What You Need To Know: The Subconscious Language of Your Dreams
Last week, my son woke up and promptly informed me that he had a nightmare. He’s 8 and with kids, there’s always this underlying tone of, ‘I told you so’ when they’ve had a nightmare. Because the obvious solution they bring to the table is that they’d be safer in bed with us until they’re 21. Obviously!
And yet, his dad and I foolishly tuck him in every night as we tell him everything will be ok and nothing will “get him”.
But he knew better. I told you so!
Something DID get him. Spiders!!! Big. Mean. Angry. SPIDERS!
Instead of consoling him like I usually do, I exclaimed, “That’s wonderful!”
I told you so quickly turned into, ‘Mom’s lost her marbles’.
I explained that having nightmares from time to time is a good thing. It means that you’re getting the bad stuff out! His eyes lit up. Was this hope? Relief? It appeared to be good logic to him and perhaps I proved victorious after all.
All through the night our brain is processing everything from the day. Information, worries, obstacles, triumphs, unfinished business, and even emotions.
Our subconscious is busy sifting and sorting, and finally releasing what we don’t need in the final stages of sleep, occurring in the early morning.
When we’ve had a nightmare, that simply means we’ve had trouble processing or releasing something and now we’re free from it or at least much further along in the process of dealing with it. That’s why I told my son his nightmare was a good thing.
And let’s face it, we’re all processing some weird sh*t due to the coronavirus.
Experts have responded to the many inquiries from people who report more dreaming or strange dreams since the pandemic. There’s a few postulations making their way around the Internet.
The one I turn to fits nicely with the knowledge that our subconscious releases, or vents, in the last cycle of our sleep. Conveniently, the venting dreams (the final stage of processing) are the dreams we usually remember. Of course we don’t remember all dreams, but if we do, they’re typically the early morning venting ones.
(FYI If you wake earlier, in the middle of the night and remember a dream, this is the pre-cognitive planning stage, predicting the future- it’s less important to analyze these.)
Before the pandemic, many of us didn’t get a full night’s sleep, so you may not have completely processed things and skipped the early morning venting dreams/process. But since the pandemic, people are averaging more sleep and therefore more likely to vent stress, worries, and problems through their dreams. That’s good, because our stress and worries as of late have probably increased to some degree.
Our dreams and nightmares are not as “weird” as we think they are. They are the language of the subconscious and can provide us with insight. By understanding them, you can gather important clues about yourself, what you’re processing, and hidden emotions that affect you.
Dreams don’t have defense mechanisms; they don’t have repressed feelings or ego defenses.
They are filled with all sorts of inner knowledge minus the defenses.
Imagine understanding yourself on a level that your conscious awareness would otherwise miss. We don’t know, what we don’t know. And most of what we think we know is all ego B.S.
Real self-awareness comes from understanding your subconscious.
When you rely on your conscious, ego awareness, you might falsely assume you need to work on your confidence for instance, because a few people said something to that effect, or there’s a hot new self-help book out on confidence. Or maybe you didn’t get the job and all you remember is not feeling confident that you would get it in the first place. Truly, only your subconscious has the answers and knows what’s best for you. It won’t judge you like your ego or critical conscious mind either!
When you crack your subconscious code, you’re on a higher level than if you continue to respond to your immediate environment and ego influences in your life.
Your ego will keep you running, that’s for sure. Sometimes the ego’s wants and needs are an outright distraction from the real issues.
Relying on conscious awareness (and mostly ego) for self-improvement is only skimming the surface.
3 Ways You Can Learn To Understand What Your Subconscious is Telling You Through Dreams:
Hint: It has nothing to do with dream symbols.
- Dream Speak: Skip the Freud for this dream analysis!
In one of my most popular blog posts, 5 Ways To Communicate With Your Subconscious, I discussed several ways you can gain insight from your subconscious. An individualized approach to dream analysis is the practice of analyzing the deeper meanings of your dreams by giving your dream, a voice. Dream-speak.
The next time you remember a dream (or nightmare), choose the top 4 prominent things that stick out to you about your dream. It could be a red purse, a beaded necklace, a convertible, and a spider. It’s not as random as it may seem that you dreamt of particular things and you don’t have to look items up in a perplexing dream dictionary or Google toothless bear in the middle of the night.
They’re your dreams so they mean something to you and that answer is inside of you.
Upon waking, write each major element of your dream down and speak as if you are that element. Do this for all four items. I’ve gotten to a point I can quickly run through a dream and find a theme or solution to something I’m dealing with.
