Experts Explain the Meaning of 12 Dreams We Usually Have

Philosophers and scientists have yet to fully crack the mystery behind dreaming. But some experts have studied the visuals that occur in our sleep to help us understand what they say about our inner desires and real-life experiences.

Bright Side gathered several interpretations from various experts to help you decode some of your most mind-boggling dreams. Please keep in mind that this article is for informational purposes only. For professional advice or a diagnosis, kindly see a medical expert.

1. Needing a bathroom and not being able to find one

The toilet is where we release our body’s waste. Dream psychologist Ian Wallace writes on his website that dreaming about needing the toilet and not finding one means you want to let go of something unhealthy in your life, but don’t know how to.

Wallace adds that if it was a challenge to meet your bathroom needs in the dream, it could be a sign that in real life, you are putting others’ needs before your own. He recommends prioritizing yourself and learning to say “no” to others every now and then.

2. Cats

Our feline friends may be cute and irresistible, but according to the author of The Illustrated Dream Dictionary, Russell Grant, cats in dreams are bad omens. They signify deceit or the betrayal of a loved one.

Black cats spell a forthcoming illness, but you can change it to good luck if you chase one in your dream.

3. Dogs

Dogs are man’s best friend, and even in dreams, they symbolize our pals. Grant says a happy canine means good times with your chums, but a growling mutt is a sign that you might have a traitor among your friends.

If a dog attempts to bite you, it could be a warning that someone is trying to swindle you. A barking dog suggests a forthcoming legal problem, so if you see one in your sleep, you’d better stick to the rules during your waking time.

4. Flying

Wallace says flying in your dreams represents the feeling of being liberated. This may occur after you are released from circumstances or obligations that were weighing you down in real life.

The Dream Bible provides another perspective, saying that flying could imply a lack of guilt from escaping responsibilities. Difficulties in soaring may also indicate that there is something limiting you from fully expressing yourself or achieving your goals.

5. Snakes

Certified dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg explains in an article that snakes can stand for multiple things, depending on the emotions triggered by the reptile.

Terror-inducing visions could represent a toxic person in your life or an immediate threat. Amusing snake images are associated with a minor health or healing issue, or a person that is not considered a danger yet.

Loewenberg suggests paying attention to the location where you saw the slithering creature. If it was inside the house, beware of possible stressors under your roof. If it was outdoors, it could be a sign to open up and resolve things with someone.

6. Getting married to a stranger

Committing to something that you are uncertain about may manifest in your dreams through marriage with a stranger.

Dream interpretation researcher Alri Menerski explains in an online forum that marrying a stranger may be an indication of an identity crisis and that you are unsure about what you want in life.

7. Searching for something

Searching for something in a dream often means looking for deeper fulfillment. Not knowing what you are looking for could be a reflection of the fact that you also don’t know what would give you satisfaction in your waking life.

Wallace says, if you are searching inside your home, it means you are trying to learn something about yourself. Searching outside signifies a yearning for recognition within your social circle. Searching inside a workplace echoes a desire for more professional accomplishments.

8. Climbing or clinging to a cliff

According to Wallace, making your way up an incline — like perhaps a flight of stairs or a mountain — is a sign of aiming for a higher level of success. Clinging onto the edge of a cliff demonstrates your effort to keep a tight grip on things that you are worried about.

Meanwhile, crumbling rocks may signify insecurity or a problem with your support system. And spiral staircase suggests a feeling of going around in circles or feeling stuck, instead of progressing.

9. Water and tidal waves

In one article, Loewenberg expounds on water as a symbol of emotion. Transparent water stands for clarity, muddy water implies misery, and getting drowned in tidal waves could mean feeling emotionally overwhelmed.

10. Falling in love or finding your soulmate

Have you ever dreamed of finding your soul mate and experiencing those strong emotions that come with falling in love? Do you remember waking up with a burning desire to find that person right away?

Dream analyst Jane Teresa Anderson writes that people in your dreams represent something about you. The wonderful traits you found in your soul mate are actually depictions of your own, amazing qualities.

11. Seeing your ex

Having your ex pop up in your subconscious at night does not necessarily mean a desire to rekindle your old flame. Wallace says your ex might be there to trigger a memory of their distinct qualities.

Your brain is creating an awareness of those traits so you can think of how they currently relate to you. If your ex was unfaithful, maybe you are not being truthful as well. If your former boo was nice and generous, perhaps you are beginning to recognize those traits within you.

Dreaming of your ex may also be your mind’s way of warning you to avoid repeating past relationship mistakes or patterns with your current partner.

12. Being unable to speak

According to the world’s largest dream database, which is based on the work of sleep doctor Charles Lambert McPhee, being unable to speak reflects personal feelings of being ignored or undervalued.

Having difficulties expressing your thoughts in dreams could also mean that you are “tongue-tied” in your waking life. If losing your voice is a recurring image, it could be a sign of an ongoing trauma from a past event.

Not being able to speak while sleeping may also be a result of sleep paralysis, which occurs during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. Sometimes, a glitch in the brain’s switch from slumber to wakefulness, causes dreams to “spill over” into our consciousness.

In general, dreams are open to interpretation and are entirely dependent on the thoughts, emotions, or situations being faced by the person who has them.

Do you think your dreams reflect something about your personal life? Have you ever used your dream as a sign or as a guide to help you make an important decision?

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