April 22, 2012(Mainichi Japan)
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: Give a word of thanks, even if it's not heartfelt
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:演技でも感謝の一言を /東京

A busy April has begun, and I feel that in my consultation room I am seeing more people complaining of being frustrated or unable to calm down.

Some people say they have become more likely to break out in anger at home or in the office.

They all think that things mustn't remain as they are, but they can't seem to calm down their feelings.

At those times, if someone close to them gave some kind words like "things are always tough, aren't they?" or "take it easy sometimes," they would surely feel better.

Their wound up feelings would loosen, and just from that they might feel like half their exhaustion was gone.

However, busy people are usually surrounded by people who are "busier," who can't stop to talk.

In my consultation room, one woman told me that when she returned from her busy workplace, she hurried to make dinner.

When her husband would get home at night, he would say things like, "What, today's another vegetable stirfry? Let me eat something more refreshing once in a while."

The woman would find herself snapping back with things like, "This morning you didn't throw out the garbage, did you!? Even though I asked several times."
すると女性も思わず、「今朝、ごみ出ししてくれなかったでしょ! あんなに頼んだのに」ととがめてしまう。

"Actually, I want to say, 'you must be tired from your late work,' and I want to have the same said to me.

But I can't say it.

Instead we criticize each other's mistakes," she told me.

When we're tired, instead of words like "thank you," we tend to want to say things like, "Why don't you do such-and-such?" or "Do more of such-and-such," complaining or demanding.

This is the same for anybody, no matter how high their position or how clever they are.

However, during these times, I expect that anyone can stop themselves and ask whether that is what the other person wants to hear.

As soon as we see each other, rather than criticizing or complaining, we should first smile and say something nice.

Some people may say, "I can't say something I don't feel," but isn't it OK even if it's an act?

When we give kind words, we start to feel true feelings of thanks.

If there is something we want to complain about, the other person will later listen to us.

First, we should look in the mirror and practice saying "thank you." It's OK to start by putting on an act.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2012年04月17日 地方版