Collectively we seem to think about superstition as an archaic word. A word that is affiliated with black cats, breaking mirrors, walking under ladders, and Friday the 13th seems to be a bit archaic after all. However, superstitions are broader than the folklore. They are personal.
So what about your superstitions, are they helpful or destructive?
Superstitions are a great example of our belief systems at work. We believe something so strongly that it influences our thoughts and actions.
When we find a challenge to that belief, we search out, and find justification to support our ego and be right. No matter how a belief formulates, it is nearly impossible to change. If you think this is false, try to convince someone with a fear of spiders that it is ok to visit face-to-face with one.
So, you are wondering; how is this an everyday life thing?
Let me start with a business example. I once had a hiring manager who would send someone out to look at a candidates’ car. A person with a neat and organized car, he considered having an organized and clean character. Hiring someone without a clean vehicle would result in a staffing mistake. Clearly, this is a complete superstition. There is no evidence to show a car’s cleanliness can predict whether a person can do a job. This example is a personal superstition. (What if it is not their car?)
Socially people make these superstitious judgments also. Think about your horoscope. Something similar to, “If your moon is in Aries, don’t go on a date.” Well, it was something like that. I went anyway. Maybe that is why it didn’t stick. (Or maybe, it was because he was a little too hung up on his car.)
People have superstitions that result in actions and beliefs. I know a guy who has lucky underwear. Another man I know has socks that have special powers over blonds. I know women who would not be a bridesmaid more than twice. There is the salt over the shoulder thing. (I do that one. It is better to be safe, right?)
So, what does it matter?
Superstitions are within your control. Acknowledging that superstitions are influencing your thoughts and decisions is personal growth. Because destructive superstitions simply need to go away.
Destructive superstitions are those beliefs that prohibit positive actions and thoughts. People believe and dig in their heels to the point that this belief is true and real despite real evidence of authentic correlation. Sometimes people remain dug in despite logical rebuttals. Take, for example, all men are hyper-sexual hounds, or all women are looking for a sugar daddy. Let’s not take for granted the harm extreme conspiracy theories or dark magic bring to people. These superstitions are harmful and hurt people as we formulate our approach and connection with people based on beliefs. A superstition can hold people back from finding or building authentic relationships.
Helpful superstitions are those beliefs that provide hope and positive actions. Our brains are continually trying to make sense of disorder and resolve fears. So, positive superstitions give your brain hope and reasoning in an illogical place. For example, having a frog in your garden or wearing Amazonian quartz is good luck. Or personally, when I see a bright pink sunset, in my mind, it is my sister sending a message from heaven. This is helpful to an uneasy mind. Plus, a little bit of magic is fun, stretches the mind, in addition to navigating a fear or sadness. These things are mostly harmless, fun to talk about, and make great gifts. My friend Cynthia once gave me a money tree. It’s still growing, whew! ;) Hopeful superstitions are more easily abandoned. The mindset, or rather the mind game, that gets you through a hard time is valuable.
Check your superstitions and your beliefs. Ask yourself if this belief is helpful or hurtful to myself or others. Changing your superstitions (your beliefs) is difficult, but possible. Just ask the people who did the work, and are recovering from spider phobia. (If you need a referral let me know.)
Check your superstitions by asking
  1. Is my belief helpful? If yes, carry on. If no, consider a change.
  2. Am I just trying to be right? If no, carry on. If yes, consider a change.
  3. Is there any math that supports my belief? Am I manipulating math to be right?
  4. Is this just my experience? If yes, carry on. If no, consider a change.
  5. Would a change help or hurt you? I do not mean to hurt you, as you will bleed. Instead, does it help you improve your relationships, or does it create a divide?
Always consider growing an option or talking it through with someone else to have a little assessment. You can be more open to others, opportunities, and relationships if you manage your superstitions.
So, in the spirit of the season, what are your superstitions?