Being a voice of the elements in your dreams gives you the opportunity to step outside of yourself to get in touch with what’s going on inside, including repressed feelings.
For example red purse: “I am always beside you”. “I’m here if you need something.” For this person, they may feel as if they’re lacking support and this can encourage them to support themselves, but also support from the universe or God, depending on their beliefs. Support is there. Only they’ll know what it means to them.
The aha! moments dream-speak provides is priceless.
One woman noticed in her dream that she was in a super tiny car; she felt cramped, and the road was filled with nauseating ups and downs. The same nausea symptom that was bothering her every time she thought about her upcoming wedding. She chalked it up to pre-wedding jitters.
Speaking her dream, the car spoke to feeling constrained and suffocated, out of control, going way too fast. The road was sick and tired of all the ups and downs and the road said, ‘There’s no direction and it doesn’t make sense.”
She knew immediately this was all related to her relationship and looming wedding. There were so many ups and downs that her fiancé seemed to cause. She felt suffocated in the relationship, it was all on his terms, and she knew that it had all happened too fast. She was able to remember that her nausea began after he proposed. This was absolutely enough for her to call off the wedding and to this day, she says it was the best decision she’s made.
How you connect the random elements of your dreams is often meaningful to you.
2. Dream Therapy: Think of it as therapy for your subconscious!
If you’ve ever been to counseling or psychotherapy, you know that you typically talk about what’s on your mind. But since the mind is mostly made up of the subconscious (more than 80%), you’re basically only addressing, revealing, and working with 5-20% of yourself in therapy. This is why traditional therapy can take a long time.
A major advantage of dream therapy is it allows you to be the expert on YOU! Classical dream therapy uses generic symbols while at the mercy of someone else interpreting your dreams.
By monitoring your dreams, you have a window into the inner workings of your subconscious mind. If you’re on a self-healing journey for instance, it would help you gauge where you’re at in the process and what to focus on for best results.
So get out your clipboard and do your own subconscious dream therapy!
The next time you have a dream that you remember, make two columns on a sheet of paper. The left column should be labeled “Real” and the right column, “Not Real”. This enables you to learn both your left and right brain interpretations of your inner life.
Right brain is symbolic and left brain is literal.
Write down what is real about your dream. Suppose that in your dream you are the age that you are now and you’ve visited your mom, which may have occurred in real life. Those elements are real. But in the dream, your mom comes swooping down on a broomstick in a witch’s costume. The costume and flying broom are “not real” unless your mom recently dressed up for Halloween as a witch 🙂 Continue to fill your two categories.
When you’ve flushed out as much detail as you can remember, review your “Not real” column and with each item, ask yourself how that made you feel. For example, when you saw your mom in the witch’s outfit, how did you feel?”
Apply those feelings with your “real”, left brain (literal) column. You’ve uncovered your hidden feelings on these items and how they may be affecting your life, because hidden feelings don’t just go away. They can manifest into illness and defeating mindsets such as resentment and codependency.
If your subconscious says you still need to deal with something, you better listen!
3. Dream Resolution: What’s your story? In stories, the resolution is the part of the plot where the main problem is resolved.
Stories are a subconscious phenomena. We learn through stories, fables, and folklore.
Sometimes the dreams (or nightmares) we remember are as if an event is unfolding in a fairly linear way, as if it’s following a storyline, or at the very least you can identify a beginning, middle and perhaps an end.
Every fable or story that you connected with as a kid had meaning to you. It may not have even affected another person in the same way or maybe they preferred another story instead.
Dreams are deeply personal stories that highlight your inner life with meaning specific to you.
By combining the inherent magic of stories and dreams, you can essentially navigate your life the way you intend.
When you have a dream, fill in the blanks with context. Get creative! Write your own beginning, middle, and end or write a favorable outcome and ending if you awoke before the dream concluded.
Even though we are consciously writing the story, stories seem to be the one thing that unites the conscious and subconscious mind. So writing your story with positive intentions will affect your subconscious in a positive way.
The story becomes a positive suggestion for your subconscious!
Dreams are personal, even selfish. We tend to only dream about things that impact us directly; our careers, our desires, our health, and our relationships. Often having insight into our dreams, can increase your psychological and emotional effectiveness or provide creative solutions to perplexing problems.
Keep an open mind and you’ll learn a lot about yourself!
Peace and Be Well,