Risper Wanja Njagi
5 min readNov 11, 2022

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A writer’s Lamentations

What are the very worst thoughts you have had about yourself?

I do not how much this qualifies as an article, but perhaps it shall be a personal journal of all the horrible things I have thought about myself. Naturally, we remember what happens more recently than in the past. In the present I am experiencing such a “recent” horrible moment, so these bad thoughts are more prominent.

Often times we think the worst things about ourselves when we have failed, or when we regret something still fresh in our minds, or when deals do not go our way. Basically, if you observe, your worst thoughts about yourself usually have context. You would be careful not to make the worst conclusions about who you are from a recent bad experience or decision, those thoughts are barely reflective of your truth, but rather, reflective of a singular moment. Who we are at our core is not defined by our worst moments. Anyhow, back to “Lamenting”.

I used to have this thing when I was young(er), that for people to do great things, they must be “doing great” in their lives. Applying this to writing, I used to think that writers, especially motivational writers, write all those motivational things because they are very driven, and focused, and they live out everything they write. I do not know where my thoughts originated, I just know I have struggled with writing articles that do not feel authentic to me. I refer to how I “feel” a lot, perhaps this is a problem, but if it is then I am in trouble for life I guess, I have been a feeler all my life.

Actually this is good as it is reminding me of a personality test I took sometime back, the Myer Briggs personality test. It described me as an ENFP — Meaning Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeler and perceptive. I think if you have read up to this point and you have not taken a personality test, you could try it out. It may help you partly understand why you are the way you are.

Anyhow, back to lamentations. I think my first lamentation is I wish I were less a feeler, and more a thinker. I think we have all come across advice to the effect that we should leave our emotions out of everything we do. Being someone that has previously seen advice (especially motivational speakers) as condemnation pointing out what I am doing wrong, any advice saying to “leave emotions out of it” has felt like a condemnation of my whole person, because the first thing I naturally do is feel. I do sometimes honestly wish I weren’t such a feeler.

Anyhow, now, if you have still stayed on, I know you are wondering where the “worst things” I have thought about myself are…I’ll just honestly do a list, and perhaps later burn it. But for now, before I share the worst things I have though about myself, I would like to go back to the point on “perfect writer, perfect life”.

I think it is highly unfair for us to think that we only shall be qualified for something if we are perfect at it. It is unfair to me to stop using my gift of writing just because my life is not perfect. I think it will be highly unfair to yourself to wait for the day you are “perfect” in whatever your field is so you can start showing up. Well, here I am, a writer, with a bit of published work, and my life is anything but roses. Here I am writing in this moment, and I am not in my best. I hope you are encouraged to show up, regardless of the state of your mind about yourself… it counts that you show up.

One of the best advice(haha, that didn’t feel condemnatory) I have heard recently is “Be happy on your way to happy”. This is from the Author and Actor of Black-ish, Jenifer Lewis in her book, “Spreading my joy in these streets.” I loved it because we often think we shall be happier when we get “there”, but the only consistent thing in today’s “here” and the future’s “there” is you, you are “here” as you will be “there”, so perhaps the thing to work on is not things but actually ourselves.

So worst things I have felt/thought about myself: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Well, dear reader, I have written them down, but couldn’t bring myself to publishing them. First, because I realize how negative they are. Two, some of them are just so horrible, I do not believe I could say that of myself if thinking with a clear mind. Thirdly because I realize that is not who I am, nor want to be, they are just momentary distorted self reviews off of a single event, but the sounds like a general truth about me, but which I know is untrue. We would be careful not to GENERALLY judge ourselves off of our worst experience or decision, it is just frustration that is untrue of our true truth. Lastly, I have read it , from the perspective of a reader, and those are not words about myself I want to see in the world, they are not even words I deserve to say to myself in private.

However, I like that I have written them. It makes me feel like the worst thoughts are finally out and expressed, now there can be room for me to remind myself the eternal truths about me, and none of them are in the language or vocabulary of these worst thoughts.

Honestly, I think you should try the exercise yourself, then take time to read it in the perspective of someone else and see just how unfair you could be being to yourself. But to not waste your time, I think one of my biggest Lamentations is that I wish I could erase my entire life, and start afresh all over. I especially feel this when I have had what I consider a “major” fail.

I guess I should encourage you to think your worst, write it down, then burn it. Then start a list of the facts about you, that do not sound like your “worst” list. You will not get a chance to start over, no, that will never happen. You cannot “start over afresh” minus the record of previous fails or moments you wish would be erased as part of your history for good, but you and I do have fresh time tough. Fresh next new hour, fresh next half day, fresh tomorrow. That’s a new opportunity to “start all over again”, in your own terms.

I pray you find courage to start over, kindly this time. Kinder to yourself.

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Risper Wanja Njagi

I write about re-finding ourselves, and everything in between; trauma, rejection, acceptance, healing, mental health