Not all readings tell you what you wanted to hear. It's not a fun situation, neither for the client or the reader. And actually, if you NEVER receive a disagreeable reading either you're the luckiest person on the planet (go you!) or you and/or your reader are avoiding difficult topics. See, I'll draw (again) the comparison with a weather report – it's not nice to hear the weather next weekend is gonna be carp, but then again, it's better to know that BEFORE you make plans to have a family picnic in the park.
So, unless you have grounds to suspect that your reader is giving you a bad reading on purpose (in which case you should stop the reading/call and never come back to them) here's a couple of tips how to receive a challenging reading and how to get the most out of it.
1. Please don't go into denial mode
Chances are, your reader is NOT happy about having to break the bad news to you. You trying to deny the cards read to you and ask for new cards to be pulled ad nauseum is not gonna change the outcome in this very moment. It will mix you (and your reader) up even more, leaving you lost and confused. It's ok to ask for clarification – and usually it's a good idea to do it ONCE per question. Pulling half of the cards from the deck in hopes of a different message is not clarification though.
What to do instead:
Take a time out. It's ok if the cards don't make sense right now. Write them down, ask for a few key words, write those down, and then let the subject be for a while. For some days. Sit with the meanings of the cards. Come back to the question (and your reader) when you've been sitting with the cards and can relate them to the question at hand.
OR, if the cards still don't make sense to you and you think your reading was crap, change of reader. Get a second opinion. Not every reader or reading style fits every client.
If you have a coach, getting coached on the subject could be a good idea. I wear both of these hats with my clients when necessary, but the issue can also be approached by two different persons. Getting coached will get you over the knee-jerk reaction to undesirable news and can help you move into a more empowered and solution-oriented frame of mind.
2. Don't try to get new results by asking the exact same question again
Look, if you believe your reader is worth your money, they got you the right cards on the first time. What's more, if they shuffle in between it is very probable, that the EXACT same cards show up in one way or another on the second draw. Really, this happens to me all the time. Trust me, the message won't change. (And again, if you think the reader isn't doing their job well, don't waste your time and money on the same person but terminate the reading.)
What to do instead:
See the previous ideas about time out and coaching (by someone else or self-coaching if you're up for it).
3. Ask proactive follow-up questions
This is something you should do once you have calmed down a bit from the initial shock. It could be the same reading, or you could book a new appointment if you need some time to digest the cards from the first reading. So instead of throwing in the towel and getting too fatalistic about it, you could ask something like:
What can I do to avoid X (X being the undesirable thing seen in the initial reading)?
How can I minimize the shock from X?
If X is inevitable, what should I concentrate on instead to get on the other side of this experience in the best possible way?
What is the lesson I should learn from this?
4. Give yourself some grace – changes are HARD
Unexpected bad news are HARD. It's ok to be shocked. It's ok to take time off to let things sink in and shift internally. Look, change can be a bitch when it's something we are actively seeking. When change is thrown on us suddenly? It is TOUGH and it's completely normal to have all the feelings and to want to crawl back under the blanket and just deny having heard any of it. Sit down. Stop the reading. Take a breather.
Also, remember that you always have the power of acting – you can choose to act or not. And you can choose when to act, you don't need to do anything right now. You also have the power of ignoring the reading. The reading is just a snapshot, and what you do or don't do about it is completely up to you.
A note on delivering difficult readings then...
1. Try not to sugarcoat
As a reader, you have a responsibility towards your querent (the person you're reading for) of delivering the messages you receive. You should do it with compassion, yes, but if there's a warning in the horizon it is irresponsible of you NOT to give it. This is one reason why giving readings to others is challenging in itself and is not something everyone should aim to do.
Bad news need to be delivered with care and compassion, but they need to be delivered.
2. You are the messenger, how the message is received is not on you
If your querent goes into denial, there's only so far you can push. Bad news are hard to receive, so give the news and then let it lie. You can try to suggest some empowering questions for the situation, you can listen compassionately, but ultimately how the message is received is not your business.
3. Take some time to clear your head after the reading
If receiving difficult readings is hard, so is delivering them. So, after ending the reading, take a few minutes, breathe (fresh outside air is the best), move your body, eat or drink something. Readings are intensive energy transfers, and you want to clear that funk before going on to the next client or just continuing with your day.
When you read tarot with any amount of regularity, you will face bad news. But it's just what it is. Sometimes life SUCKS and better be prepared than not, right?