When we dream, everything and everyone appearing is a reflection of ourselves. There have been many misconceptions about dreams and, just like with awake states, people easily confuses these reflections of themselves with the image. What we need to understand is that the psyche functions like a rebus, like a riddle.
We use symbols as representations for the world. An easy way to recognise this is the typical stress dream that most of us has experienced at some point in life, often when we are being pressured in waking life through work or school or other.
The dream can be us trying to get somewhere, running as fast as we can but our legs aren’t moving, or they’re stuck in mud or jello. One dream that comes to mind came to me many years ago where I dreamt that my best friend was having an affair with my boyfriend. In wake life, I wasn’t suspicious of this, in fact, I’m not even sure they had met more than once. But it wasn’t about either of them. It was what they represented in me that my unconscious mind was trying to project.
This is of course why the typical “dream dictionary” books are not useful at all. You can to some extend, label and categorise symbols (think “archetypes”) in dreams but from one dreamer to the next, and from one period in life to the next, the actual meaning of the symbol will not necessarily be the same.
I was not planning on writing an article about dream interpretation today but the theme of my emerging thoughts lead me to start with this because we function this way in waking life too.
Did you ever find yourself disliking everyone around you? That they all just seemed to have ganged up on you to make you feel angry/unworthy/ugly….
Or the days where all things that could go wrong, will go wrong?
What is the common denominator in these situations? It is you.
So maybe the whole world hasn’t changed, maybe it’s you.
This recently came to me as a personal issue when I was filled with self doubt and it felt like everyone kept asking things of me that I wasn’t capable of doing or producing. And of course, once it starts, it escalates easily. So the first thing might just be a lingering feeling that maybe you cannot achieve what is expected. That stays with you and next time something comes up that triggers that same feeling of self doubt, you get confirmation of the vague feeling.
Then it is definitely active in your mind so that when someone speaks to you about whatever you usually are good at, the sinking feeling of being an impostor makes you feel “less than”. All of a sudden, this person is bothering you. Who do they think they are anyway?
And it goes on.
What I want to emphasise is this idea that everything that plays out in your life, is just projections of your own mental state. Everyone around you, would therefore be in your life because they are attracted in as a way to mirror outside of yourself, an internal conflict or facet.
If We choose this perspective, we can then play with the idea that all that happens to us are clues to understanding something that we are finding very hard to see. As if there was a part of us that was external to the “drama”, the experience. Rather than saying external, let’s say “in the background”. And so this part of us, in the background, is trying to make us see some truth by exposing us to these triggering situations.
Now, you might counter me on this by saying “why would I believe this since there is so little we actually know about the mind?”.
That question would be very valid, especially since most of us have never been explained that we function this way. So it seems to go against everything that we have ever learned.
Let me then ask you this: which of the two perspectives seems to serve you the most?
Which of these to ways of approaching a bad situation will help you out of it?
The one making you a small and powerless being to all that happens to you, confirming that you are not capable and that everyone else is just out to get you? That you deserve whatever inconsiderate remarks or actions you receive?
Or the perspective that says: I brought this in so that I can see more clearly a lesson for me to grow? An opportunity to take action, learn about myself and therefore enrich my own life?