Have you ever dreamed about somebody who had a profound emotional impact on you? It may not necessarily be a romantic type of relationship, but they left a big impact on your life, whether for good or bad.
There’s just something about their presence in your dreams that makes you wonder about them and what they think of you. It’s enough to make you wonder: “Is it true that dreaming about someone means they miss you?”
The Reality of Missing Someone
A lot of people think that if you miss somebody that it automatically means you desire that person. Desire is a very strong word with a wide range of meanings that apply to many different types of situations.
Unfortunately, a lot of people automatically believe that if they miss somebody, the motivation for such emotion is pure desire. This doesn’t have to be sexual or physical.
It may just mean that you want the emotional presence of that person in your life. There’s just something about them that makes your life so much more meaningful or worthwhile.
While this definition of missing is definitely popular, it is not the only definition. Believe it or not, it may help you to desire someone who may be unpleasant.
I know this sounds crazy. Why would you want somebody who is there in your life giving you a hard time? Maybe they’re pushing you to do things that are inconvenient, uncomfortable, or even downright annoying given the circumstance.
Who wants that kind of hassle? Isn’t life hard enough?
But the truth is that different people respond to different stimuli.
Different People Miss Different Stimuli
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t really get motivated when people encourage you to do the right thing and try to boost your confidence by telling you that you can do it, you’re not going to get far.
Ideally, this is how we should get motivated.
Isn’t it awesome to have a supportive father who knows you like the back of his hands and gently and calmly reassures you that you can do whatever you set your mind to?
Wouldn’t it be great to have a mother who nurtures you and provides everything that you need in terms of emotional sustenance so you can be ready to take on the world when you think you’re ready?
These are reassuring mental images of supportive people in our lives, but let’s get real. Not all of us get motivated by this type of “support.”
Some people would only get off their butts and do something about the things that frustrate them or pose challenges to their financial, personal, psychological, and emotional needs when they feel threatened, demeaned, dismissed, insulted, degraded, or otherwise challenged.
I know it sounds pretty mercenary and cutthroat, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Part of us appreciates the people in our lives based primarily on what they bring to the table.
“What Can You Do for Me?”
This is the underlying siren song of the human condition. To deny it is just to engage yet again in self-delusion.
When you meet somebody, you’re always thinking in the back of your head:
“What can this person do for me? How can this person push ahead? What will this person bring to the table that will help me in some form or some way?”
That’s why expert salespeople can move a lot of products. That’s why men who may not look all that good or bring a lot of money to the table still end up walking away with a lot of women. This is also how a lot of unimaginative and not-all-that intelligent managers and supervisors in a typical corporation move up the ladder.
They know how to answer those questions. They know what the consequences of those questions are and where they come from.
And to refuse to ask this question because you think that you’re somehow pure or noble is really to put yourself at a disadvantage. A little bit of honesty goes a long way because you yourself are asking this question.
I know it’s not polite and it’s definitely crass and hard to hear, but none of that gets in the way of its truth.
Remember, this is what people ask consciously or unconsciously.
And desire has to be defined from this perspective as well because not everybody is proactive. Not everybody will try to live up to their fullest potential or push their personal boundaries or challenge their comfort zones with reassuring and motivating words.
You can watch all the motivational videos on YouTube that you can find, but if your mind is not set up to answer “what’s in it for me?” a certain way, then you’re just wasting your time.
What Am I Getting at?
I’m getting at the fact that you may be one of those people (and believe me, there’s a lot of these individuals; myself included,) who are motivated by other things. Instead of a pat on the back, they’re motivated by the fact that they got stabbed in the back.
Instead of a reassuring “I love you and I believe in you.” they feel the heat, burned hot enough to get up and wince when they hear: “You’re not going to amount to anything. You’re a loser. Give it up.”
Instead of being pushed to their breaking point until they reach the moment of a breakthrough by words like “You are part of the team. You are one of us. You have what it takes.” many people are motivated by the opposite message.
They spring to action when they hear “You’re an outsider. You’re a weirdo. Fuck you! You don’t belong here.”
