PSA: Your Zodiac Sign Isn't An Excuse To Be A Bad Person

Even those who aren't familiar with all of the nuances of astrology have likely heard some of the stereotypes that follow zodiac signs. Aries, a sign with fiery energy, often gets a bad rap for being temperamental. Gemini, the sign represented by the twins, is commonly viewed as "two-faced." If you happen to be a Leo, some might accuse you of being egotistical. This said, how true are these stereotypes when it comes to our actual personalities?

As it turns out, the Northwestern Institute for Policy Research explains that most stereotypes actually come with our observation of everyday life. This means that, while it may seem like a person who happens to be a Taurus really is extremely stubborn, this might be based on a single perception of the individual. Just because you think a person is acting very "Libra" because they're struggling to make a decision on a matter doesn't mean they're generally indecisive, for example.

On the other end, some people use their zodiac sign as a lighthearted way to allocate blame elsewhere. Can you think of a friend who claims their frequent tardiness on "being a Sagittarius"? What about your workaholic friend who always defaults to their hardworking sign of Capricorn? Regardless of zodiac influence, we all have to hold ourselves accountable for our actions — and head's up, your sign is never a good excuse.

Staying accountable despite your zodiac sign

If you're one of the people who point to the stars to explain how you operate to others, don't feel guilty. Psychologists have known that people naturally have a "mirroring need," or an inclination to find themselves reflected in something else, whether it's a zodiac sign or a character in a television show. "When we're in chaos and stress, we're more psychologically fragmented," psychological astrologer Dr. Jennifer Freed explained to Refinery29. "We don't feel as centered and as calm, and when we're feeling fragmented and more insecure, our mirroring needs are more hungry. You want something to affirm and reassure you that you are whole and that you're secure and that you're seen."

However, there is a fine line between understanding your birth chart and using your zodiac knowledge to explain bad behavior. "Over-reliance on astrology or tarot, or any other spiritual approach, to the exclusion of others, could lead to a perpetuation of symptoms or difficulties rather than providing an individual the relief he or she is seeking," clinical psychologist Dr. Caroline Hexdall told The Healthy. Astrology should not be used as a "crutch" to excuse poor choices, including ignoring treatment for symptoms of conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

The exploding interest in astrology and zodiac signs

People have turned to astrology for everything from divination to relationships since ancient times. The notion that we can better understand ourselves and each other by looking to the stars is not new, and many people still do so today. A 2022 survey of U.S. adults conducted by YouGov found that 27% said they believe that astrology has an influence on our lives. And it makes sense, with apps such as Co—Star making it easier to dive into astrology for the first time. As a result, many are making the leap to connect the stars to real-life events. While it may seem trivial, there are reasons why everyone's hopping on the bandwagon.

"Astrology and tarot feel like self-empowered pathways to finding answers for people's existential questions and suffering," licensed clinical social worker Courtney Tracy explained to The Healthy, citing 2020 as a big year for astrology. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic led many people to reflect on life's biggest mysteries, — and, ultimately, many turned to the stars. "The year 2020 [has] taught us that we are missing so many answers to so many questions, and one of the biggest questions we can ask in our lifetimes is 'Why are we here?'" Tracy pointed out while speaking to The Healthy.

Nevertheless, despite people finding solace in astrology, we can never blame our attitude or actions on it — this notion strips us of free will and becomes nothing more than an excuse for hurting others. Instead, astrology must exist with strong intentions for the things we say and do.