When one sees politicians on television, one of the first things that come to mind is how young they all seem. In actual fact though, many party leaders are in their 60s, and even the politicians who are referred to as "youngsters" are in their late 50s. There are also some in their late 70s. They all seem to speak confidently and stride ahead in a reassured manner, often pursued by a pack of reporters.
People of various different professions come into my psychiatric clinic, but I've hardly ever met anyone "involved in politics." If you count all the people working in local authorities as well, it can be argued that there is a high number of people working in politics. Yet don't they easily develop insomnia or depression?
Once, a retired politician taught me the following: "Politicians have a strong desire to advance their careers, become ministers, and win elections. As long as people have desires, they can maintain an interest in life."
When I first heard this, I was slightly disappointed because I had been under the impression that "politicans work for voters." Yet at the same time, it made sense. Politicians don't doubt themselves. They regard themselves as suitable candidates for becoming ministers and give speeches telling people to vote for them. If a politician were to come across as meek, and say something like, "I'm not that confident, but it would be greatly appreciated if you could vote for me," then it becomes difficult to vote for that person.
It can be argued that "confidence" and "desires" are the keys to staying youthful and energetic. However, if one is overconfident and too ambitious, then that can start to bother other people. When people are faced with someone like this, fierce competition and fights can develop -- which can lead to the collapse of work and family relationships.
However, now and again, it might be a good thing to copy the behavior of politicians. Try not to be too modest, and think to yourself quietly: "I am someone who can definitely contribute to society. Stick with me." It might even be a good idea to imagine that you're smiling and waving to voters in the buildup to an election. By doing this, your confidence should gradually rise, and you will start to feel your back muscles straightening.
Of course, candidates involved in real elections take the whole thing very seriously. However, I think that there is no harm in pretending to be in an election, in a lighthearted manner, in order to keep your spirits up.
So how about watching political stories on the news and learning a few things from politicians? It might be good for your soul. (By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)