Superstitions, a phenomenon spanning the globe, can seem peculiar and even outlandish, but most of us have bought into one or two of them. A glance at the listed superstitions raises an intriguing question: Are believing in superstitions harmful or beneficial to your life? The answer can swing in both directions. Let’s look at 10 of the most popular superstitions in the Western world and how they can affect your life in both good and bad ways.
10 Common Superstitions And How They Affect Our Lives
1. Knocking on Wood
Here’s how to keep the universe from getting too cocky when things are going your way. For example, just finished bragging about your lottery win? Give that old wooden table a friendly tap, and you’re all set!
This superstition can be good for you in a few ways. By knocking on wood, you’re acknowledging that things are going well. You’re also reminding yourself to be humble and grateful for good luck when it comes your way.
On the other hand, constantly knocking on wood can become a compulsive behavior and may even lead to anxiety if not done every single time something good is happening. So, make sure to keep this superstition in check and use it sparingly.
2. Walking Under a Ladder
Did you know that simply walking beneath a ladder is considered a major no-no? It’s steeped in the belief that it invites misfortune and calamity. So, unless you’re a thrill-seeker courting disaster, it might be wise to steer clear of this one! Or at least, that’s the superstition.
This positive effect of this superstition can be attributed to a practical reason. Walking under a ladder can actually be physically dangerous, especially if someone is working on the ladder above. So, while it may seem like a silly superstition, it’s not a bad idea to avoid walking under ladders for safety reasons.
But, on the negative side, being terrified to walk under a ladder because it can ruin your life, can also be detrimental to your mental health. Especially if you ever are forced to walk under a ladder! If there is nowhere else to walk, and you believe in this superstition enough, you could end up bringing yourself misfortune simply because you believe you are going to attract it. You will look for it. You will expect it. And you will find it because you will be so focused on something bad happening to you.
3. Breaking a Mirror
It’s said that breaking a mirror will bring you seven years of bad luck. This superstition is believed to have originated from ancient Rome when mirrors were considered to be reflections of one’s soul. Therefore, breaking a mirror was thought to damage the soul and bring about bad luck.
But don’t worry, this long-held superstition does have some silver lining. In some cultures, it is believed that if you collect all the broken pieces of the mirror and bury them under the light of a full moon, the seven years of bad luck can be avoided. So, if you do happen to break a mirror, and this superstition has you petrified, then just follow through with the ritual of burying the pieces on the next full moon.
Can this superstition have a positive effect on your life? Well, it could help you be careful around mirrors. Breaking a mirror can be dangerous as it creates sharp shards that could potentially cause harm. Therefore, it’s always better to handle mirrors with care and avoid the risk of breaking them in the first place.
The negative aspect of this superstition only happens when someone actually breaks a mirror. Seven years is a long time, and if someone buys into this superstition, they could set themselves up for a very engrained negative mindset of fear and worry that affects all aspects of their life negativity.
Moreover, when something goes wrong, a person can simply point out that they once broke a mirror and that’s the catalyst for anything that goes wrong, which causes them to not take ownership over mistakes and poor choices.
4. Black Cats Crossing Your Path
The superstition goes like this: If a black cat prances across your path it’s a sign of mischief and mayhem to come! This superstition may have originated from the Middle Ages when black cats were associated with witchcraft and dark magic. However, today we know that black cats are just as lovable and harmless as any other feline.
However, there are also cultures where black cats are considered to bring good luck. For example, in Japan, it is believed that a black cat crossing your path brings prosperity and good fortune.
So which superstition is right? This is a good example of how a superstition is just that… a superstition. It’s a belief that stems from gossip or fear or a collective belief.
Is there a positive aspect to believing in this superstition? No. It’s simply a myth that has been debunked with time and evidence. In fact, believing in this superstition can lead to irrational fear towards black cats, which may result in mistreatment or avoidance of these animals.
So next time a black cat crosses your path, don’t automatically assume it’s bad luck. Instead, take a moment to appreciate the beauty and mystery of these amazing creatures. Who knows, maybe they’ll bring some unexpected good fortune your way!
5. Opening an Umbrella Indoors
Pop open that umbrella indoors, and you’re doomed! According to this superstition, you might be in for an unexpected roller coaster ride of bad luck, or even worse, find yourself knocking on heaven’s door!
