"The biggest myth is that people-pleasing is the same as being kind or caring. It's not," Jay Shetty said.

People-pleasers often put others' needs before their own, leading to personal dissatisfaction. On this episode of the On Purpose podcast, Jay Shetty dives deep into the concept of people-pleasing and its seven main traits. He also offers suggestions on how to change this behavior and recognize your own needs.

People-Pleasing vs. Serving People

Jay Shetty asserts that serving people involves looking after your needs and values while considering others. It is like a balance scale - you on one side and others on the other. Both sides must be equally weighted. This way, you are true to yourself and can help others. "Being a servant is about serving everyone's best interests, including your own," he explained.

It's about being kind, caring, and supportive without losing yourself. You stay true to your values and look after your needs while helping others. It's a win-win situation.

On the other hand, people-pleasers often ignore what they need or want. They focus on making others happy. They don't necessarily do this because they want to help but because they want others to like them or avoid conflict. Jay Shetty warns that this can end in losing track of who you are.

While caring for others is good, it is equally important to look after yourself. Similarly to a one-way street where only the needs of others are considered, yours are left behind. Aiming for balance in your life would be best, helping others while staying true to yourself. Jay Shetty warns that being a people-pleaser can sometimes even lead to burnout.


It can be easy to lose sight of who you are when trying to be who others want you to be. You may feel like a chameleon that changes colors to  blend in because you want to fit in wherever you go. . However, the price you pay is consequential because you forget your color, your identity. Jay Shetty warns that this is detrimental to your self-identity and could make you mere shadows, reflecting others' expectations.

"The biggest mistake we make is we lose ourselves in the desire to please others," Jay shared.

He underlines the importance of maintaining your individuality while being in relationships. Independence is not about isolating yourself from people. Instead, it's about cultivating a strong sense of self even as you foster relationships. By balancing your autonomy and connections with others, you can retain your unique identity, keep your personal needs and values intact, and offer healthier interactions to the people you care about.

Therefore, Jay Shetty encourages listeners to nurture their independence to lead fulfilling lives that balance personal desires with relational responsibilities. This means knowing what you stand for and believe in and not letting these things slide just because others might not agree. It's okay to want to make people happy, yet not at the expense of your happiness or identity.


People-pleasers feel the constant urge to agree and say "yes" to every request or demand. Jay Shetty explains that this behavior often emerges from deep-seated fears of rejection or losing someone's approval. Agreeing to everything becomes a safety net against these fears. Everyone wants to be liked and accepted. So, people-pleasers will nod and say yes, even when they want to say no.

When you start doing it regularly, people may take you for granted. You're always there, always available, always ready to say yes. Therefore, people might stop valuing your time because they think you'll always agree. More alarming, they might start expecting it from you. You then become the go-to person for tasks others don't want to do.

Moreover, Jay Shetty highlights that the drawback of this trait is that people can feel trapped, overburdened with commitments that offer no personal fulfillment. This state of over commitment can lead to stress, exhaustion, and a poor quality of life.

This is why Jay advises the listeners to say no. It's about being true to yourself and what you want. Respect our time, energy, and needs, and cultivate the courage to say "no" when necessary.

"Sorry, Sorry, Sorry!"

People-pleasers tend to apologize excessively, often when it's not required. This constant, unnecessary expression of regret can stem from a deeply ingrained avoidance of confrontation or conflict. While apologizing can mend strained relationships, its overuse can cause it to seem insincere and ineffective.

Jay Shetty suggests that people often say "sorry" out of fear of creating conflict. They worry about offending others or don't want to lose someone's reasonable opinion of them. So saying "sorry" becomes like a safety net to protect them from people's adverse reactions.

However, Jay warns the listeners about the problems this behavior can cause. When you say "sorry" too much, it may lose its real meaning. Hearing "sorry" for every small thing would eventually start sounding empty. People might stop taking your apologies seriously.

Additionally, Jay Shetty mentions that over-apologizing can also affect your self-confidence. Every time you do it, you tell yourselves that you've done something wrong, even when you haven't. This can make you feel guilty all the time and damage your self-esteem.

Therefore, Jay advises the listeners to be more mindful of their apologies. According to him, you must learn to apologize only when truly needed and understand that not all conflicts must be averted.

Not Communicating Your Needs

Some people might avoid sharing their needs for fear of being seen as demanding or needy. There's also the worry of upsetting others or not being understood. It feels easier to stay silent rather than risk these possibilities.

