Dear Claire,

Lately, I have been dreaming about being in a museum. I had two of these dreams. In each dream, I was walking through the museum with someone, but it was with a different person in each dream. In the first dream, I was walking with my swim coach from when I was in grade school. He was a really loud and rough type of person, and I was pretty afraid of him. But in the dream, I was not afraid of him at all. We were just walking through the museum, looking at things and talking.

In the second dream, I am in the same museum, and I see this girl who I knew from high school and had a crush on. I never spoke to her one single time in high school because I was totally intimidated by her. In my dream, I went up to her to tell her how I had decided that if I ever saw her again, I would go up and speak to her. I told her who I was and started to tell her why I had never talked to her. But every time I would try to talk to her, we would get interrupted by people coming over and wanting to sit at our table and talk to us, and I would have to politely ask them move along. When all the interruptions stopped, and I was finally starting to tell her my story about how I wasn’t too intimidated to talk to her anymore, I woke up! I felt frustrated, but I also felt pretty good about going up to speak to her. This last dream was vivid in my mind for a few days. But I wasn’t upset about it. I actually felt pretty good about it.

Museums are places where we can gain insight into what once was, and where we can view items from past civilizations and time periods in human history. As a result, museums are classic and powerful dream symbols for the past and for history—especially for our personal past and history. In addition, museums in a dream can signify the generations and ancestors who came before us, as well as our past relationships, and can also be used to represent various time periods in our lives or recent journeys which we may have taken into our past (for example, a visit to a former childhood home or a high school reunion).

While the above dreams are set solely in a museum, they appear to contain themes from both the past and the present, reflecting two different time periods in the dreamer’s life—one where the dreamer was held back by insecurity and doubt (often to the point of being silenced by it), and one where he has been freed of his past and is able to revisit it from a new perspective of confidence and fearless self-assurance. The characters in the above dreams, a domineering coach and the “crush” girl from high school, appear to signify the period in the dreamer’s past when he was more easily intimidated and limited by fear and a lack of confidence—aspects of his personality which he appears to have altered and/or overcome. This change in his identity and self-perception is evidenced by the fact that a new scenario is now being portrayed in his dreams—one that is extremely different from the scenarios of the dreamer’s past. In this new scenario, the dreamer walks with ease around the coach who once made him feel apprehensive and fearful, and he is confident and proud when engaged in conversation with the “crush girl” from high school—an individual who he had once lacked the courage to even speak to.

In both of the dream museum scenarios, the actions of the dreamer demonstrate how far he has come in terms of self-confidence, courage, and the ability to take action. In short, these dreams appear to serve as a subconscious validation of the fact that he is no longer the fearful, intimidated version of himself—and they illustrate how far he has come on his journey of self-empowerment in life. Although once held back by a deflated sense of self, and silenced by self-doubt, the dreamer has now intentionally created scenarios where he is communicating with the very people who he was once intimidated by and fearful of–and, not only that, he is persistent in his attempts to acknowledge and confront the insecure behavior of his past and make his presence known.

This is quite an emotionally healthy exercise—the dreamer has utilized his dreaming world to assist with and reinforce the changes in his self-perception, and, in doing so, he is further freeing himself from the limiting behaviors of his past and creating an even stronger sense of self. By confronting the symbols of his past angst and diminished sense of self—and by speaking with self-assurance and persistence—the dreamer is able to “create a new story”, solidify these new aspects of his personality, and, perhaps, quiet the inner conflict of his past and find some resolution and closure. The human mind, as well as every cell in the human body, has an extremely intricate history—so the museum, a powerfully classic symbol for the past, is the perfect setting for this symbolic exercise of empowerment and growth.

Hopefully, the dreamer is able to continue to access this dream world museum therapy, further strengthen his new identity, and reduce the insecurities of his past to mere shadows and vague memories.

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