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Mistake 2: Thinking that other people know what I need better than I do

I must have been in 2nd grade when I first was aware that others might think they knew things about me that I did not know. My teacher, Mrs. White, told us about astronaut Ed White walking in outer space. She then gave an inspiring little speech about how any of us could be anything we wanted. At recess I announced to all and sundry that I was going to be an astronaut like Mrs. White’s son. Three little girls turned shocked eyes on me and one of them blurted out, “You can’t.”

I reminded them what Mrs. White had said, and the girl stated, “But you’re a girl. Girls grow up to get married and have kids.” I replied, “I don’t want to.” And she said, “You don’t have a choice,” and flounced off to the swings. Inside I was adamantly rebellious yet fearful she could be right. At home I asked my mother. She reassured me that most girls might do that, but I didn’t have to. She also set me straight about Ed White’s mom. Turns out Mrs. White was too young to be his mom.

I relaxed a bit, but that was only the beginning of people telling me what I should do and who I should be and what I should like. A lot of it was gender based (I shouldn’t read cowboy books, I should like pink, etc.), some of it religion based, but some of it . . . from people who loved me, telling me how I should be in order to fit into my family. Friends telling me, “Oh! I know you’ll like this . . .” followed by something that was the very opposite of something I’d like.

I spent a lot of my first thirty-some years wondering if I really knew myself after all.

I felt that I was wrong in my essential being. With the best intentions in the world, my family kept pushing me in directions counter to my own yearnings and inclinations. When you’re a kid, you’re kinda stuck with the knowledge and wisdom of those older than you. Yet a lot of the time, that wisdom and knowledge is based on who they are/were which can be desperately different from who I am/was.

Here’s what I’ve come to understand: my nearest and dearest inferred things from my actions and words. They filtered that (often incorrect) data through their own beliefs and preferences. All too often often they were dead wrong. They were generally too different from me to process the information correctly. Of course I make the same kind of mistakes with regard to others.

When I took up studying astrology, it was in order to write the defining article proving how off base and just plain wrong it was. I won’t go into the reasons why that article was never written here. I will only say, it helped me to understand that there was nothing wrong with me or my family and friends. Instead, I came to understand that there are fundamental differences in our individual make-ups that make what’s right and good for one absolutely catastrophic for another.

In my family, my brother, sister and aunt were/are all water signs. Water is all about emotion and it nourishes earth. My mother, father and uncle were all earth signs and therefore practical and supportive of water. I was the only air sign. The emotion in my family weighed me down and the insistence on what could be seen and touched smothered me.

Oddly enough, I did learn a lot from my uncle, Taurus (earth sign) that he was. Because though he thought in practical terms he thought deeply and, as the saying goes, he could see through a brick wall given time enough. Out of that profound, yet practical thought emerged brilliant observations about how the world works that I have not seen bettered. The trick was being present when they happened to pop out of him. The average Taurus doesn’t talk much.

Learning astrology taught me an approach to human relationships that helped me (over time) separate what other people believe was best for me from what actually feeds me and makes me feel fulfilled. It also helped me to understand that however certain I am about what is best for someone else, I could be dead wrong.


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