But where did this superstition come from? One theory suggests that during the Victorian era, umbrellas were seen as a symbol of wealth and social status. Opening one indoors was considered disrespectful to the household and could potentially bring harm to those present.
Besides making someone who cares about water dripping in their home happy by opening it outside, believing in this superstition does no good.
In fact, like other superstitions, believe in this superstition can cause you to be punish yourself if you ever have to open an umbrella indoors and even attract bad lack as you believe it’s coming and look for it.
The fact is that many people open umbrellas indoors without any consequences whatsoever.
6. Friday the 13th
This particular date is steeped in a spine-chilling brew of superstition and fear. Yes, we are speaking of none other than Friday the 13th, a day that carries the thunderous echo of misfortune in its wake.
This date, marked on our collective calendars, is shrouded in an eerie aura, drenched in a cocktail of anxiety, suspense, and a dash of dread.
Those with a superstitious disposition may find themselves tiptoeing around with bated breath, half expecting a black cat to cross their path or perhaps a mirror to shatter inexplicably.
It’s a day that some believe is curiously cursed, a 24-hour spell of uncanny, unsettling bad luck.
Where did this superstition come from? The truth is, we’re not entirely sure. Many theories abound, from Norse gods to the Last Supper—but one thing’s for certain: it leaves a lasting impression on many, ushering in days and weeks of nervous anticipation at its mere mention.
For example, in numerology, the number 12 is considered complete and perfect – there are 12 months in a year, 12 zodiac signs, and even 12 hours on a clock. Then comes along the number 13, an odd-numbered interloper that just doesn’t seem to fit. Some believe that this combination of numbers creates an imbalance or disruption in the natural order. And when you add Friday into the mix, a day considered unlucky by many cultures due to its association with Jesus’ crucifixion and execution, it becomes a potent potion of bad luck.
But is there any evidence to support this superstition? Well, that depends on how you look at it.
On one hand, some may say that the belief in Friday the 13th’s curse is purely psychological – people tend to see what they want to see and notice patterns where there are none. For instance, if you’ve ever worked at a hospital, you know that Friday the 13th seems to be busier with weirder cases than normal.
Perhaps this is a case of collective belief? If we all believe something enough, then we may subconsciously make it come true.
The truth is that for most people, Friday the 13th is just like any other day, except they notice it more than other days. So, anything negative that happens, gets written off as a result of the day.
The only way this superstition could have a negative impact on your life is if you let it consume you and allow fear to control your actions throughout the day.
7. Finding a Four-Leaf Clover
For the superstitious, finding a four-leaf clover is often seen as a sign of good fortune and prosperity. The four-leaf clover is a rare variation of the three-leaf clover, and according to tradition, each leaf of the clover represents a different positive attribute: hope, faith, love, and luck.
The chance of encountering a four-leaf clover is about 1 in 10,000, which has led many to believe the discovery of one to be a lucky omen. It’s an indication that good things are to come and that any obstacles in your path will be overcome with ease.
Just like Friday the 13th, the belief in the luck of a four-leaf clover is a fascinating example of how our perceptions can shape our reality.
Some may argue that finding a four-leaf clover is simply a matter of probability and has no real effect on your luck. But the power of belief is not to be underestimated.
If you believe in the good fortune brought by a four-leaf clover, it can boost your confidence and mindset, making you more likely to take chances and make positive changes in your life.
But let’s say you step over it and your friend finds it. Well, then it becomes a symbol of bad luck for you because you weren’t fortunate enough to find it. This can cause self-blame, jealousy, and other emotions that are not good for your life.
So, whether you find a four-leaf clover or not, it’s important to remember that our beliefs and perceptions have the power to shape our reality and bring us luck, whether or not we found the four-leaf clover.
8. Crossing Your Fingers
This gesture is so natural now that most of us don’t realize it’s a superstition.
Crossing your fingers is a common gesture used to wish for good luck or success. The origins of this superstition can be traced back to early Christianity, where the sign of the cross was believed to protect oneself from evil. Over time, crossing one’s fingers has become associated with luck and has been incorporated into daily actions such as making a wish before blowing out birthday candles.
