" often appear as top results, highlighting individuals' widespread concern about being adequate in different areas of life.


Jay Shetty emphasizes that thoughts of inadequacy can affect our lives, from personal relationships to careers. He compares these feelings to a contagious infection; they can be passed on to others or be influenced by negative comments from people like parents or teachers. The continuous thought of "I'm not good enough" can be paralyzing and prevent people from pursuing opportunities.

According to Jay Shetty, recognizing and understanding where these feelings come from is vital to overcoming them, as they are not serving us well. He encourages listeners to identify what makes them feel inadequate and to take the opportunity to address these feelings. By doing so, they can break free from this crippling mindset and embrace a more confident and positive outlook on life.

We All Feel Stuck at Times

Jay Shetty explained how feeling stuck often connects to feelings of low self-worth and doubt. It can cause a person to doubt themselves. He believes this doubt can hold people back from pursuing their dreams, receiving love, or even allowing good things to happen. Jay thinks some people would prefer to be treated wrong because they don't know what it feels like to be treated right. He argues that this self-doubt and lack of self-worth often leads to people achieving and receiving less in their lives.

Jay Shetty shares his personal story of feeling stuck. Ten years ago, after leaving the monastery, he found himself $25,000 in debt, living with his parents, and feeling lost and depressed. His days were filled with watching TV shows and eating chocolate – activities entirely different from his monk life.

Trying to move forward, Jay would spend hours at the library sending out job applications, only to be rejected by 40 companies. No one seemed to see value in his experience as a monk, and he constantly felt inadequate. Adding to his feelings of insufficiency, he would compare himself to his friends, who appeared to be succeeding.

Feeling Unworthy

Jay Shetty recalls when he first met the family of his then-girlfriend and now wife, Radhi. Despite having a great relationship with them, he felt intense insecurity during a dinner with her family, fearing one specific question: "What are you going to do for work?" When Radhi's father eventually asked this question, it struck Jay like a dagger to the heart. Although her father didn't mean it in an intimidating way, Jay's insecurity magnified it into something painful.

He explains that he felt lost, stuck, late, and slow. The comparison mindset compounded these feelings of inadequacy. By saying things like "I'm behind" or "I'm late," Jay exemplifies that we unconsciously compete with others, thinking they are ahead or early and that we missed opportunities.

Jay Shetty highlights that the real fear isn't about being behind or missing possibilities; it's about how we perceive ourselves to others. This constant comparison to others only serves to deepen feelings of unworthiness.

Valuable Experiences

Jay recalls feeling he wasn't enough, struggling with the pressure he put on himself. Despite his fulfilling life as a college student and monk, he felt lost and confused, viewing his past as meaningless and harmful. This mindset led him to believe he needed to find something positive, powerful, and meaningful.

He then realized what was keeping him behind: seeing everything he had done up to that point as useless was wrong and destructive. Instead of viewing his past as a waste, he learned to see its value. Jay Shetty explains that it's not about dismissing what's been done; every experience, whether painful, challenging, or mistaken, has meaning and significance. Anything that helps you help others can't be worthless.

Jay Shetty supports the idea that every experience positively impacts life. He shares an insightful quote from Wayne Dyer: "When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change." For Jay, this meant reframing how he saw his past, including his time as a monk. Instead of seeing it as a waste, he acknowledged the connections, relationships, assignments, and learnings he gained, all contributing to who he is today.

The Four Types of Self-Esteem

Security and Safety

Many of us grow up without feeling safe or secure in our families, leading to insecurities later in life. Instead of creating safe environments, we often depend on others for that security, making us prone to codependent or toxic relationships. The lack of safety and security can lead to struggles in romantic relationships and close friendships. Jay suggests building personal security to improve our self-worth in this aspect.

Identity and Values

Jay Shetty talks about the importance of knowing one's values, which act as a compass in decision-making. Whether it's about friendships, career choices, or personal development, understanding your values helps you align your life with what truly matters to you.


