Black posing outside of a yellow walled bookshop in Venice, Italy. Let’s talk superstition

Let’s Talk Superstition

What belief is stopping you

Superstition is part of everybody’s life. It’s embedded itself into all our lives, regardless of who you are, how old you are or where you’re from. The issue here is that superstition can be negative as well as positive. Or should that be positive as well as negative? Does it make a difference? Does it really matter?

You might have felt differently depending on which word comes first – positive or negative. One feels more “right” than the other. Either way it’s a belief you hold. A belief of what fits in your world and what doesn’t. Superstition is exactly the same thing.

What is superstition? Superstition is described as an irrational belief that is widely held, based on supernatural influences, which can lead to good or bad luck. It also involves anything you actually do that’s based on that supernatural belief.

For example, if you believe that walking under ladders is bad luck, then you are likely to walk around them rather than walking under them. It’s a superstition and a belief.

In other words, every superstition that you hold is also a belief that you hold. We know that beliefs can be beneficial but we also know that beliefs can also be detrimental. It all depends on what it is we believe in and what effect that belief has on and in our life.

The Jockstrap!

Okay, it’s not the best thing to think about but it proves a point.

Take Sidney Crosby, a professional ice hockey player and captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the Canadian National Hockey League. He’s been wearing the same jock strap since the 90’s.

What about bats, balls, t-shirts, underwear and so on, that sports players wear, keep, carry ,because they feel that if they didn’t have that thing with them, on them or on them, then their “luck” would run out!

Superstitions like the number 13 (read more on that here), walking under ladders, black cats, broken paving stones, spilling salt, breaking a mirror, the evil eye – we share some of these with other nations around the world. Some are harmless, but others can have a massive impact on our own life and, consequently, on the lives of the people around us.

Take the evil eye, the belief that someone may put something like an evil spell on you. If you believe this, then it will have an effect in the way you live your life, what you do, how you do it and it will also affect your life. It will then affect the people around you because of the action or inactions you take.

But is there any basis on all these superstitions?

Fact or Fiction

My favourite example are the ladders. It makes sense not to walk under any ladders when someone is working on them. You might knock the ladders as you go past or something could drop on you by accident. Nowadays we would be talking about health and safety.

Black cats. For me it’s more a case of the fact that a black cat is hard to see at night and is more likely to get hit by a car than any other coloured cat. For some a black cat is good luck, for others bad luck. There’s the superstition that if a cat walks on a ship and then off it, then the ship will sink; this refers to the fact that cats used to be on ships to kill the mice and rats, so if the cat walked off the ship then it implied that it had a “feeling” that the ship would sink.

Mirrors were not always so easy to produce, so when someone had a mirror then they were fortunate to have the money to buy one. So if it broke then it was unlucky. Not the mirror, but the fact that the mirror broke. So the “luck” or “bad luck” became that of the object.

The point is that most superstitions tend to have a logical reason behind them and why they exist.

Can someones evil thoughts affect you? The evil eye superstition tells us that they can. In the same way, therefore, our own “protection” thoughts will protect us. Leaving only the worry that would exist with such an idea, and it is our own thoughts that affect us the most.

So what is Superstition?

Let’s go back to the description of what superstition is, specifically the words “irrational belief”. What this means is that superstition is an illogical and unreasonable belief – it’s got no leg to stand on. And I put it in the same place as “luck” – it’s an idea that we choose to believe in, or not.

How does this play out in the rest of our life?

Every belief we hold affects our decisions. What we are going to do, what we are willing to do and where we feel we ought to go.

For example, the concept of money. If you believe that money is evil, then you are likely to make up, find or create reasons, excuses and beliefs to back that up. The actual saying is that “the love of money is evil”; it implies that someone who loves money will put that first before the wellbeing of people. You will subconsciously stop yourself from moving forward, on the monetary side of things and remain in the same financial circle as you have always been. That, however, is not the only reason why we don’t move forward. There are other subconscious beliefs and fears that hold us back.

On the point of superstitions, if you believe that a black cat crossing your path is lucky… then keep it so, because it will benefit you. It’s better not to have any thought on the matter.

It’s all down to how you take it

My point is this – if you believe that a certain thing will bring you luck, then it can only benefit you. But only so far. Any concept that luck is brought on by external circumstances will be limited to those circumstances.

But if you instead believe that you simply are lucky, then you are relying on an internal factor that you have full control over.

Superstition is the same as luck. It’s a belief that we decide to hold onto, for better or worse. It’s not until we let it go, release it and just believe in our own abilities and let the world to itself (including the black cats at night) you’ll find that you are suddenly able to do more.

The hardest step is simply letting go of that superstitious belief. Look at it this way – if you were born and never told of these superstitions, would they make a difference in your life? What if you were born in another country, with other superstitions, would you then accept someone else’s superstitions because they believe in them? Makes no sense!

But that is exactly what we do. We accept someone else’s beliefs and superstitions, taking them on as our own, never questioning their validity. Then, we remain in the fear of following them because we fear not following them. A catch 22!

So we live in fear of a superstitious belief, a belief that has not real substance. Again, makes no sense!

For a day, just ONE day, pretend that you have no superstitious beliefs. That luck is only an idea and that since it’s only an idea, then you choose to be lucky. Pretend that the only person that controls those beliefs is you. You’ll find that your limitations will be much less, that more is possible.

In other words, you are in control of your luck and your superstitions.

If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.

Groucho Marx

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

Bertrand Russell

Photograph by: Nathan Riley on Unsplash

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