The astrologer appeared stricken as she looked at the zodiac-based tarot card before her. After pausing to digest it, she told me, “There are many people who enjoy it when you fail.”
At the time of that astrology session, which was several years ago, I had just broken up with a girlfriend. I was in court with business partners, navigating a stalled career and watching my savings dwindle. The reading was an impulsive visit I made while walking up Amsterdam Avenue in New York City one night after a first date that wasn’t going to lead to another.
An elderly woman in a housecoat greeted me with lukewarm black tea and an open question: “What’s on your mind?”
I told her my story, and what I hoped to learn: “When will I feel better?”
She explained how she combined tarot with astrology and started organizing, rearranging, and pulling cards in a blur. After she pulled the card with the bad news, I was rattled. I left to ruminate over the discovery that people enjoy my failure all weekend (because that’s my thing).
During a visit to my therapist soon after, I told him how the reading consumed me. Did I have personality traits that elicited resentment? Did I do something to deserve this? Was something wrong with me?
My Therapist Says Think of the Best-Case Scenario
Instead of focusing on worst-case outcomes that are already highly unlikely, why not consider the total opposite?
He leaned forward, took off his glasses, and said, “Screw the astrologers.” He told me I had other things to work on without adding this to the pile and that he needed to disabuse me of this new worry.
He brought up what we focused on often during our sessions: I listen to everyone! And I take what everyone says as truth. Friends, girlfriends, mentors, bosses, authority figures. And now, a storefront sage. Absorbing what people tell me as marching orders versus an opinion was…