Dreams Are Your Best Friend￼
A good friend of mine once jokingly told me that I would be the go-to person when she wanted to receive honest feedback on her new hairstyle because I wouldn’t shy away from giving her my genuine opinion. I knew she meant more than about her hairstyles. I felt touched to hear that because she trusted me and was open to hearing my potentially not-so-easy opinions. I think I am generally a polite and empathic person. But if I believe a good friend would benefit from my honesty, and if they appear to be open to it, I’m willing to tell them what I think about them because I’m their good friend and have their best interest at heart.
A good friend, however, doesn’t have to be in a human form. Ellis (2019) wrote, “Dreams are like that very good friend who is willing to be honest with us even when what they have to say is not easy to hear” (p. 13). I find it a very beautiful framing of dreams. I don’t think dreams would give feedback on your hairstyle per se, but they give us honest feedback on how we are doing in our everyday life, and if needed, they will suggest a new direction for our life.
For example, at the beginning of this year, I dreamed I was at a lecture given by a male professor, who was very “professorial,” but I openly disagreed with him. After I woke up, I thought about the dream. The most salient part of the dream was my disagreement with the professor because it was very uncharacteristic of me to challenge authority. As I wrote, I identify as polite and rather shy in public. When I recalled the professor, he looked like what many people stereotypically imagined what a professor would look like. He had grey hair and wore glasses and a tweed jacket. I don’t remember him as particularly authoritarian, but he looked confident and comfortable with his knowledge and intelligence.
After meditating on the dream, I realized that I could express my ideas and thoughts—like how I challenged the professor—and be more confident with my intelligence—like the professor in the dream. I had wanted to write blog posts and books for many years but had procrastinated because I didn’t believe my ideas were good enough. Around the same time when I had this dream, however, I had a series of dreams like this that pointed to writing and teaching. My best friend was nudging me to do the things that I had put off for a long time! This summer, I finally accepted the message from those dreams and started to write, and went back to teaching. I’m still shy and awkward in the new endeavors, and I know this path is worth exploring. Most importantly, I feel my best friend is on my side and will send me messages when I need her guidance.
Ellis, L. (2019). A clinician’s guide to dream therapy: Implementing simple and effective dreamwork. Routledge.