About a month ago my father recommended a book to me written by Émile Coué (1857- 1926) a French psychologist and pharmacist. He developed also his own method the Coué Method or also named Couéism. The book is called “Self-Mastery Through Conscious Autosuggestion” and as it only has roughly 160 pages, I therefore, sat one afternoon down and read it immediately. It was definitely worth it! As it helped me to collect some new insights I would love to share some of the most important thoughts and obviously the main message of it.
What Is Autosuggestion?
The best way to explain is to split the expression and to have first a look at the meaning of suggestion. Suggestion in psychology means the process of somebody presenting you an idea or vision and resulting in you accepting this. It’s not about persuading others or imposing views. It’s more about letting your feelings, thoughts and emotions guide by another person. The most common way how psychologist practice suggestion on their patient is by hypnotizing them. This two-step process by first putting the patient into “trance” and then “suggesting” is known to be a very fast and effective way to change the behaviour of people often concerning fears and phobias. Hypnotherapy sounds scary but if done correctly and by a person you trust, it is able to change the subconscious in a way that you alter your attitude towards something or also gain more self-esteem.
And now, we’ll come to the first part of the word – auto. This is a common prefix used also in different words like for example autoimmune disease or autofocus camera. Auto means by yourself or in other words, operating independently without needing help or support by others.
Putting now the two parts together, autosuggestion is when you can influence your own emotion, view and imagination in order to achieve something. Be it for example giving up smoking or dealing with anxieties.
The Main Message
I read this book in just one afternoon and although it was an interesting lecture there were some parts which one definitely could have skipped. Mostly those, where Coué talks about how he was able to heal all his patients by learning the the autosuggestion.
Nevertheless, there was one thought which was brought up by him many times – that a strong will is good, but having the vision is better. Those are not his exact words, but if one would paraphrase his main message one would end up with something like that.
My first thought was, that this is completely non sense. I was always told that with a strong will you are able to achieve everything. However, university thought me different. I really want to study law. But after having failed some exams the self-doubt in me grew rapidly. And my thoughts were always torn apart between: “Yes, I can do it.” and “Oh no, I messed up with an exam. How will my future exams go?” This obviously resulted in my questioning my entire studies. And this, of course, is no good.
So, after reading this novel I thought for some time about his statements. And suddenly it made all sense. I do believe that the subconscious steers our actions and we are not able to control them entirely with your consciousness.
One scenario came to my mind when I thought of his conclusion that the vision defeats the will. I’m really afraid of spiders or in general insects. But when I see a big ugly mosquito and I know I have to kill or it will sting me I visualize how I’ll be crushing it with a tissue. This helps me a lot with overcoming the fear. So, eventually, I’m able to do it, although I hate it and most importantly I’m actually not willing to do it.
Another situation, which I just came up while writing this post, was the time when I visited a self-defence class in primary school. Imagine little Elaine, shy and timid has to punch and break a wooden board into two pieces with only her bare hands. And of course, the instructor chose me to try first. He gave me only one advice: “Imagine how it would feel to break this wooden board by only hitting it with your right hand. Just visualize and it will work, I’l promise.” The first time I tried I was so nervous that I simply forgot to imagine what I should be doing. However, with second try I was successful and I was able before hitting the board to visualize my action. I have to say this was quite impressive as I only was 10 years old. Obviously, it wasn’t a very thick wooden board but it’s more about the realization that one should not underestimate one’s vision.
How To Incorporate It Into Your Everyday Life
Personally, for me, I would love to use this method of visualizing things for my exams. I strongly believe that if you start a test with a good and confident feeling you’ll be much calmer solving all the tasks.
A great way to picture your own aims is either to write it down or if you’re more artistic and good at drawing why not create a so-called “Vision Board”. If you need some inspiration on how to design one you can just head to Pinterest and search for it, as they are still quite trending and all over the place. I made my own vision board but it’s definitely not ready to share with you, as it is not complete at all 🙂 Unfortunately, I really have a lot of things to do at the moment, so I’ll be just writing my visions down for now.
And keep in mind, whenever you achieved something, be it so little, like for example you learned one chapter or you fulfilled one task, try to be proud of yourself! Because we all tend to be very self-critical and this is okay to some extent but it can stop you very soon from achieving all the things you want.
So be proud of yourself and your results!