Figure Out What You Think You Desire
Figuring out what you think you desire is the first step. Be clear about what you think will push you or bring out the best in you.
Again, this is what you think. Knock yourself out.
Do This Exercise
Come up with a long list. Don’t edit yourself. Write down the first things that come to mind.
Don’t think that there is such a thing as a right answer. Just get it out of your system.
Once you have that long list going, go to the next step.
Where Does Your Desire Come From?
When trying to understand who you miss and you’re missing someone, ask yourself:
“Why? Why do I desire certain people? Why do I think they will bring certain things to me?”
Chances are, the answer will come in three forms.
1. They Come from Your Parents
One source of desire may come from your parents or people you admire. To be crude about it, you just suck it off somebody.
I know that’s harsh, but in reality, that’s how it works out.
In other words, your parents had a certain series of desired outcomes, and with these follow an acceptable range of motivation sources.
Most of us unconsciously take on the lives of our parents. This should not be a surprise because these are the people that took care of us when we couldn’t take care of ourselves.
You automatically believe that since they had the power to sustain us, then they have all the answers. So unthinkingly, we take on their answers, their desires, and their solutions.
But there comes a point where you have to question these because your life and the circumstances surrounding your life and your personal journey may be quite different from the generation that came before you.
And as much as you love your parents and as strong as those emotional bonds may be, it is not a sign of betrayal or disloyalty when you switch to a different path because their desires don’t work for you.
Their motivations simply may not make sense in your particular context. So, figuring out where your desire comes from is crucial.
And don’t think that you are somehow weak, pathetic, or sad when it turns out that most if not all of your motivations and worldview come from one of your parents.
2. Be on the Lookout for the Second Source of Why You Miss Who You Miss
The second source can simply involve trauma. A lot of people want to belong because, at some point in our lives, we were vulnerable.
Maybe you’re the new kid in school with a bad case of acne and a funny haircut. Maybe you’re the person who said the wrong answer in a very public way, and then from then on, people thought you were an idiot.
Whatever the case may be, there is some initial wound, weakness, or vulnerability. That’s why you spend your life trying to fill that and heal yourself. That’s why you desire people who make you think that you are worthy, complete, or that you belong.
In other words, you’re looking for the solution in the hands of other people.
I’m not saying that this is always wrong. Obviously, it works enough times for it to remain a thing. It is an option and quite a popular one at that.
But it doesn’t always work because what happens is you become a slave to other people’s expectations. You’re always looking for validation outside of yourself.
Give Yourself Enough Credit
You’d be surprised as to how many people will not believe in their own goodness, competence, and proficiency until and unless somebody else they respect tells them so.
In other words, you have put in the work to build whatever accomplishments and achievements you have on this earth. You put in the time and you made the necessary sacrifices to become the best version of yourself.
But you don’t believe any of that. In fact, you refuse to see the reality of how far you’ve come and how high up you are until somebody else tells you.
That is sad. That is a weakness.
Cut the Need for External Validation
The reality of your achievements speaks for itself. You don’t need somebody you can’t control and you don’t really know to tell you what you have achieved.
What have they done? What have they contributed?
This is the weakness of this second source of desire formation.
But it’s very common. In fact, we get so addicted to external validation that we will go through all sorts of soul-wrenching and degrading acts just so we feel accepted and we belong.
And before you know it, your identity is so wrapped up in your desire for external approval that you can’t even recognize who you are and what you truly desire.
This brings me to the third point.
3. Never Underestimate the Power of revenge as a Source of Motivation
My Counselor and Me
When I first came to the United States in my early teens, I remember sitting down at the office of our academic counselor at the junior high school I was going to. I was called into this special counseling meeting because the administration wanted to accelerate me to an advanced grade.
On top of that, they wanted to place me in an Advanced Placement class. These “core classes” are special programs in public schools in certain parts of the United States where gifted or high IQ students are transferred to “a more conducive and challenging environment.”
The idea is it would be a waste for kids with certain proficiencies to be in the same class as “average kids.” Looking back at it now, I don’t know whether to be flattered or not but it was what it was.
