Superstition doesn’t just have to do with black cats crossing our paths or our walking under ladders. For many of us, there are superstitious thoughts and feelings that we have and hold onto on a daily basis. In other words, we may develop certain ways of saying and doing things that we’ve been accustomed to doing for many years and have come to be dependent on in order to function to our capacities.
I remember while I was coaching 6-8 year olds in hockey or baseball. It was not unusual that the teams were not as proficient as others who would beat their pants off on a regular basis. My concern was not with winning. Moreover, it was with regard to the emotional well-being of my players who, naturally, would become very disenchanted about the game and their personal and team’s esteem went down the tubes. With the hockey teams, I realized that I had to do something to bolster their spirits in light of the fact that they weren’t as athletically endowed as some of the other teams. And so, one day in the locker room after another sound defeat, I ordered them to wear the same underwear and socks for the rest of the season. Yes, mothers, I allowed those garments to be washed but they had to become an integral part of their dressing up for every practice and game nevertheless.
This superstitious antic indeed did bolster their spirits but moreover, they began to meld more closely as a team and, believe it or not, they began to win a few games. In addition, some of those games were against teams that had beaten them too badly in the past. As far as I was concerned, we had a winning season and at the final get together of a banquet, each and every player … no matter what their ability or role on the team was … was given an individual trophy and a personal accolade that expressed their qualities and contribution to the team. For many years thereafter, if I were to meet one of those youngsters …now grown into adolescence … in a grocery store or on the street, they would recount with great enthusiasm what those experiences meant to them in their growing up years. That was certainly my personal sense of gratification … all because of a small superstitious involvement.
There’s a flip side to the coin, however. Some people hold onto superstitious thoughts and feelings to support patterns in their lives that aren’t good for them. The problem is that they become overly dependent on the superstition believing that they cannot live without its being practiced. I assure you that those youngsters have started wearing different underclothing and socks! An adult might say something like “I’ve been doing it this way my whole life and I’m not about to change now.” In my opinion, it’s not so much that they are resisting change. It’s more that they are afraid of giving up that which feels most comfortable to them. Cigarette smoking or overeating might be examples of this phenomenon. Both habits and behavioral patterns bring a sense of satisfaction and comfort which an individual may realize is harming them physically and emotionally but the need to hang onto the ritualistic behaviors supersedes any sense of reality. Even attempts at changing them with all their good intentions may not have sufficient motivation for their attempts to become fruitful.
This can become very frustrating and people may look for an easy way out of their dilemma but unless they are willing to fact the actual problem … namely their addictions have more to do with their superstitious beliefs that what they’re doing is “good for them” in the long run despite the reality of the harm that those behaviors are causing.
Therefore,, you can take your pick! What are your superstitions? How well are they serving you? Which do you feel you want to keep? Moreover, which ones are you willing to give up? These are choices that only YOU can make. Hopefully they will be made in a timely manner so that the future will be filled with abundant happiness and health instead of reminiscent regrets of what could have been.
(23 April 2014)
Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at www.charlesmbonasera.com.