Do you dream? Some people don’t dream, but I do. And I love interpreting dreams. My own and other people’s.
I want to teach you how to interpret dreams. I’m going to share with you my three-step process that you can use to interpret dreams – either your own or somebody else’s.
Then, I’m going to give you some examples of interpretations to Illustrate the three-step process so you see how to apply it. I”ll share one of my actual dreams with you and show you how I interpreted it.
Then I have some specific ways you can use your own dreams and your own dream interpretation to figure out what you’re thinking and figure out what you’re dreaming about to see what’s going on in your brain.
I want to inspire you to dream actually have those dreams at night while you’re asleep and then I want you to remember your dreams when you wake up the next morning and I want you to take the step of interpreting your own dreams.
What if you don’t dream?
You might be thinking “this isn’t for me because I’m one of those people who don’t dream.” if that’s the case if you don’t dream or you can’t remember your dreams when you wake up that’s okay, this information is still for you, because I know you know people who dream. I share this information with you so you can consider interpreting dreams for someone else.
By reading and thinking about this, it might awaken your subconscious and open your mind just enough so you can start dreaming or remember your dreams when you wake up.
3 step process to interpret dreams
- Record the details of the dream
- List out each element in simple form
- Consider meaning and reference
It’s pretty simple. You can implement it for yourself. The first thing you’re going to do is record the details of your dream. Then, list out each element of the dream in the simplest form, and finally the third step is when you finally consider the meaning and reference to the dream.
Write Down Everything
I actually called this step “record the details,” but it doesn’t actually mean to record it in audio. This step is actually about writing it down. You don’t have to physically write though, you could dictate the dream details into your phone.
This is the time, as soon as you can after waking up, write down everything you can remember about the dream (without interpreting it yet). You’re not making anything in the dream mean anything else. You’re not worried about anything that you dreamt about. If the dream was scary, or depressing or sad- don’t worry about it yet.
Use exact language, images, feelings, with no judgement. Collect any words said, words you heard, events- anything that happened in the dream. Notice the emotions you felt in the dream. Keep writing until you can’t remember any other detail (this can take a while, the more you write, the more you’ll remember). You can use your phone to dictate (not record) if you can’t write fast enough or if you don’t have paper. Once you’ve got the entire dream written down, now you can move on to step 2.
List Out Each Element
The second step is to list out each element in its most simple form. Remember back in math class, when teachers said to write everything in the lowest common denominator? That’s what you’re doing with the elements from the dream. Look back at the description you wrote and start pulling out each element to make a list. You could easily have 20 items in a list.
We’re not in the stage of making any interpretations or guessing any meanings at this point.
Example of a Dream
This is an example of one of my dreams from a few months ago so you can see what steps 1 and 2 look like. A few months ago, I woke up and realized I had just had a dream. Here’s what I wrote about it:
I was a kid or a teenager living at home with my parents. The power went out so we didn’t have any running water. We wondered how we would do our homework.
The next morning, I realized, there was still no running water, so I wanted to pull my hair up – I grabbed a hair pin and had trouble gathering all my hair – it wouldn’t stay together in the pin.
As I was looking in the mirror, I noticed some spore-type flowers on the front of my head. I touched one of the flowers and it dissolved into pieces – so I had to lean my head over the trash to comb them out.
That was the dream. Maybe you’ve had dreams like that where things don’t make a lot of sense. Now we’ve got a record of the dream, next we’ll list out each element.
Here’s my list
- Teenager living at home
- Power went out
- Question: “How would I work?”
- Phrase “Once I realized”
- Pull up hair using clip
- Hair wouldn’t stay together
- Spores in hair
- dissolved/put in trash
Consider Meaning and Reference
Once we’ve made a list of all of the elements of the dream, we can finally consider meaning and reference. We’re not assigning meaning literally. It’s not a literal translation- but you can think of it like a translation. You can think of what does this represent in another world or what is this a metaphor for.
If anything gross or shocking shows up in your dream, or if you dreamt about a person who you wish you wouldn’t have dreamt about it, it doesn’t mean that person will be or should be in your life. The dream is not literal.
A lot of people have dreams about their exes or former coworker. Just because you’re dreaming about a person who is no longer a part of your life, it’s not your subconscious telling you that you that the person needs to be in your life again. We’re just considering what the presence of that person might mean or what it might represent.
Emotions during and after your dream
We’re noticing emotions in 2 different ways. Were you excited, scared or impatient?
Notice the emotions from during the dream and also NOW that you’re conscious and thinking about the activities in the dream.
For example, if you did have a dream about an ex and in the dream there was no drama and no anger towards the ex, but when you wake up you feel angry that you saw the ex in your dream – notice the difference in emotion from during your dream and while you’re awake.
