ART BY MEGAN LIEN
By CHRISTINA QUACH
Although there seems to be no basis for many superstitions, many people believe that such beliefs will lead to certain events or actions. Take the phrase, “knock on wood,” for instance. Despite there being no rationale about how knocking on wood prevents people from “jinxing” themselves, people still readily do it.
Consequently, there are individuals who view superstitions as ridiculous, because others are blindly following superstitious beliefs without understanding the context behind them, or, if they do understand the reasoning, it is too outlandish to be true.
However, what people do not realize is that superstitions, when practiced in moderation, are beneficial to those who believe in them, because they help promote a healthier outlook on life.
For instance, superstitions help people cope with difficult emotions in unpredictable environments. Certain superstitious gestures, such as crossing your fingers or tossing salt over your shoulder, help people feel more protected from “bad luck.” By believing they can control and lessen the uncertainty of their actions, it, therefore, reduces their stress and anxiety, while also raising their confidence.
In addition, being superstitious creates a sense of optimism. By avoiding certain actions that people perceive as dangerous— walking under ladders and opening umbrellas indoors— they believe that they are preventing all possible negative events that may occur. As a consequence, people are able to focus on the more positive things in life, since they are not constantly dwelling over the unfortunate events they believe would occur otherwise.
Contrary to the suspicions and disbelief, most superstitions are generally harmless and help people establish a more worthwhile lifestyle. For instance, karma promotes kindness— people believe that if their actions create a positive influence, good things will happen to them as a result and vice versa. By encouraging the belief of their actions garnering similar outcomes, people are more inclined to do good rather than bad, thus, proving that some superstitions are not as absurd as people make them out to be.
While moderate belief in superstition is helpful, when people let these superstitions dominate their lives, the results may be detrimental. For example, many people are scared of leaving their house on Friday the 13th because of the negative connotation surrounding it. By basing their decisions around superstition rather than fact, people form certain beliefs that hinder their daily lives and interferes with their potential to have a more productive life. There is always a fine line between what is enough and what is too much—when people inconvenience others around them by trying to avoid certain superstitious beliefs.
While many superstitions may seem ridiculous, they do help in more trivial matters besides the obvious, such as controlling the outcomes of certain events. Despite the fact that superstitions may not get you an immediate and evident outcome, you will receive a result nonetheless, so cross your fingers!