Ever have a nonsensical dream? You can vividly remember the emotions you experienced in the dream. It felt so real! But now that you’re awake, it makes no sense why you would have mistaken the dream for your actual life.
Dream interpretation is one of my favorite ways of trying to understand myself. To be clear, I am not a dream interpretation expert. But I have practiced the art of interpreting my dreams for decades. I’ve learned how dreams can help me find clarity within my internal landscape. This helps me navigate my waking life in healthier ways.
How can paying attention to dreams do that?
Dreams help you understand and process buried emotions.
It’s understandable that we might need to downplay or push away our emotions to “get through” the day or prevent energy drain in the moment. The emotions we avoid are recorded subconsciously. Like a Thanksgiving leftover that gets forgotten in the back of the fridge for too long, once that emotion finally gets to the surface through a dream or a life trigger, it might be way less appealing than it would have been originally! While asleep, the subconscious mind will create a dream that reminds us of all the emotional stuff we haven’t processed consciously yet.
In other words, we can run, temporarily, but we can’t hide forever from what we feel.
It amazes me how much the subconscious mind pays attention. Without any effort, our psyche works nonstop to collect everything we experience, including stuff that’s just outside our conscious awareness. Collecting this data is automatic, like breathing.
During stressful times in my life, no matter how much “rationalizing” and logical “figuring it out” I do to keep emotions at bay, my dreams let me know how I really feel! I’ll wake up actively experiencing those feelings. When I drop into the dream feelings, I’ll notice where and when in my life I’m feeling that way for real. Now I can process the emotions that were unconscious.
Why is it so important to process our emotions?
Our emotions shape our responses to life. When we’re aware of our emotional landscape, we can decide how we want to use the information embedded within the emotion. Emotions can be well-meaning guides, or they can point to old wounds that still need healing. Operating our lives from wounded places often results in reactions we later regret. Whereas awareness of the origin or reason for the emotion helps us choose healthy and wise responses.
“But I never remember my dreams.”
There have been times in my life when I haven’t been able to remember my dreams either. But there are ways to develop your ability to remember and record your dreams.
“I wouldn’t be any good at dream interpretation- my dreams don’t make any sense.”
I have some ideas for that too!
If you’re interested in learning how to develop your own dream awareness and interpretation, I share my experiences (and some dreams!) on this week’s episode of Growing in Uncertainty.