Get over any weirdness
We’ve all heard the classic example of someone showing up to school naked- maybe that seems weird to you. Don’t let the weirdness worry you or make it mean anything.
If you dream about having sex with your coworker, don’t make it mean anything weird. It doesn’t mean anything literally. It can mean a lot of different things depending on what’s going on in your life. If you dream about babies, don’t make it mean that you’re pregnant. Dreams about babies don’t have to mean anything weird.
Examples of Meaning and Reference
Here’s the way I interpreted the elements of the dream I shared earlier:
I asked myself, what does this represent? What are the qualities of this?
Teenager living at home – feeling new & young (but not yet independent)
Power went out – powerless
How would I work? – don’t know how to proceed
Once I realized – acceptance
Pull up hair using clip – control what I can, use found resource
It wouldn’t stay together – it’s not easy, things don’t go as hoped for
Spores in hair – irritants (thoughts about myself)
dissolved/put in trash – able to discard
Do you see how I translated the element into something that it represents? I used a little bit of reference and context from what was going on in the dream, without making a literal interpretation. Now I have a new narrative. Now I have my dream interpretation.
Examples of Dream Interpretations
Here are a few more examples of dream interpretations in case your dreams are a little different from the examples I gave you.
Snakes- what are the characteristics or qualities? What does a snake represent? A reptile, cold-blooded, or shedding skin. Maybe depending on cultural references: snake charmer could be controlling or based on the Adam and Eve story: temptation or a bad influence.
Giving Birth- It doesn’t necessarily mean a baby or child. It could mean a new project or creation. It could be about nurturing a new creation. It could be about taking care of something in its infancy and watching it grow.
Reliving past events
Think about what that place or person represents for you. For example, dreaming about an ex could mean any type of partner, or it could be about who you were at the time in that context. Who were you when you were with that person? The casting of someone else in the dream may be about putting you in context, it might have nothing to do with the person you’re dreaming about.
When you dream about reliving past events that are upsetting or might be causing trauma, it may be a sign that you blame yourself for not knowing or not stopping the event.
Reliving past events in your dreams may be a way you are giving yourself an offer to “do over.” Your mind might not be on board that it did happen, so your mind might be bringing it back to you while you’re asleep so you can see it differently, do it differently or maybe even change the outcome.
Having awareness about your subconscious thoughts from your dreams can give you something to consider and think about while you’re awake.
Ways you can use your dreams
Dreaming and interpreting dreams is interesting. There is some entertainment value there!
You can also use your dream interpretations as a jumping off point of questions that you could consider for journaling and self coaching. I’ve heard of people bringing their dreams to therapy or coaching sessions.
Your dreams are your subconscious offering you a little peek- accept the offer! Accept the awareness of what your subconscious is thinking and replaying for you.
You can come back later and re-interpret your dream descriptions. You can check to see if your mind offers you different thoughts and explanations 6 months later. By then, you’ll have more perspective, maturity and development.
Conscious Intentional Thoughts
Let your conscious intentional thoughts about the dream be what guide you and what you make decisions by. Don’t just latch on to the 1st interpreted idea and run with it. In my example, if I made my dream mean that I had to move back in with my parents, that would have just been using the first idea. Instead, using my intentional conscious thoughts, I can ask: “What can I do to make myself feel powerful?”
Check in to see if the thoughts in the dream are being offered by your inner voice or by your ego. Are the thoughts in the dream aligned with love or fear? Either way, good to know!
Nothing’s wrong if you wake up and realize your dream came from scarcity. That’s good to know because if that’s what your subconscious is producing for you while you sleep, you can bet that those thoughts are also humming along in the background while you’re awake.
Wouldn’t you rather know about them and address them?
Dream Interpretation Loose Ends & Disclaimers
- Context and emotion is important. You can interpret each element of the dream on its own, but if you know the context you can create a more relevant dream interpretation.
- Outside influences affect dreams. You might dream about shows, books, and conversations from the days before. Food, alcohol, and stress definitely affect your dreams.
- Dreams aren’t literal and dreams aren’t prophetic. Dreams are just your subconscious thoughts while you’re asleep.
- Recurring dreams may imply cognitive dissonance. If you keep being offered these thoughts while you’re dream, your brain may be offering the option to make sense of it while you’re asleep.
- Keep a dream journal! It lets you re-interpret and see things from a wider perspective later.
- Find a dream buddy! Not everyone likes to hear or interpret dreams, so if that’s your partner, find someone else who loves to talk about and interpret dreams. I’ll be your dream buddy! Just share your dream on this dream form so I can interpret it for you!
I hope I have inspired you to dream, remember your dreams, and interpret your own dreams! And now, I’m curious.. what are you thinking about dream interpretation now? Do you have any resistance to recording and translating your own dreams?
I hope you’ll share your input and feedback!