Anyway, the counselor (and I still remember his name) didn’t seem too happy. In fact, he looked like just a typical paper filer and clerk just shuffling through a large pile of papers. He barely looked at me.
Reading out a sigh, he said: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Obviously, he was just reciting some mental checklist of the things that you’re supposed to ask. I suppose this is an indication that it was a foregone conclusion that I will be accelerated.
My 13-year-old self took that as an opportunity to bare my soul and said, “I want to be a lawyer.”
Without missing a beat, he put down the papers that he was holding and then set them aside and looked at me with his back straight. He said: “I know a place where there’s a lot of Filipino lawyers.”
A smile came over me. I felt validated.
I thought: “Wow! This guy gets it. I’m a Filipino immigrant to the United States, trying to feel my way around, establish some sort of identity, and this guy in this new junior high school that I just transferred to gets me.
Immediately, he let it drop. Then came his word: “Have you tried the Philippines?”
It’s as if somebody dumped a hundred gallons of ice-cold water on me. His words rang far and deep into my core.
Basically, he was saying: “Go back to where you come from.”
Looking back now, I can understand why he said what he said. That junior high school that I went to was going through a serious demographic change.
Previously, it was a white American middle-class community, and during the years I was going there, it was changing rapidly. You would see the stereotypical Jewish-American household on one end of the block and Mexican-American and Asian-American families moving in on the other end.
And this wasn’t a case of a multicultural melting pot utopia that you would see in 80s sitcoms. No!
The moment a block starts to “integrate,” the white families would move out. White flight was, and still is, very real.
And on top of that, this was the time when kids were being bussed from African-American areas of the San Fernando Valley to where my junior high was located.
I didn’t know any of these back then. I was just seeing the day-to-day consequences of them. I didn’t know the larger forces and political choices being made behind these things.
All I knew was my counselor’s words and how they struck me like a 100-lb hammer that I had no way of anticipating.
So, from that day, I said to myself: “I’m gonna prove you wrong. I will get a law degree.”
I shared this with you because when you miss people, it’s very tempting to think that you miss people who will give you the positive support that you’re looking for.
But it turns out that negative reinforcement is just as effective, if not, more effective.
I don’t know how I would have responded if the person said: “Great! That’s awesome. You can be whatever you want to be.”
Knowing myself, I probably would feel good then, but that good feeling would probably disappear quickly later on.
If It Bleeds, It Leads
There’s a reason why bad news tends to spread faster than good news.
The emotional impact is different. It just hits you differently, with a different intensity, and from a seemingly different place.
When I heard those words from my counselor, who is supposed to advise me to live up to my fullest academic and professional potential, I felt very angry. It’s as if somebody who can access your most vulnerable parts because you’ve given them your trust and you’ve truly opened your mind to their suggestions, drops a hammer on you.
That’s how I felt. It was a violation of the trust and credibility and authority I have given him. I felt that it didn’t go both ways.
He had access to my academic records. He knew what I was capable of. After all, this was the reason why I was sent to that meeting in the first place.
This was the heavy burden that I carried in junior high school, high school, and all the way to college and law school in California. I wanted to prove him wrong.
I’m sharing this with you because this might be the kind of motivation you’re looking for. You might need to miss people who, on the surface, want to do you harm or out to dismiss you or who are out to punish you.
Now, the key here is to understand why you’re missing them. You’re not missing them because you are a glutton for punishment or you’re some sort of psycho-emotional masochist.
You’re missing them because you know how your mind is shaped, and you respond more to challenges and negativity than you do to positive external validation or inner encouragement.
Whatever the case may be, know yourself.
Just as I used that incident to push me to finish high school, community college, then transfer to college, then three years of law school, and then three grueling months of the California Bar Examination, which is one of the toughest in the United States, I am confident that if your mind is shaped more towards negative stimuli, you will achieve the same or similar results.
And this doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. It’s just that you’re motivated in a different way.
And if you’re dreaming of someone that may have a positive impact on you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s surrounded by positive emotion.
Who Do You Miss?
