February 02, 2011 | 02:41 PMAquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)
I'm a huge fan of honesty, but if you feel compelled to share a truth, ruthlessly check your own motives. Sometimes, it's because you feel guilty and want absolution and forgiveness; occasionally it's because you want to be downright malicious. These are terrible and selfish intentions, even if they're not entirely conscious. Sharing the truth should be about ultimately helping the person with whom you share it (sometimes in the long-term rather than the short-term), not about your own egocentric concerns. If spilling the beans ultimately helps no one but you, keep your mouth shut.
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)
While sharing everything with the most important person in your life is appealing in theory, it's not necessarily wise in practice. In fact, dumping all your troubles on one person isn't really fair, even if they claim to want it. Share them out—let your therapist take the bulk of the burden, if you have one; otherwise, let different friends help you through life's various difficulties—and, of course, giving as good as you get when they ask for your support. Having one amazing intimate friend is fortunate indeed; however, having a handful will make your life feel richer than you thought possible; this week, work on cultivating such a reality.
Aries (March 21-April 19)
A common internal conflict comes up for most of us when the "right thing" to do is also the most difficult or least desirable. It's perfectly natural for us to try to rationalize not pursuing that correct course of action; but we must strive to not be convinced by such rationalizations, and just do the right thing anyway, no matter how loathsome or challenging. That, of course, is this week's test—don't talk yourself out of doing the right thing, or into engaging in a plan you know is wrong, even if it's easy or less painful.
Taurus (April 20-May 20)
It's nice to let someone off the hook when it comes to the high expectations placed upon them by other, more demanding, folk in their life. However, giving them carte blanche to drop all the basics and make you carry that weight isn't helping anyone—not you and certainly not them. This isn't about making someone meet an impossible standard—just asking them to rise to the bar every healthy human in their right mind should be able to achieve with a modicum of effort. Best-case scenario is helping your friends achieve their true potential; at the very minimum, it's not enabling them to languish far beneath it.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Happiness is often simple but occasionally becomes a surprisingly complex concept. While it's easy to guess what'd make you happy during the next five minutes (an excellent chocolate bar might fit the bill), formulating a plan for long-term happiness and fulfillment is decidedly more challenging. That goal should be near the top of this week's agenda. It's time to plant the seeds of ideas that could sprout into sustainable, enduring satisfaction. This is probably something you should have done ages ago, and more consistently since then (not every such seed flourishes, after all), but it's better late than never—and better now than later.
Cancer (June 21-July 22)
If someone asked you to murder a criminal who wronged them, would you do it? Probably not. Not only is such "vigilante justice" against the law, it's likely against your own moral code as well. Of course, what you're being asked to do is nothing so extreme as taking another life—but it still lies outside your rules for how you should live. Just because it's less drastic doesn't mean you should feel compelled to bend your convictions to fulfill their expectations. Stick to your guns. They're worth sticking to—and doing so might teach someone a valuable lesson about how they make demands, and who they make them to.
Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)
Thank you notes are mostly considered old-fashioned and unnecessary, in this day and age. A verbal "thanks" usually suffices for most things; although most people would appreciate more, few are likely to make a stink about it. However, that doesn't mean expressing gratitude is a bad idea. In fact, it may be even more touching, in the context of the blasé ingrates most of us are surrounded by. If someone's done you a solid, then be sure to let them know just how much you appreciate it. It's not only a nice thing to do, but it's also more likely to garner a repeat performance, should the need arise.
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)
For those sensitive Cancers and impulsively intuitive Pisces, this is old news: feelings are confusing, contradictory, and virtually immune to logic. That doesn't mean they can't be reined in by common sense, naturally—something you have in spades. However, trying to analyze them, and make them align to some periodic table of emotional elements, so you can scientifically "solve" them, has never gotten you anywhere before, so why do you think it should start working now? Quit questioning, judging, or denying what you're actually feeling; that'd be a huge waste of time—and you have little enough of that to spare as it is.
Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)
Many of the things we take tremendous pleasure in are potentially dangerous to us, especially in large quantities. Eat too much chocolate, sunbathe too long, or imbibe too much alcohol and you're putting yourself at risk. Nevertheless, it's still fun to occasionally indulge yourself anyway. Life's short; while moderate enjoyment of potentially unhealthy pleasures is probably your best long-term plan, very infrequent over-indulgence can certainly be part of the bigger picture, if it makes your life feel richer. Don't be afraid to go there once in a while, if the situation seems to call for it—and certainly don't make yourself feel guilty when you do.
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)
People who drink tons of alcohol or frequently take drugs often discover it takes progressively more of the stuff to achieve similar results. The same can be true of other experiences as well, such as sharing an intense connection with another person. You either need to keep upping your game, or accept that some of that intensity is due to naturally fade as time goes on. The best solution is embracing a little of both—occasionally (but consistently) making an effort to grow and magnify your intimacy, while also being cool with sparks flying less often or with less intensity than when you first met. This week, try to figure out what the best mix of the two intentions is, for you and yours.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-DEC.21)
Sometimes we begin something for the express purpose of having fun—but somehow lose the fun along the way. It becomes about something else, something ultimately much more pointless. Find the fun again, if it's still there. And if it's not, ask yourself: "Why the hell am I still doing this?" There might be a compelling reason to continue, despite the dearth of joy in the venture; however, I suspect that any truly good reasons you may have once had are no longer valid. It might be time to move on—hopefully to something that's actually a good time.
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)
Pain is mostly a neural response to stimuli that's probably not particularly good for us; in essence, a defense mechanism. However, it can also be an indicator that things are just fine. Pain after exposure to extreme cold is far preferable to numbness, for example; following a workout, it's a sign that you actually made some progress. It could demonstrate that you're healing—at the very least, especially with emotional distress, it's a sign that you're still able to feel. Making your life all about the avoidance of pain is a bad plan. Trying to mostly aim for only the "good" kinds of pain, though, is an excellent one.
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