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How to Say What Nobody Wants to Hear

Being a diviner I have the privilege of hearing what many haven't said out loud to another living soul. It is a very special situation, in which often a stranger opens up in a way they may not do with their closest ones and confides us with their deepest desires, their pain, their hope. It is a position of great responsibility, and, as such, it comes with great rewards, but also with challenges.

If you believe that reading cards is the difficult part, you must not have had to deliver undesirable news to a querent that is putting their faith and trust in you yet. It is, unquestionably, the hardest part of being a reader. I have gotten used to the nerves before an event. I have learnt to move past the dizzyness that takes over me before reading in a multitudinary environment. But delivering bad news is something that I never get used to no matter how many times I do it.

Everybody loves good news, and everybody is up for hearing that their relationship will be mended, that their business will thrive, that their house will sell and they will get the promotion they have been working towards for so long. However, this is not always the case, and even though we're mere interpreters of our methods, we are the face of those bad news and as a result we can be perceived as the bad guy. But that's not even the most difficult part. The most difficult part is that sometimes, when dealing with a querent that is in a vulnerable state - trying to hold on to any glimpse of hope, showing emotions that are big, and deep, and can be uncomfortable, maybe reformulating the question in slightly different ways - the pressure to change the narrative is real. The temptation to just ease that pain and give some hope is huge! Being on the receiving end of bad news is a nightmare, but being on the giving end is nobody's plan for the weekend either. So, while it will (probably) never get easy, here are some tips that have helped me with delivering bad news and making something as edifying as possible out of an experience that is not welcomed.

Meet People Where They Are

One of the most useful and important things I've ever learnt is to resist the urge to make people reframe their questions, or focus on things that they don't care about. If someone is coming to your table heartbroken because their relationship just ended, they are not in the emotional space that allows them to care about their self-improvement or the silver lining, and forcing them to enter a space that they are not ready for is not going to help them at that point.

While this doesn't mean that your reading cannot be constructive or that you cannot add ways in which your querent can reclaim their power and agency over their lives, remember that the querent knows what they are hurting about, and you will have a much more successful experience if you meet them there, and work your way up from there.

Part of breaking bad news is providing a safe space. You don't want a querent that feels defensive because their true concerns are not being taken into consideration, so forget about forcing them into a space they are not ready for.

Validation and Explanation Are a Winning Combination

Okay, that's a silly rhyme but hear me out. Everyone wants to know WHY bad things happen. Will knowing the reason(s) fix it? No, it probably won't! But for some reason, understanding why often makes it easier to go through challenging times. Sometimes the reason can be as simple and plain as someone who has fallen out of love to nobody's fault, or a candidate that was just perceived as more likeable than our querent in an interview, even if their experience was the same. Sometimes it can be something that the querent did or didn't do, and other times things are just unfair and there is no cosmic purpose behind it.

Be as it may be, the need for an explanation is real, and it is something worth looking into. When you are delivering undesirable news, make sure that you are validating the feelings of your querent first, by acknowledging why this is important for them, and then work on explaining the situation to help them digest it.

A Bad Reaction Is Not Personal

Having someone react badly to undesired news is a real possibility and something that, as a reader, you need to be ready for. You are the face of the bad news, and that doesn't sit well! An emotional reaction can be natural, and while there are times when a querent can get a bit combative, keep in mind that it is not something against you. In those situations, offer them space to vent, acknowledge their feelings (this really can go a looooong way!), and give them some time to process before going on with the reading. This is the time in which you can ask how would they like to proceed with the rest of the reading. Here are some suggestions:

- Would you like to know more about the reasons behind this?

- Would you like for us to look into how can you minimize the impact of this / turn this situation around?

- Would you like it if we looked into what other opportunities will you have in the future?

Not Everything Has a Cosmic Purpose. Shit Can and Does Happen!

Resist the urge to find silver linings or lessons in situations that are plain unfair or just suck. Sometimes we need to call a spade a spade and acknowledge that bad things happen to good people, that there is no elaborate divine plan behind a devastating situation, and that pointless pain is sometimes a part of being alive. There's nothing that anyone could have done to make things different, and in these situations, being human is just what your querent needs most. Reassuring someone who is going through a damned hard situation that it is not their fault can do more than a month's worth of meditation in certain situations.

Think Long Term

Last but not least, think about the long-term implications of your reading. For you as a professional, and for the querent. Yes, saying that their ex will not come back or that they will not receive the money they are owed may not grant the best reaction. And as I said above, when you have a querent that is trying to get some hope in a situation that is not going their way, it can be tempting to try and make things sweeter. Here's when thinking long-term will help you.

Momentary relief is not worth extending someone's pain. Saying that they are going to hear back from the date that ghosted them will make your querent hold on to a challenging situation for longer, and as a result, extend their pain. Be mindful of the implications of attempting to offer relief and of how you are doing it!

Also, and from the perspective of your reputation as a reader, you can earn a life-long querent out of a difficult reading, even if at first things don't go as expected or their reaction isn't the best. Your reputation is on the line, and people end up coming back to a reader they can trust even when it's hard over one that makes them feel good momentarily but doesn't deliver.


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