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The VICE Guide to Self-Esteem

An A-to-Z guide to getting confident, stupid.

Self-esteem: Everyone wants it. Industries are built around getting it and keeping it. Wars are started by people who don’t have it (or have too much of it). The secret to having self-esteem is realizing that you are already perfect. Let us show you just how incredible, special, unique, cool, intelligent, and super fucking fuckable you actually are.


No harm can come to you if you are awesome. Fortunately, you are awesome. If you're not awesome, convince yourself that you are. Once you do, people will cling to you like moths to an awesome flame. You are that flame. Burn, baby, burn.


Honorable mentions: abortions, America, affirmations 

Photo by Jake Lewis


Getting drunk is a foolproof confidence booster. It’s called “liquid courage” for a reason. Getting drunk inside a bar, surrounded by other false-confident boozers, means you’ll get talked to, hit on, and treated like royalty. You'll feel better about yourself without actually doing anything to make you a better person, which is faster and easier than attempting to get to the root of your problems via tedious introspection.

Honorable mentions: birthdays, better than (as in "You’re better than everyone else"), breaking up with your partner


Crying is usually a sign that you’ve felt something that made you feel bad. Maybe your dad skipped your dance recital. Maybe your dad showed up to your dance recital drunk. Find the nearest friend, relative, lover, or complete stranger and cry in front of them. Chances are, they will want you to stop crying so much that they’ll comfort you with a hug or some words of wisdom. Since it feels so good to be comforted, some people will actually pretend to cry just to get sympathy. We like to call these people “power users” in the MMORPG known as life.

Honorable mentions: Charlie Sheen (king of self-esteem), confidence, coming hard (cumsplosion)


If self-esteem is what you seek, delusion is your best friend. There's no such thing as failure when you're delusional. When people are saying you can't do something, mentally flip them off and convince yourself you can. You are the greatest—with or without actual talent.


Honorable mentions: dancing like no one is watching, dogs (who love you unconditionally), Donald Trump (the king of delusion)


When delusion falls short, excuses are the next best thing. It's not your fault that there are so many obstacles in the way, stopping you from doing what you really want to do, and being who you really want to be. You would have been real successful if it weren't for your fucking parents and all those student loans. Have excuses handy for when you never even tried, and also when you do try and fail. It's hard to feel bad about yourself when nothing is your fault.

Honorable mentions: ego, ecstasy, emotional eating 

Photo via Flickr user storem


Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than knowing someone on this planet is down to get naked and rub parts with you. Getting laid is like a Five Hour Energy drink, but for your self-worth. Instead of five hours, though, it lasts for five days.

Honorable mentions: fuhgeddaboutit (childhood traumas, I mean), friends, Friends (the groundbreaking television program)


…and doggone it, people like you!

Honorable mentions: giving, getting, groping


The concept of the "hater" is the greatest gift God ever gave the human race. Any transgression you commit in life can be chalked up to folks being mad "jelly" about how tight you are. If life's got you down, just post that "haters gonna hate" GIF on your Facebook wall and call it a day. Telling your haters to fuck off makes you feel more powerful than that Scarface bro from that Goodfellas movie.


Honorable mentions: "Hang in there, baby," horse (once you fall off, get right back on), huge dick/boobs


It’s all about you. And by “it,” I mean “everything.” You are the center of the universe. Solidify this fact by repeating a daily mantra constructed of "I am" statements. Examples include:

"I am the architect of my life. I build its foundation and choose its contents."

"I am superior to negative thoughts and low actions."

"I am whatever you say I am. / If I wasn't, then why would I say I am? / In the paper, the news, every day I am. / Radio won't even play my jam. / 'Cause I am whatever you say I am. / If I wasn't, then why would I say I am? / In the paper, the news, every day I am. / I don't know, it's just the way I am."

Honorable mentions: Instagram, importance, ineffability

Photo via Flickr user ecodallaluna


If you want to have self-esteem, don’t be Jewish. It's as simple as that.

Honorable mentions: jerking off, joke (life is one), jail (avoid it)


You don't want knowledge. Remember Adam and Eve? Their lives got fucked because she ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Knowing things makes life so much worse.

Honorable mentions: kush (smoke that shit), kale (you can be a piece of shit in all other aspects of your life so long as you treat your body like a fuckin’ TEMPLE)

Photo via Flickr user Joe Bombardier


A one-time fuck makes you feel good for five days, but romantic love makes you feel good for at least double that. It also has the added advantage of making you feel like life isn’t an endless, hellish ordeal you must suffer alone.


Honorable mentions: lie (to yourself), “likes” (on Facebook), loser (you aren’t one)


Avoid mirrors at all costs. When you're walking down the street, don't stare at yourself in storefronts. You'll always catch yourself at a bad angle. The stark emotional and physical truths that angle reveals will ruin your day.

