What Can Our Dreams Tell Us?

Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: Pexels.com

I fell asleep with my son last night, which meant that I got a good 10 hours of sleep (catching up from previous shorter nights). Having that much time, and not having to get up at a specific hour, usually means I can recall more of my dreams. The dream I had last night was probably going to stick around no matter what, though.

As I’ve explained before in this post, I have an avoidant attachment style which means that I often feel more comfortable being on my own than being around others. My dream last night really brought this to the surface. I was in a room with several people I know who were trying to help me in some way, I think. Or at least trying to get me to open up. But all I wanted was to have more space around me. When one of those friends held me close, I screamed and yelled: ‘Get away from me!’ It wasn’t until they had all walked over to faraway corners of the room, that I could finally feel my body relax.

There are several theories as to why we dream. Freud thought dreams are a way to express hidden desires, whereas others believe it’s the way our subconscious mind processes information and creates memories. Still other researchers grant them no use whatsoever, or view them as ways in which our mind prepares for possible dangers (similar to dreaming in other animals).
This article has a short overview of the several theories.

In the end, I believe the reasons we dream are varied, and probably a combination of the reasons above. This particular dream I had, was one that was probably triggered by the fact that this fear of closeness was building up again, and a clue that I needed some space. At the same time, it created a situation which felt incredibly threatening to me, and it gave me the opportunity to try out ways to cope with it (similar to how you solve being late on your first day at work in a dream). Even if those strategies are flawed, they invite you to think them over during your waking hours.

The hidden desires or fears that our dreams show may or may not be something we want to take into account when making decisions in everyday life. Perhaps that returning dream of living abroad is not feasible right now. Or that dream of having your house collapse is no reason not to renovate your living room. But I do believe it’s useful to be aware of what your dreams are telling you; which hope, fear, passion, anger or joy is hidden in them. The emotions that underlie them are often ones that have been with you for a while, perhaps hidden under the surface of your day to day activities. Being aware of them means you can at least notice when they arise and perhaps figure out why you are dreaming what you are dreaming.

Are you angry in your dream because your partner voted for the wrong party (a dream I had last week)? Perhaps you are reflecting an insecurity about something else. Are you having a particularly spicy dream? Maybe it’s time to look at that area of your life more closely. I find that this direct way of engaging with my dreams is way more effective for me than to look up the meaning of falling or being naked in public on Google. I’m also engaging my own subconscious in helping me find answers, which is often more rewarding.

A great way to remember more dreams is to keep a dream journal, where you write down what you dreamt about the night before (when you remember our dreams, obviously). This doesn’t have to be a long text each time but could be some simple key words as well. It’ll help you recognize themes or recurring dreams, and at the same time it will signal to your own subconscious that you are ready to receive the information it has for you.

Curious? Well, there’s another great reason to get to bed on time.

Wishing you sweet and – even more so – interesting dreams!

3 thoughts on “What Can Our Dreams Tell Us?

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