The gesture is also used when taking a test, going on a job interview, or when waiting for news on an important matter. Although it may seem like a simple action, the power of positive thinking and belief in good luck can make crossing your fingers more than just a superstition.
This superstition can have a positive effect on our lives. When we cross our fingers, we are essentially sending positive energy and intentions into the universe, raising our energy levels, and creating a sense of hope and optimism. By believing in our own luck and success, we are more likely to take action towards achieving our goals and making positive changes in our lives.
Moreover, crossing your fingers can also serve as a reminder to stay hopeful and optimistic in uncertain situations. It’s a physical gesture that helps us hold onto faith and positivity when things may seem out of our control.
Can the superstition have a negative effect on your life? Not necessarily. We all know that it’s not a sure thing.
The act of crossing your fingers is generally harmless and can be a helpful tool in manifesting our desires and attracting positive energy. However, it’s important to keep in mind that relying solely on luck may not always lead us down the best path. It’s essential to put effort and hard work into achieving our goals, rather than just hoping for good luck to come our way.
9. Saying ‘Bless You’ After a Sneeze
This superstition has many versions, but the most popular one dates back to the 6th century when Pope Gregory believed that sneezing was a sign of plague and would say ‘God bless you’ to protect people from dying.
It’s also been seen as a way to prevent someone’s soul from escaping and a way to ward off evil spirits.
Nowadays, saying ‘bless you’ after someone sneezes is seen as a polite courtesy. But some still believe that it’s important to say it in order to protect the sneezer from evil spirits and such.
The positive effect from this superstition is that it promotes kindness and empathy towards others. It’s a small gesture that shows we care about the well-being of those around us. And even though we may not believe in any specific religious or spiritual meaning behind saying ‘bless you’, the intention behind the phrase is still a positive one, promoting goodwill and positivity.
However, like all superstitions, this one also has its negative side. Some may see it as a meaningless gesture or a forced social norm, and some can even feel offended if someone doesn’t say ‘bless you’ after their sneeze. And in some cultures, the expectation to say ‘bless you’ can lead to unnecessary pressure and discomfort for both the sneezer and the person hearing it.
At the end of the day, whether or not we choose to say ‘bless you’ after a sneeze is a personal choice. But if we do decide to adhere to this superstition, let’s remember that it’s ultimately about showing kindness and empathy towards others, rather than just following a tradition blindly.
10. Tossing Salt Over Your Left Shoulder
Another common superstition is the act of tossing salt over your left shoulder if you accidentally spill it. This may stem from a Mahayana Buddhist tradition where salt is believed to ward off evil spirits, and after a funeral, it’s thrown over the left shoulder to prevent evil spirits from following.
There are many different superstitions about salt, but the common thread is the belief that if you spill salt, it brings bad luck. Luckily for us, when the ol’ luck seems to have taken the wrong turn, a pinch of salt tossed over our left shoulder can steer it right back on a fortuitous path!
The only positive aspect of this superstition is the belief it brings. If you believe that throwing salt over your left shoulder will bring good luck, then it might just give you a sense of peace and comfort.
The only negative aspect of this superstition is wasting salt.
How Does Believing In Superstitions Affect Your Life?
So, as you can see, superstitions can range from harmless and fun to outright ridiculous. But regardless of their validity, they do have an impact on our thoughts and actions.
Superstitious beliefs can bring a sense of comfort and control in uncertain situations. For example, knocking on wood or carrying a lucky charm may make us feel more at ease when we are feeling anxious about losing good luck.
On the other hand, superstitions can also lead to irrational fears and anxieties. Constantly worrying about breaking a mirror or opening an umbrella indoors can negatively affect our mental well-being.
Moreover, blindly following superstitions can prevent us from taking responsibility for our own actions and outcomes. Instead of working hard towards achieving our goals, we may rely on lucky charms or rituals to bring us success.
In some cases, superstitions can also create division and discrimination.
Overall, it’s important to recognize that while superstitions may seem harmless, they can have a significant impact on our lives. It’s up to us to critically evaluate their validity and not let them control our thoughts and behaviors.
So next time you find yourself tempted by a superstition, take a moment to reflect on its impact and make a conscious decision about whether or not to believe in it. After all, the power of belief lies within each one of us.