Some people get freaked out by Friday the 13th. Not my sister, though. Her June 13th birthday has fallen more than once on a Friday, so she considers it a lucky day. But according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Ashville, N.C., about 21 million people are afraid of this day. And an estimated $800 million is lost in business every Friday the 13th because people won’t fly or do business they would normally do.
Some people are just superstitious. Maybe they heard years ago from a parent or grandparent that something bad was more likely to happen on a Friday the 13th. Or that if they broke a mirror, walked under a ladder or crossed paths with a black cat, more bad luck was on the way. And if that’s what they expect, then chances are that will be their experience.
I”ve learned that our perceptions – how we interpret what we see and the conclusions we draw from that about ourselves, others and the world – all depend on our beliefs. And the process happens quite automatically.
A belief is simply anything we accept as truth. And it’s our beliefs that shape our experience. For example, if I believe a visit to the DMV will frustrate me, then most likely it will. Or if I believe a friend will disappoint me, then probably they will. And then my frustration or disappointment – or bad luck on particular calendar day – will, in turn, reinforce my belief.
But just because we believe something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. So beliefs can be limiting. I do my own routine belief checks. Here’s one I’ve had to work on: Religious people are homophobic haters.
That was my first thought when a cousin told me her son was going into the ministry. And it’s often the first thing that still crosses my mind when I walk past a church. But I catch myself every time. I remember that not everyone who goes to church believes in “original sin” or holds the belief that being gay is an “abomination.”
And trust me, anytime I think I’m not a good enough parent or sibling or friend or writer, I put the mental breaks on pronto. I certainly don’t want to reinforce any of those ideas!
We all have the ability to change how we think about ourselves and our life situations. It’s new habits of thought that allow us to grow, expand, and develop more fulfilling and satisfying lives.
So this preachy mom is now looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. You know, the day everyone’s a little bit Irish. And that’s certainly lucky, right?
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