Toxic Positivity and Tarot

Be Happy!

Isn’t that just one of the most annoying things someone can say to you when you feeling anything but? Society has us convinced that we should be happy and grateful all the time, 24/7. This is nothing new of course. The idea of the good old British stiff upper lip is an extension of this concept. But what if you aren’t happy? Should you hide this? Is positive thinking really the answer to all of your woes?

To be honest, no. Now I need to say that I’m very much in favour of a positive attitude. But this idea that you need to be constantly happy is dangerous. Often it’s delusional and a while you might think you’re doing yourself a favour, what you’re actually doing is hiding from your problems instead of dealing with them. This is Toxic Positivity. Sometimes you need to do that. You need to put them to one side and say “Not today”. This is good, that’s healthy. As long as you don’t keep putting them on the shelf. Think about the meme with the dog in the burning room drinking a coffee like nothing is happening. The tag line is “This is fine”. That is a an excellent example of what Toxic Positivity is.

“On Fire” By Artist K C Green

So what has this rambling go to do with Tarot? Simple, it’s the fear people have of giving what can or could be perceived as a negative reading. Each and every one of us is guilty of this at some point. You want your client to be happy once they have left and telling them that their car is going to break down on the way home to finding their partner in bed with the dog is not going to achieve that (That’s never actually come up by the way, just an extreme example). The truth is not always Lovers and The Star. Sometimes that Tower is going to raise it’s ugly head and slap you across the face with the 10 of swords.

So what do you do with these negative cards? Do you put the back, shuffle and try again, hoping for something fluffier? If so then you are doing your client and yourself a disservice. Yes, both of those cards are viewed in a negative light but they both have something else in common. They both speak of endings and transition. If you ignore them and go for something more positive then the opportunity for change may be lost. This will lead to the client repeating the same patterns over and over. Now lets look at it from a different view.

You don’t put the cards back. You slam them down and look at them in the context of the query. The client has drawn The Tower and the 10 of Swords. They already know that things have been falling apart around them, that’s why they have come to you. That’s what the tower has told you as a reader. Then comes the 10. They have reached their lowest point. Things can’t get any worse. Sounds pretty negative right? Wrong! It’s exactly because things can’t get worse that this is good. The only way now is upwards. But they have to know that the climb is coming in order to take that first step towards better things. They are now aware that they need to make a change so they can rebuild.

So what have we done here. We’ve taken a ‘Negative’ thing and turned it into a positive one. Wait, isn’t that what I was rambling against at the start of this word salad? No, it isn’t. There is a huge difference in finding the positive in something and being able to use it, and pretending that everything is going to okay by just thinking they are. When things are at their worst, that’s when we need to act and be at our strongest. It also means accepting that things are not all sunshine and roses. Once you recognise and accept a problem, you will find the answers are much more forthcoming.

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