Honorable mentions: money ("You’re so…"), magic (believe in it), miracles (you are one)


Negging is a pickup-artist technique designed to make women feel so insecure that they'll have sex just to repair their damaged self-esteem. Any time you are criticized, assume you are being negged. Boss yelling at you for not having a stronger work ethic? He's probably trying to fuck you. Dentist says you don't floss enough? Man, does she want you. Girlfriend says you aren't fulfilling her emotional needs? Dang, could she be any hornier?

Honorable mentions: narcissism, neuroticism, networking


Winning an Oscar is a great way to boost your self-esteem—unless you’re Marisa Tomei and everyone thinks you didn’t really win. Then you'll probably feel like shit the rest of your life. Just like Marisa Tomei.

Honorable mentions: Oprah, Oprah’s friend Gayle, Oprah’s “spiritual partner” Stedman

Photo via Flickr user Montse PB


Judging by the sick baby photos on all those hot social media sites, pregnancy is a surefire way to get attention like no other. You're brave for being pregnant—you're beautiful, glowing, and radiant. So always be pregnant.


Honorable mentions: Psychic (consult one), perfect (you are), playing hard


Quitting is for losers. Winners never quit. You’ve worked so hard to convince yourself that you are the best, and frankly, it doesn't make sense for the best to quit. Sure you can take breaks, or put things on hold for a month or year or two. That's not quitting; that's taking a much-needed sabbatical from being a baller—as long as you get back on that horse and ride into a #WINNING sunset.

Honorable mentions: Quaaludes, Buzzfeed quizzes, Quagmire (that Family Guy character who thinks he’s the shit)


It's amazing how buying something superfluous can make you legitimately feel better about yourself. Fuck conception—life begins at $500 smartphone! Are you out of money? Can you not afford to buy the hottest gadgets anymore? Take out a loan, or ask your mom and dad for some dough. Buying is the key to happiness. That's why money exists—to make people happier.

Honorable mentions: rich (more like $elf-e$teem, am I right?), running away (from your problems), rappers (love themselves)

Photo via Flickr user Susanne Nilsson


It feels amazing to get "likes" on that sweet mug of yours. Few things can compare with the feeling of people electronically affirming that you are attractive. Look at Marilyn Monroe; she had the greatest self-esteem of all time—all because of that pretty face! You also have a pretty face… you just need some better lighting.


Honorable mentions: smile, shitty friends (the more you have, the better you feel about yourself), Shallow Hal


Therapists are pretty much surrogate parents who will ask you a bunch of questions about yourself and never interrupt you as you yell at them. They often have comfortable couches, leather-bound books, and look like Kelsey Grammer. Who wouldn't want to cry in Kelsey Grammer's arms?

Honorable mentions: "TrimSpa, baby" ("Do you like my body?"), "Treat yo self," TOUCHDOWN!!!


You know what Victoria's Secret is? She a bad bitch! No one has more confidence than the women who walk around with the word "PINK" written on the ass of their glorified sweatpants.

Honorable mentions: unattainable, upstanding citizen (you are), ugly (you ain’t)

Photo via Flickr user thephotographymuse


It always feels good to take a vacation, preferably to a place worse than where you live. A quick jaunt to Tijuana will make your studio apartment seem like the Palace of Versailles!

Honorable mentions: Vern Troyer (has fucked Playboy models), vanity, virginity (lose it)


Whining makes you feel better. This is why you blog. This is why you write think-pieces. This is why you express outrage on Twitter, even though only 224 people follow you. Those 224 people listen to you, and they call you “profound.” Ten years from now, your excessive whining will be winning you Pulitzers!


Honorable mentions: working out, working (being gainfully employed), workin’ it (on the dance floor)

Photo by Flickr User Kiran Foster


We know you only date top quality people, but you should mix it up every now and then and date a total shithead. It might suck at the time, but remember that this person will provide you with a whole lot of happiness in the future when you Facebook-stalk them and see how they’re still a failure.

Honorable mentions: channel your inner Xena/Malcolm X, X chromosome (where my ladies at?!?), X names (you’ll always be one of a kind, Xolani!)


When you surround yourself with people who, for some reason, want to agree with you on everything, suddenly all your ideas are brilliant. That’s why George W. Bush still thinks he was the best president of all time.

Honorable mentions: YOLO, yoga, "You go girl!"

Photo via Flickr user Chris Corwin


When letters A through Y fails, you can always pop a happy pill. Or listen to Pharrell’s “Happy” on repeat. That always perks us up! In related news, we have lost our minds.

Honorable mentions: Zyprexa, ziprasidone, zoo (buy one)

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