In the movie Six Years, a young couple has been happily togeth er, till friends start asking them what it really has been like to stick together that long! Does that mean they have never had sex with anyone else? Has the sex got boring? Do they feel stifled?
And a perfectly happy, idealistic relationship starts fraying at the edges with those questions. Melanie and Dan drift apart. The power of suggestion has worked. Stray comments from friends have worked their way into their subconscious and played a negative role. Now, they start wondering what it would be really like with someone else. Now, they start feeling constricted.

A smart and timely suggestion can sometimes be far more powerful than a full-throttled attempt at convincing another

Smart people use the power of suggestion as a highly effective manipulative technique ­ far more so than a full frontal assault. Open criticism or pulling down another leaves you exposed as well, robbing you of the semblance of objectivity. Mild suggestions, on the other hand, have the power of lodging themselves securely in the mind of the hearer, while leaving you blame-free.

So, a smart wife will never call the woman her husband seems interested in, `ugly’, `a hussy’ or `worse’. Instead, she may slyly draw his attention to her coarse voice, unsightly feet or lack of sophistication. A smart guy trying to woo away a woman from another man will subtly draw parallels to show himself the better, more understanding and sensitive man. At office, smart people throw subtle hints that may work against a rival, casually mentioning critical negatives while making sure to praise their other, less relevant traits.It is the fools who launch obvious attacks.SUGGESTION

Suggestions can play a highly positive role as well. Have you noticed how your chest swells with pride when someone places faith in you with, `I know you can do this’? Such suggestions are particularly effective when they come from those who believe in and love us. A mother who sends her child to an exam with the words, “I know you will do really well“, has encrypted the success code already into the child’s subconscious.And the same child uses the same technique when heshe tells parents fighting illness and age, “You have been my strength; I know you have it in you to fight back and come up trumps!“ The subconscious works on whatever it accepts. Fortified with a positive suggestion, we believe in our own power that much more ­ and with that, half the battle is won.When someone suggests a deep belief in us casually, we rise to meet that expectation. Similarly, a negative suggestion has a negative impact. “This is going to be really painful“ already sends the message of pain to the mind. “I wonder if you can clear this exam“ has settled the seed of doubt in your mind.

You can also make positive or negative suggestions to yourself. The words we use matter since it is these that are decoded by the mind and taken as gospel by the subconscious.So, “Drive safe“ works better than “Don’t bang up the car!“. And “I would like to see you in the Top 10“ works better for a child rather than “Make sure you are not amongst the bottom 10!“ And for a lover, “Remember me every day“ works better than “Don’t forget me“.

Rabble-rousers and troublemakers use this technique of suggestion as incitement to violence, revolt or even murder, as in the Dadri mob lynching. So do some parts of irresponsible media, especially audiovisual media.

However, in order to reach the subconscious, a suggestion has to cross the barrier of the Conscious Mind, which is the critical gatekeeper. It is important to use the services of this gatekeeper and allow only positive suggestions past the barrier. Negative suggestions must be barred entry and positive suggestions given credibility by repeating them.

Suggestions work almost like a hypnosis ­ positive or negative, once the subconscious accepts these, it works them out. The good news is that we control the suggestions we give credence to.