Many tarot readers have difficulty reading for themselves. There might be some reasons for your problems, and fortunately solutions as well.
First, the spread may be too large beginning readers should never start with the Celtic Cross, even though it is often the first spread you may encounter in books. The larger and more complex it is, the harder it can be to make sense out of things, particularly when you are first learning and when you are emotionally close to the subject. There is a kind of information overload that can make the other problems listed below even worse. Practice reading for yourself by starting small - pull one card for a week, and then when the week is over, spend some time thinking about how that card came into play in your life. Don't worry that you don't have any idea what the card means when you pull it - you'll know by the end of the week! If you do this continually and faithfully, eventually you will come to know which cards show up for you most often and what they are connected with in your own life.
A different problem is not giving ourselves the gift of a thorough and complete reading. Many experienced readers have a tendency to skim their own readings, click off the cards in succession - yep, I know what that means!!, then sweeping the cards up and putting them away. It may seem hard to justify the time in our busy lives, but by doing this, we miss the subtle messages in the cards that are meant just for us - the special symbol that may stand out, the patterns that we would see if we spent as much time on our own readings as we do for our clients. Some readers overcome this problem by pretending the reading is for a client, and then recording or writing it as if it were a paid reading. After all, we deserve the benefit of our own insight, dont we?
A very common problem among beginning readers is a lack of self-confidence or trust in their reading abilities. Just because you are not objective when reading for yourself does *not* mean that you will lay the wrong cards, or that the cards will be somehow biased or skewed. Trust me, the cards themselves will be fine. It's our interpretation of them that can be skewed or biased. So as you're doing the reading, start by trusting that the Universe, or your guides, or your subconscious, will choose the right cards even if your conscious mind has no idea what they mean. Then give yourself some time and space to interpret them. This will keep you from worrying that the reading itself has something wrong with it - knowing that the cards are right is a liberating feeling and cuts through a lot of the possible confusion.
One last problem that contributes is pessimism and negativity.
We all know that cards are neither inherently bad nor good, but all have aspects of both - yet when reading for ourselves, some readers take a very negative slant - cards are given the worst possible interpretation, and we don't see the positive messages these same cards can hold for us. This is a self-perpetuating problem, because someone who perceives that they always get bad cards will eventually become reluctant to do a reading at all, and frightened and worried by the readings they do attempt. We try our best to be honest yet positive for our clients, and it is important to give ourselves the same pep talks, and avoid unnecessary negativity.
The first thing to do if you are having trouble doing a reading for yourself is to think about the various problems that may be listed above, along with the more typical problems like not really having or making a quiet place or time to do your readings. See if you recognize any of these as possible contributors to the problem, and then you will at least know where to start.
Here are some ideas and tipsfor you:
1. Start with small personal readings - 1 to 3 cards that cover a short period of time. This is both easier to process and less scary, because it's OK to have a bad week, but a bad year is a lot harder to handle.
2. Trust that the cards you choose will be right, and don't worry if you don't figure out what they mean right away. Struggling with difficult readings is one of the best ways to learn. Write the reading down, and any meanings for cards that are clear. Note which cards are confusing or unclear and commit them to memory, then give the reading time. It may be months before you understand what those cards were telling you, but when you finally know what it is, it will be an illuminating experience and much more powerful than having someone else tell you what they think.
3.Beforeyou start, commit yourself to following through on the reading, regardless of the outcome. Be sure you are really mentally prepared to receive an answer to the question you are asking - no matter which way it goes. If you have a very strong stake in one particular outcome, it will be much more difficult to handle if you don't receive that outcome.
4. Consider the positive and negative of every card, and realize that more than one aspect of the card may apply to your situation. Don't assume the worst, or the best, but try to take a middle ground. Imagine what you would say to a good friend or client if they received those cards, and realize that you are deserving of the very same interpretation.
5. Pay attention to each card individually - try hard not to skip over any cards, as the ones you most want to skip over may be the ones with the important message from your subconscious. Allow yourself to celebrate the good cards equally with worrying about the bad. Think of reversed and difficult cards as opportunities to improve your future or change something about your life that isn't working
6. If you think you know what a negative card represents, try a followup empowerment reading that focuses on what you can do to solve that problem - this can be especially helpful if there is one card that comes up over and over - you will keep getting it until that problem is solved. The empowering reading will give you a plan of action and a feeling of control. Remember that you create your future and your own reality.
7. If you are worried about personal bias (either positive or negative) in conducting your reading, try choosing a rose-colored glasses card from the bottom of the deck. This card will tell you what filter you are viewing the reading through whether you are being too optimistic, too pessimistic, or are being wise or objective
And finally, practice, practice, practice. Over time, like any other aspect of tarot reading, reading for yourself will become second nature. Never give up and lose belief, practice and patience will solve your problem ;)