"Let me check the address," she said as we hesitated outside of the basement apartment door. As a birthday gift, my friend was treating me to a psychic reading, so there we were, hesitantly walking up the city sidewalk. As my friend pulled out her phone to determine if we were at the right location, I peered nervously at the shadowed doorway in front of which we'd stopped. I'd always wanted to go to a psychic — mostly just to say I'd done it — but now that we were standing right outside the door, my logical, this-is-bullshit self was being challenged by the irrational, but-what-if-it's-real-and-it's-bad-news me.
Just then the door opened and a woman wearing a full-length dress and dramatic earrings ushered us inside with enthusiasm. The interior of her house looked both as I expected and different, too. There were celestial tapestries on the wall. Little spiritual statues and knickknacks lined bookshelves. But there was also a standard-issue beige carpet (on which we were instructed to sit). I spotted an iPhone charger in the corner. And the crystal ball, much as I loved how it aligned with my view of what a psychic's decor should include, had a TJ Maxx price tag affixed to it. I was skeptical to say the least.
I went first, pulling my cards and doing my best to keep a straight face in an effort not to influence what the psychic told me. I know how easy it is to read body language and facial expressions and use them to move the conversation in a certain direction, and, even though I knew the whole thing was a just-for-fun scam, I wanted to give this past / present / future reading a fair shot. Neutral expression in place, I listened as she told me a variety of things ranging from the fact that I'd have two kids (ummm, I hope not!) to the notion that "something good" would happen in October / November to her perception that I'd live well into my nineties. She said I'd be successful but not in the exact thing I'm doing now (ugh). She told me to stay away from the negative people who have been dragging me down (vague, but very good advice for my current situation). She told me to stop focusing on the negative and be more positive (super vague, but also good advice). She told me I was closed off and needed to open up more (quite true, but, again, could apply to tons of people).
After my friend did her reading and we left, my feelings were mixed. On one hand, visiting a psychic is, of course, a ridiculous waste of time and money. Most of what she said could apply to lots of people. Be more positive? I bet there's not a person reading this that couldn't use that advice. But there was a tiny part of me that couldn't help but wonder, What if she's right? What if I do end up having children? Or living well into my nineties? I was slightly unnerved by the things I didn't want to hear. They echoed more loudly than the positive things she'd said. (Perhaps I should be taking her advice about focusing on the positive!)
Later that night, I kept thinking about what the psychic had told me and, more importantly, how I was feeling about it. Because, just like reading a horoscope online, it really is about taking the abstract concepts put in front of you and applying them to your own life. It's not so much about what the psychic says; it's about how you react to it. While I honestly think most psychics are complete scam artists (I'm hesitant to say that all of them are because I can't completely discount the idea that maybe there are people out there who have some sort of special insight or intuition...), I don't know if I can say for certain that going to see a psychic is a bad idea. In my experience, there were four key benefits derived from a psychic reading:
- You realize what you don't want.
This was one of the first things I realized after my reading. It became very clear that some of the things she'd said to me were things I didn't want to happen. This might sound like a bad thing, but it's actually really useful to know what you don't want in your life, and it's not always something we think about since we're taught to focus on goals and dreams and we're encouraged to go after what we want. That's certainly a positive thing to do, but identifying what you don't want can help you move forward toward what you do want.
- You identify what you do want.
Likewise, listening to the psychic gave me more insights on what I do want, which is always good thing. As kids, we're always asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" but, even though we focus on goals and achieving certain milestones as adults, we don't always ask ourselves what we really want -- or check in to see if what we wanted before is what we still want now. By hearing someone tell you what the future holds (no matter how bogus the words might be), you're given a great chance to think about whether or not that's the future you want.
- You get a fresh (albeit odd) perspective.
Even if psychics (or mediums or palm readers or horoscopes...) are a scam, there's something so interesting about seeing your life through the lens of a complete stranger. While I doubt all psychics have supernatural powers, they do spend a lot of time studying people. They might not know how to read the stars, but they likely know how to read people. What they say to you probably has a lot to do with how you're reacting -- which means that their words, true or false, might be worth thinking about.
- You receive an opportunity for reflection.
Regardless of how the reading goes or what is said to you, at the very least, visiting a psychic gives you an opportunity to reflect. Not only can you reflect on what was said, but also on what you were hoping would have been said. What did you hear that you didn't want to? What did you wish she'd said? Which topics were discussed? Which weren't? All of these questions can lead you to a better understanding of yourself, of what you want to focus on in your life -- and that knowledge can be powerful in helping you make decisions for the future.
- You acquire more awareness of the present.
People usually visit psychics to learn what the future will hold but talking about the future can make you more aware of the present. When a psychic tells you things you want to happen in the future, you have to consider how you'll take action now to get from here to there (or what you'll do avoid what you don't want). To arrive at a future you want, you have to start moving toward it now, and seeing a psychic might be like spotting a guidepost on a hike: it won't force you down a certain path, but it'll tell you if you want to go that way, pick a different path, or turn around.
So, would I visit a psychic again? I'm not sure... On one hand, it was a fun little experience and interesting to hear what she said (regardless of whether or not it comes true) but, on the other, no matter how rational I try to be, the words she said to me are hard to shake, which isn't ideal (particularly if they're total nonsense). If you're thinking about visiting a psychic, it's something to keep in mind: no matter how logical you think you are, there's a part of you that will be impacted by the words. But, depending on what those words are, that could be a good thing!
Have you ever been to a psychic before or, better yet, are you a psychic? I'd love to know if you have any experience or insights! Let me know in the comments below!
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