Sharing your dreams builds intimacy with your loved ones through empathy

Dreams are a beautiful mystery. They meant different things in different eras.

They were believed to be the voice of gods letting humans know their will, they were the gate to another world, the predictions of what was going to happen, the way the dead communicated with the livings, the royal path towards our true self, the process of emotional memories during sleep.

We all have a particular perception of our dreams. We create those phantasms and we live them as if they were true. They mean something to us, no matter where we place our belief on the meaning of it.

On the psychological acceptance of dreams

Sigmund Freud was the one that broke the perception of a dream happening to us. He changed the pattern and made us understand that we make those dreams. During sleep, our mind is freed from the censorship of consciousness, reality, and morality. And everything that can’t be real when we are awake, becomes real in our dreams. He’s the one calling dreams the royal path towards our true self.

For some, Freud became outdated or proved to be wrong. But his teachings are intrinsic to all forms of therapy. You can play with the words and write your own journal, but first, you must learn the alphabet. And Freud’s psychoanalysis is a sort of alphabet for modern psychology.

A new study

Researchers at the Swansea University Sleep Laboratory revealed a new way to use dreams for our benefit. By sharing them. The idea comes from basic psychoanalysis, where the patient learns the truth about his wishes by analyzing his dreams. You learn to listen to yourself through your dream and care about that self.

The results of the study suggest that by doing the same things with people you care about has a similar effect on the relationship. It seems that telling your dreams makes people who listen  empathize with you, grow fonder of you, understand you better, love you better.

How does it work?

Your dreams are somehow the most honest story you have to tell about yourself. And they have the generosity of letting people interpret them in their own manner.

A dream is very much like a story, or a movie. You read it, or you watch it and you get emotionally attached to the characters. You live that story, usually, from the perspective, you feel you are more related to. You identify yourself with one of the characters.

It is the same when someone tells you their dream. Unwillingly, you put yourself in the characters’ shoes and live that story in your own way. And what you feel while doing it becomes the interpretation of that dream. And this is classical empathy. This is the way we resonate with people’s feelings.

By knowing they are dreams we, the listeners, won’t judge. It’s not something real, so we’re like children listening to a story, waiting for it to teach us something new, as stories did when we were children. Morality is the student and the story is the teacher. We are learning to love the one we love.