Jay Shetty points out how many people end up in jobs they're not good at because they were taught to focus on the skills jobs required rather than their true talents. This mismatch leads to a lack of confidence, particularly in one's career. Jay stresses the importance of recognizing and nurturing your actual competencies, not just those required by your job, to bolster your self-confidence and self-worth.

Unfitting Jobs

When people feel they lack skills at work or are in a career that doesn't utilize their genuine abilities, it can lead to feelings of inadequacy. He explains that neglecting to pursue what you love or excel at can keep self-esteem and self-worth perpetually low. It is essential to recognize your skills and pursue a career that capitalizes on them rather than staying stuck in unfulfilling positions that don't align with your strengths.

Being Part of Something Bigger

Jay Shetty explains that being part of something bigger provides self-confidence. It's more than being comfortable with people; it's about feeling understood without over-explaining yourself. It's the kind of connection where you have a shorthand with others, feeling a part of a group where you can freely express yourself.

Jay connects this feeling of belonging to why people engage in activities like following football clubs, participating in spiritual groups, or joining book clubs. It's about being part of something that resonates with you.

Jay Shetty encourages the listeners to reflect on the abovementioned four areas and identify what they need to work on. He suggests starting with identifying one's values and identity as it helps choose the right community, build security, and develop skills. However, he also stresses that the order doesn't matter; what's vital is being aware of these areas and actively working on them to build a holistic sense of self-worth.

Starting at Zero

Jay Shetty shares that people often feel scared not of starting something new but of starting with zero followers, subscribers, or whatever metric they might be measuring. This fear is particularly prevalent in a world where big numbers are celebrated, and starting at zero seems like a failure.

But Jay emphasizes that everyone starts at zero, and that's okay. He reflects on his journey and how he never focused on the numbers; instead, he was happy making an impact. He underscores the importance of helping one person or achieving small, incremental gains, such as adding one calorie or building one skill. These small steps can be decisive and lead to growth.

Baby Steps

Jay Shetty encourages listeners to ask themselves two simple questions: "What is the first thing I can do?" and "What is the smallest thing I can do?" He argues that many people feel overwhelmed because they believe they must do something big or take many steps to make a difference. This mindset, he says, can hinder progress.

Jay emphasizes that you don't need grand resources or a large audience to make an impact; passion and developing fundamental skills are what truly count. Reflecting on his own experience, he shares that he never planned his path or pressured himself for it to be significant. Instead, Jay Shetty initially focused on helping a few who cared enough to listen.

He advises against thinking that you must figure out every step before starting, explaining that this approach can reduce self-confidence. According to Jay, the key is to shift your mindset to thinking about the first and smallest steps you can take. Accept that the first attempt may not be your best, and that's okay. Failure is a normal part of the process and shouldn't stop you from continuing.

Mentor Your Past Self

Jay Shetty brought up the idea of helping someone who is currently where you were five years ago. He insists that helping others can increase your self-esteem and confidence even if you feel like you have nothing to offer. You don't need to find a world leader as a mentor or coach. Sometimes, a person just three to five years or even months ahead can provide the guidance and support needed. They understand the current challenges and can offer relevant advice.

Jay Shetty encourages listeners to write down three challenges they've faced in the past three years that they think they could help others with. You don't have to be an expert or have all the solutions. Being a friend and talking someone through their challenges can make a big difference.

To sum it up, these are the critical points to remember next time you doubt your self-worth:

  • How you view your pain affects everything
  • Everyone starts from zero
  • Your first time doesn't have to be your best or last
  • Your story matters, so don't abandon it
  • Focus on helping the person you were five years ago

By breaking down life into different areas like belonging, skills, career, values, and security, it becomes easier to focus and prioritize. Jay Shetty's approach is about understanding, empathy, and connection, showing how helping others can be a pathway to helping yourself.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “5 Steps Necessary to Build Self Confidence & 4 Ways to Know You’re Enough” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at

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