Now that we’re clear about the value of missing people, the next step is to focus on the context of the dream.
When you dream of someone, pay close attention to their relationship to you because the identity of the people that you dream about who is missing you or have an impact on you plays a big role in the actual meaning of your dream.
At the end of the day, the answer to whether dreaming about someone means they miss is irrelevant. What matters is what they mean to you and the things that are put in motion by your thinking of them in your subconscious mind and their later effects on your life.
Understand that these people have lives of their own. In many cases, they’re no longer alive.
This means that the question of whether they miss you or not truly misses the point. Instead, the issue is what do these people mean to you to the point that you miss them.
How Does Missing Them Impact Your Life?
At the core wall of this is the amount of control you have. People can only mean something to you if you want them to. It’s not even a question of you allowing. It’s about you making them count in your life.
You are the ultimate arbiter and gatekeeper of meaning in your life. I know that sounds like a very big statement, but it isn’t. You’re always in control, whether you are aware of it or not and whether you give yourself permission to realize this or not.
Sure, certain people and certain events have a stronger emotional impact on you than others. But, as the days go by, the ones that you remember are products of your choices.
You chose to remember them. There’s a reason for that choice. Know yourself enough to understand why you choose to remember certain things instead of others.
That’s why a key part of this, of course, is the relationship you have with the person you are missing.
1. Dreaming of Your Friends at School
This dream often refers to whatever misunderstandings you have with people you grew up with. They were with you when you were figuring out certain things in the world.
You miss them because you’re looking for these misunderstandings to be resolved. Alternatively, you realize that these misunderstandings shape who you have become.
In reality, you’re less preoccupied with figuring out the truth than you are with realizing why the things that you understood to be true led to who you are today.
This is a mature approach because let’s face it, you travel back in time and try to resolve past misunderstandings from your early years as far as facts go.
What happened between you and them are facts and unchangeable. That ship has sailed. Your real-life now is what you choose to make of it. It is the set of “truths” you choose to hang on to.
Usually, people who try to “reconcile” with people from the past are clueless about the fact that those people are “dead.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. They may still be physically walking the Earth, but they’re “dead” at the same time.
Why? Because you’re trying to get to somebody who thought and lived a certain way at a certain time in the past.
If they’re in any way normal, they have moved on. In other words, that old self has died.
So, focus on what you’re truly missing.
Are you missing the stimuli that they used to motivate you or give you the validation that you needed? Or, are you missing the person themselves?
And if it’s the latter, it’s a waste of time because they’re gone just as the facts that arose to create that memory that you’re still struggling with or trying to make peace with is also gone.
You can’t jump into a time machine like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future and make some changes to change your present reality. It doesn’t work that way.
2. Dreaming of Your Ex- Missing You
Usually, a lot of people, who ask if dreaming about someone means the person that they dreamed of misses them, are usually pining or yearning for the past emotional bonds they may have had with that person.
This is an exercise in nostalgia.
As I have described earlier, the reality is your ex- is, for all intents and purposes, “dead.” The person that you are missing is a snapshot of that person in the many different phases that they went through in their total lifetime.
Sure, they may still be breathing and are otherwise alive, but the person that you’re hanging on to is a memory. That person is “dead.”
So, to think that by dreaming of that person and letting that person live in your subconscious head that somehow that they miss you is really an issue you have to resolve with yourself.
Maybe they have moved on. Maybe they have changed. Maybe they have physically moved somewhere.
Whatever the case may be, they’re in a different place now.
That’s why it’s really important to focus on what you can control right now. What you can control is your interpretation of this person’s appearance in your dreams.
Instead of seeing this as some sort of lifeline to nostalgia, look at it for what it is. There’s a part of you that still misses that person.
But you’re talking with the dead much like looking at the stars above without realizing that most of these stars are long dead. It just takes millions of years for their light to reach the Earth, but if you were to teleport yourself to the source at this moment, there’s nothing there.
You have to look at people who have played a strong role in your life and use this opportunity provided by you seeing them in your dreams to pick apart how you were motivated by them.
