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Dreams Can Reflect Real Life In More Ways Than We Know

Woman sitting and thinking on a cloud.
Woman sitting and thinking on a cloud.

We’ve all been there. Standing in the school yard (or board room) butt naked with nowhere to hide and everyone we've ever know in our entire lives is pointing and laughing.

Then, we wake up (hopefully).

“We dream to process our conscious and unconscious experiences of the last 1-2 days,” said dream analyst Jane Teresa Anderson.

“Dreaming can help us to resolve issues, problem-solve, and come up with creative ideas. Though, sadly, we all too often hang onto our oldest and most valued beliefs even when these are not serving us well, and these can show themselves as recurring dreams. They often reflect unconscious beliefs that are keeping us stuck in life, or causing inner conflict and stress.”

Believe that dreams have meaning, or think its a load of BS? It really is a matter of opinion. If you are a believer, read on for Anderson's take on some common dreams -- but take note: “There is no one-size-fits-all meaning for any of the common dreams. Every dream is unique and personal to the dreamer -- there is no dream dictionary!”

Moving very slowly or not being able to run away

If you’re frightened in a dream, your body produces fear hormones such as adrenalin, so your body feels the fear for real. Fear can freeze you on the spot, sprinkle your skin with goosebumps, or render you with the inability to move.

On another level, dreaming of not being able to run away may reflect a feeling, in life, that you can’t escape -- a fear or a threatening situation. It’s better to face your fears and resolve them (unless your life is genuinely in danger) and this kind of dream can help you to open up to that.

For everyone who has this common dream, the meaning is different when it comes down to details.

A dream of only being able to move very slowly towards a place you want to be (rather than away from something you fear) is equally as common. This often reflects self doubt, hesitation and unconscious resistance to your goals.

Dreams about dying

There are so many meanings, depending on the details in the dream -- but ask yourself what you feel, in the last two days, what has been dying or losing vitality.

Don’t think about your death, or anyone else’s death -- think about what feels like it’s coming to an end in your life. This can be good -- an old attitude or bad habit dying, or recognition that something has come to an end (like a course you’ve just completed, a phase of life, a relationship that’s ready to end).

Or it can be a wake up call -- you haven’t been putting energy into a relationship or a job and your dream pictures this as something dying.

Any time you’re faced with change, there can be necessary death of the old way so you can welcome the birth of the new.

Dreams reflect your feelings and beliefs and your personal perspective, rather than what’s actually happening -- so such dreams help you to monitor what you’re letting go, purposefully or through neglect.

Missing a boat, plane or some form of transport

Ask yourself what opportunity you feel you’re missing in life, particularly in the two days before your dream.

It’s likely that you’ll either identify with that feeling or you’ll think, “No, it’s the exact opposite, I take every opportunity presented to me and I’m a great success”.

In that case, your dream reflects your unconscious fear of missing out that drives you to the other extreme, and possible future burnout. The details of a dream help you to identify the beliefs and emotions that cause you to miss opportunities or to take on too many.

Dreams about missing teeth

This is one of the most common dreams and yet there are so many different meanings.

In the end it depends on the details of the dream and on the emotions you feel in the dream. Ask yourself what you feel is missing in the way you express yourself -- the way you talk, your image and your confidence.

A common variation is spitting teeth as you speak, or the more you try to say something, the more teeth you lose, and while this also has different meanings depending on the dreamer, it can come up when you feel you’re ‘losing face’ with every word you utter, as if you can’t take back your words, they’re lost, like teeth, forever.

Dreams about being naked

How do you feel in your dream? If you feel wonderful about your nakedness -- and it’s not a sexy dream -- maybe you’re feeling confident about expressing your truest self to the world.

If you feel uncomfortable about your nakedness, maybe you feel uncomfortable about people seeing the real you -- not your body, but your heart, mind, and soul. What was the exact feeling you had in the dream? Where did you feel this way – or the opposite of this way (if it reflects an unconscious feeling) in the two days before your dream?


The meaning depends on the details of the dream. For example, if it was exhilarating and gave you a new perspective, where was this true for you in your real life in the two days before the dream?

Or, you may be rising above a situation to get a better or higher perspective, which will be helpful to you in solving a problem in your life.

As another example, did you feel it was difficult to get off the ground, but you managed a bit? Did you fly in the dream and spend much of it trying to persuade others to join you? Those other people may represent your self doubt, a conflict within yourself about reaching a higher potential, or rising above a situation.

Or did you dream fly to escape rather than face consequences? In life do you lack grounding, escape into your head? Be guided by the feeling in the dream.

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