Jay Shetty highlights the detrimental effects of suppressing personal needs to accommodate others. People-pleasers often mute their needs and desires. Over time, these can lead to hidden resentment, growing frustration, and feeling overlooked or undervalued.

You will be setting yourself up for disappointment when you don't communicate your needs. People need to know what's important to you and what you need. The result is often that you feel overlooked, misunderstood, or uncared for.

Furthermore, Jay Shetty points out that not expressing your needs can strain relationships. When you harbor unspoken expectations, it can lead to resentment. You might feel let down by people who have no idea they've disappointed you. Conversely, people might feel frustrated if they always guess what you need or want.

Jay Shetty encourages the listeners to practice clear communication about their personal needs. It isn't simply about getting what you want, but a critical aspect of self-respect and self-care. Openly expressing your needs can lead to more balanced and respectful relationships where all parties feel heard and valued.

Feeling Left Out

Jay Shetty addresses the fear of exclusion that many people-pleasers face. This fear, he explains, can lead to frantic efforts to fit in, often at the cost of one's individuality.

At some point in life, we all get the feeling of being left out. It hurts when it feels like everyone else is part of something, and we're the only ones standing on the outside. Occasionally, this feeling arises because we're trying too hard to fit in. We seek acceptance so much that we end up feeling excluded. It's like chasing an invitation to belong, but it is always out of reach.

Yet it's okay to be different. You don't need to fit in everywhere. Not being part of everything doesn't mean you're less valuable or less loved. It's about finding the places and people where you naturally belong rather than forcing yourselves to fit in where you don't.

Jay Shetty advocates for fostering self-confidence, embracing self-acceptance, and understanding the value of your uniqueness. Rather than constantly trying to fit into a particular mold, you should celebrate your individuality and your distinct role in life's grand narrative.

Always Nice And Avoiding Conflict

Another two traits of people pleasers that go hand-in-hand are always being nice to others and avoiding conflict. They feel a perpetual need to remain pleasant, even in situations that warrant a different response, and their tendency to evade conflict at all costs.

While harmony in relationships is essential, avoiding necessary confrontations can lead to unresolved issues and the suppression of personal emotions. Not all conflicts are harmful; many are crucial for growth, improved understanding, and progress.

Jay Shetty points out that this habit is only sometimes healthy. There's a difference between being genuinely kind-hearted and simply avoiding conflict out of fear or discomfort. Being 'nice' all the time can become a mask, hiding your true feelings, thoughts, and desires.

Conflict is part of life. Jay Shetty emphasizes that it's not something to run away from but rather to engage with respectfully. Disagreements can be opportunities for growth, learning, and strengthening relationships. Therefore, he encourages the listeners to master the art of healthy conflict. It can be essential in maintaining authentic relationships and promoting personal growth.

Finding Your True Colors

Jay Shetty points out that the seventh trait is that many people-pleasers prioritize others' needs over their own. It leads to a loss of self-awareness and authenticity. He explains that the root of this issue is not knowing who you are. You often forget your true self to be everything to everyone. Yet due to your eagerness to fulfill others' expectations, people-pleasers often lose touch with their genuine self.

Jay Shetty introduces an important exercise aimed at self-reflection and discovery. Derived from the first chapter of his book, "Think Like a Monk," this exercise seeks to help individuals regain their lost authenticity, often sacrificed to please others.

The goal is to realign yourself with your genuine beliefs and desires, not just what you think others want from you. This self-reflection exercise can be transformative, leading to a better understanding and acceptance of your true self. It involves sitting down and listing your current values. Think deeply about the principles that guide your life.

Secondly, the exercise invites introspection on the origins of these values. Jay Shetty asks, "Where did these values come from?" Understanding the source of your values is essential, as they often originate from influential figures or experiences in your life.

Lastly, ask yourself, "Do you still want them to be your values?" This step requires honest self-evaluation. Are these values still relevant to your current life? Are they helping you grow and progress? Or are they remnants of an older self, no longer serving your present circumstances or ambitions?

Jay Shetty encourages his listeners to reconnect with their authentic selves through this exercise. He believes this will lead to personal growth and satisfaction. It will alsohelp you overcome the urge to constantly please others at the expense of happiness and authenticity.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “7 Signs You're A People Pleaser 7 7 Methods to Break This Habit” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.

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