Believe it or not, the stronger you miss them, the stronger the impact they had on you in shaping who you are today.
So, thank them. They helped create who you are.
But if you want to take a different path, then now is the time to unshackle yourself from your interpretation of what they meant to you and find your own path. That’s how you get out from under the effects of the past.
And believe me, it has nothing to do with wondering if they still miss you or if there’s still a connection because ultimately it is you who is giving meaning to all of this.
3. Dreaming of a Relative Missing You
When you’re dreaming of a family member, it’s a good idea to pick apart who you thought that person was and who they really were. But how do you know who a person really is?
Well, the first thing to look at is not their words.
Anybody can say reassuring words. Anybody can seem positive. Anybody can seem supportive and nurturing.
Instead, look at what they did because, as the old saying goes, “your actions are speaking so loud that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
That’s an absolutely true statement. You need to look at what they did and then look at the impact on you.
Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Even if you have negative emotions regarding their impact on you, this doesn’t necessarily mean that that person is a bad person or the memory of that person is necessarily negative.
As I have mentioned in my story about my junior high school counselor, his words transformed me. Instead of crushing me, it woke me up to the reality that I was just fantasizing about what I wanted to eventually become or I was unclear about certain things in my future path.
His words cut like a knife. Just like a knife can separate, it can also scrape and clean. So, a lot of that ambiguity disappeared.
Apply this to your life so far.
Did you have a mother who for the life of her cannot praise you?
Do you have an emotionally absent father? He’s there physically, but he couldn’t be bothered when it comes to giving you assurance, encouragement, and emotional support.
Do you have a father who just basically abandoned you?
Instead of focusing on the person, focus on your reaction to what they did.
Maybe you’re missing the wrong person. Maybe instead of missing the person who hurt you so much — that it got you to find the energy you need to get your act together — you’re missing the opposite of that person.
What you’re really doing is you’re saying to yourself: “What if this happened? What if that person turned out to be a different way?”
Well, here’s one thing that I know is true: You wouldn’t be where you are.
Sure, your parents may not have been the best in your mind, but if they didn’t do what they did, you wouldn’t be here — and with it, your accomplishments, achievements, and everything else that you can be proud of.
Put in another way, even if you feel that you haven’t achieved much and you’re struggling, you’re not really doing yourself any favors by constantly pointing to that person from the past and saying, “You’re the reason.”
But let me clue you in on a really uncomfortable truth. They’re not the ones who made the decisions that put you where you are. They’re not the ones who made the choices that led to realities that frustrate you to this very day.
You did that! That’s on you.
And so, what you’re doing is you are just hanging on to these people as patsies and fall guys that you can conveniently blame.
I understand the emotional release that’s involved when you go through that process. Believe me, I’ve done that in the past. Similarly, I understand the value of feeling like a victim.
Who wants to change? When you’re a victim, the world has to change because it owed you an apology. You don’t have to change. Haven’t you suffered enough?
But the problem is if you imagine yourself to be some sort of victim, nothing is going to change. You go through one day after another with the false sense of moral superiority and little else.
That’s not the way to go because you’re not building up the resources that you need to build the kind of life you feel you deserve.
You need to understand why you miss people and try to miss them the “right way,” and that will push you to do whatever it is that you need to do to get to where you want to go.
And this is not a one-time thing that involves some sort of emotional catharsis. It has to affect what you do repeatedly.
Sure, a lot of the stuff that we talked about above may change the things that you choose to talk about. But things only become real when you change what you repeatedly do.
Dream Example #1
She looked extremely disgusted. Her eyes were a combination of pale yellow and red color. She was meek, unable to even lift her finger.
She was resting on the bed, with her palms clasped within mine. The hospital general ward was crowded. I was the only one with her. She wanted to leave that place but I insisted she stay. Her eyes were teary. She felt exhausted and numb.
We were waiting for the doctor to visit and tell us the results.
Few hours passed by and a lady doctor wearing a stethoscope around her neck entered the room. She had big white framed glasses fixed on her eyes. A nurse followed her. She walked past all the patients and in a moment I realized she was pacing toward us.
