In all my years of researching and studying dreams and helping others figure out their dreams, I’d have to say the biggest mistake people make is looking at their dreams literally rather than realizing that practically everything in their dreams is SYMBOLIC. In addition, everything in your dream is symbolic of YOU and some part of your life. Like I told Dr. Oz during my latest appearance on his show, “We are all extreme narcissists when we dream!”
You need to try to identify some part of yourself or some part of your life in every element of your dream. Simply ask yourself this, “What does this particular character, object or setting remind me of in my life right now? What part of me or what part of my life seems similar to this part of my dream?” For example, if you dreamed of a sick or dying dog you would ask yourself “What in my life does this dog remind me of? What is unhealthy or dying in my life?” Is it a relationship? Is it a project or a goal that is dying off? Compare the dying dog to all your current areas of your life and it will click, just like finding the right piece of the puzzle.
Below is a really good example of how someone was waaaaay off on what her dream was really about because she wasn’t looking at the dream as symbolic of herself…
Last night I dreamed that I had locked my 3 or 4 year old nephew (he’s 19 and a Marine now) in a cage for 3 days while I went on vacation. When I came back home he was emaciated and his skin was shredded and falling off his bones. I felt so horrible! I tried to feed him and clean him up. I woke up freaking out. – Robin 33, Antwerp, OH
Lauri: Your nephew isn’t playing himself so don’t worry. Our dreams are always about our self and our own life. He probably represents something that you have neglected, some element of your life you are no longer nurturing and in turn is causing you to feel caged or trapped. Perhaps it is a fun-loving, carefree part of you or maybe some project or idea or endeavor that you have put aside while it was still growing and developing (hence the age of the child in your dream). Your dreaming mind may be using your nephew, the marine, to symbolize this because it is something you need to get militantly disciplined about now that you have decided to get back to it.
Robin replies: Thank you because I was taking it to a whole other level, thinking it was some kind of warning about my nephew or harm I may have caused him while he was younger. Last year I was going to school, dieting and exercising being very active in my church; just trying to work on me. I had an emergency surgery in January and everything I had been working on I tossed out the window. I’ve been going back to church and exercising again but the one thing I am having trouble with is going back to school. I failed my GED test in December and have been too anxious, frustrated and angry with myself to go back and try again. When I was working on my personal goals that was when I felt the best about myself. So I think what I neglected is me and the goals I set for myself. Thank you!
Do you see now how EVERYTHING in Robin’s dream was really about her? It all makes sense once you are able to identify yourself and your current life in the dream. And like I always say on the radio, “Your dreams don’t just mean something, they either tell you what you need to do about the issue they are commenting on or give you a much better understanding of it so you can make better decisions going forward.” Robin’s dream does both…
1. It is telling her what do do (be far more disciplined about your exercise and your schooling).
2. Look at yourself as a caged neglected baby; just when you were really starting to grow and develop you got caged in.
That’s a very attention-getting image, isn’t it? As long as Robin continues to keep this image in mind, it will likely motivate her to keep at her exercise, keep going to church AND keep furthering her education.
I just love dreams. They are sooooo helpful to our lives.
Did you like this tip on how to better understand your dreams? There are 9 more in my latest book Dream On It, Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life. You’ll also learn how different dream themes are connected to the different parts of the self. For example, animal dreams are connected to your behavior, bad dreams and nightmares are connected to your difficult and ignored issues and more. This is a very thorough book that will completely change the way you see your dreams… and your self!
“I had been having some really crazy dreams and I wanted a book that would help me understand. I wanted something that would explain things to me. I hit the jackpot with this book. I learned a ton about dreams and the psyche when dreaming. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in learning about dreams and their meaning.”
– Tiffany, Saratoga Springs, UT