With sympathetic eyes and a soft voice, she began to speak. The earth slipped by my feet as I heard her. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I was unable to believe my ears. The doctor placed an arm around my shoulders embracing me into a light hug.
She sympathized with me and further confirmed the stage of colon cancer my mother was on. She told me about the symptoms. She warned me about the little time my mother had left to live.
At that moment I thought about my mother. My mother was without any doubt the most important person in my life. She was the most powerful woman I have ever seen. She was the most beautiful woman with the kindest eyes and a pretty smile.
Although she was strict with me sometimes and punished me for the wrongdoings I did but still I took pride in her. She was the one person I was fond of.
She was knowledgeable and knew so much about this world. She stayed happy even in the most difficult times. She was my strength and I couldn’t believe I will not have it anymore
I was devastated to hear that news. Luckily, the doctors had given anesthesia to ease my mum’s pain and she was drowsy and didn’t hear anything. The doctor moved forward.
For a moment, the world around me spun, I didn’t know what to do. I felt so helpless. At that moment, I felt as if everything in my life has shattered and there was nothing left behind for me. Crying for few minutes, when I heard my mum calling my name I finally gathered some strength and answered her.
It was at this moment I decided to be strong. I decided to take care of my mother the same way she did when I was young and. I decided to look after her the way she did when I was ill. It was at that moment when I decided to be her strength as she was mine.
I grasped my mother’s soft hand with both of mine and rested my head on the bed. Within a few moments, my body started to feel warm and I woke up with tears rolling down my cheeks. My mother was sitting just by my side, worried about my situation.
I hugged her in an instant and thanked god that it was all a dream.
Dream Example #2
I was heading towards the International airport in the evening. I have a flight at night for Canada. It was the first time I was traveling alone without my family. My mom, dad, and younger brother hugged me. I departed with a smile on my face.
One of my cousins received me from the Toronto airport. Within some days, I got shifted into a new apartment in Toronto. There was not even a single day when I cried, missing my family. I was unpacking the stuff in the new apartment. I have my brother who was helping me.
We settled down everything and ate pizzas after that. I got a migraine. So my brother advised me to sleep with a pill.
The moment I fell asleep, I saw that I was at my home telling my mom, dad, and brother to pack their stuff. I was planning to move with my family to Canada. We all packed our stuff. I slept on my mom’s shoulder for a while.
After some time, my mom woke me up. We rushed inside the flight. Everything was the same, like when I traveled alone. The only thing which was creating difference was my family. We landed at the airport. We reached inside the apartment. We tried to open the door of the apartment.
My dad was trying to open it. A person passing nearby told my family, nobody lives here!
My whole family was in shock. They started searching for me. I don’t know what kind of web it is. I can see them, but they can’t. For me, it’s like I am dead. I ran from here to there.
I made limitless efforts to bring back my identity. It seems like I have lost everything in front of my eyes. Then a voice of someone weeping addressed my ears. I saw so many people gathered. They were all gathered up for mourning. It took me few seconds to guess that It was my funeral. I immediately hurried and left that place. I was wet with sweat.
I reached somewhere like a mountain peak. There is snow everywhere in the surrounding. The only warmth was inside my body. I have never seen something this weird. I caught myself in the airspace. I saw the mountain peak. It was getting farther and farther. I was getting closer towards the lake. I drowned inside a lake.
I opened my eyes. I got choked. The temperature of my body was very high.
I have a high temperature. I saw my aunt preparing the meal for me. After taking dinner and medicine, I felt better. When I checked my phone, I have seen ten missed calls from my mom. Then I talked with my family for hours and find out that they all are very well.
In a dream, I was untrue, searching for myself. I missed my family, they missed me, we meet in a dream.
Dream interpretation and symbology have fascinated me ever since I read Freud’s classic, “The Interpretation of Dreams.” Ever since, I have explored Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist as well as Jungian psychological ideas about the meaning of dreams. Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the amazing intersection between our conscious waking world and the rich expanse of our subconscious-the home of our intuition, instincts, and hidden potential.