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Falling in Your Dreams – Interpretation and Symbolism

You’re feeling weightless, and there’s a sense of disorientation. You know you’re dreaming, but it doesn’t feel like what you expect a dream to be. Suddenly, it feels as though the ground is rushing up at you, and then you’re falling through space or plummeting towards the earth with no hope of slowing down.

If this type of dream sounds familiar, it’s because dreams of falling are common and you’ve probably had one at some point in your life. Such dreams can be interpreted in various ways.

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Dreaming of falling interpretation

What Can Falling in A Dream Mean?

While there’s no scientific agreement about the meaning of dreams, dreams involving free-falling are often believed to represent feelings of inadequacy, instability, being overwhelmed, or feeling a loss of control. They can also represent the sensation of ‘coming down’ from heightened emotional states such as love.

Falling in dreams can also symbolize letting go – whether it is something from the past or a habit that has become part of who you are today. In this case, dreaming about falling might mean that it is time for a change.

Another interpretation relates specifically to childhood experiences: If you have strong memories of falling when playing as a child, your dreams may reflect a fear of being caught out or ridiculed.

Bottom line?

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Falling in your dreams may be linked to negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, stress, and trauma. The most common interpretation for dreaming about falling is that there are feelings within you which need attention, surrounding change, and growth-related issues.

Freud’s Analysis of Falling Dreams

In his 1899 book, The Interpretation of Dreams Sigmund Freud states that dreaming of falling indicates a state of anxiety with sexual undertones. Freud remarks:

If a woman dreams of falling, it almost invariably has a sexual sense: she is imagining herself as a ‘fallen woman.'”

This analysis showcases the cultural norms of his time, especially the concept of a fallen woman, which comes from Judeo-Christian perspectives of morality.

Why Do We Dream About Falling?

There is a lot of debate as to why we dream about falling. Some believe that it has to do with our memories and how they are stored within the brain. Others maintain that dreams about falling reflect your inner fears and anxieties or serve as an example of regression into childhood.

Do The Specifics of Dreaming About Falling Matter?

The specific details surrounding your fall in the dream can be used to help you determine what these negative emotions may mean for you. For instance, if you dreamed of tripping over your feet before taking off towards earth, then this could indicate some sort of failure or anxiety, whereas having no control over how fast you’re moving would represent feelings around lack of self-control or even being out-of-control.

Types Of Dreams About Falling and Their Interpretations

While there is no one-size-fits-all explanation for this common dream, some people associate the act of dreaming about falling with how you’re feeling in your waking life.

For instance, if you have been experiencing a great deal of stress or anxiety lately, these feelings may manifest in your subconscious during sleep.

Similarly, having nightmares involving something as dramatic as actual physical injury could indicate fears of being hurt physically or emotionally by someone else.

  • Falling on your back: If you dream that you’re falling on your back, it could represent a loss of power or control over your life. You may feel a sense of inadequacy in dealing with certain challenges in your life.
  • Falling on your hands: This is likely to mean that you feel less in control than usual about what’s going on around you and cannot deal with the stresses of everyday life well.
  • Tripping and falling: If this dream occurs when there isn’t anything nearby that would have caused you to trip, then perhaps someone close by has been causing an emotional reaction within your daily routine. If something nearby, such as a banana skin, made you fall, then it may be a good idea to take some extra care not just for yourself but also of those around you who may need protection from any consequences they might face. However, sometimes tripping and falling may be interpreted as positive. For example, tripping can mean happiness at an unexpected turn of events.
  • Falling off a cliff: Not only is this a widespread type of dream, but it also has many different interpretations. Falling off a cliff can be viewed as the end of an old routine, which may have become repetitive and boring for you. The dream could be telling you to move forward in your life with new opportunities that await around every corner, just like when you are about to take that next step into free fall.
  • Falling off a building: Falling off a building may be symbolic of your feeling that you are not on the right path in life. This could point to unfulfilled desires or maybe insecurity with yourself and what you do for a living. From a positive perspective, falling from buildings can also mean starting over again, which is always good news.
  • Falling and getting hurt: Facing the reality of your life is an integral part of growing and developing as a person. But it can be painful to face certain things about yourself, like not living up to your expectations. This dream may indicate that you face brutal truths in your waking life or may even need some help overcoming obstacles.
  • Falling down an elevator: If you have a dream where you are falling down an elevator, it may represent the fear of falling behind. You might start to feel like you are not up to date with certain things in your life, or maybe even that you cannot keep up with the pace of change. Falling down an elevator can also represent hurt feelings. However, getting out may represent accession to new opportunities.
  • Being pushed: Dreams of being pushed can represent your need to take control in waking life. If you are pushing yourself, then this dream may indicate that you are too competitive or ambitious for the current situation. On the other hand, if someone is pushing you in the dream, it might mean an obstacle is present and will make achieving your goals more difficult.
  • Falling from the sky: If you’re plummeting down from the sky, then this can indicate a loss of control in some aspect of your waking life.  

What If You Dream of Someone Else Falling?

If you see someone else falling in your dream, this could mean that you are aware of a negative situation but cannot seem to help. It could also indicate that you have been feeling unstable or weak for some time now and need to improve your own life before being able to help others.

Can You Prevent Dreaming of Falling?

Falling in real life is nothing but a sense of losing control and a fear of getting hurt and perhaps ridiculed. No one likes to feel that way. In the same way, falling in dreams can indicate these same feelings.

Controlling your dreams is very difficult, and most of us are passive actors in our own dreams, going wherever the dream takes us. However, if your dream is related to stress in your waking life, identifying these stressors and working to reduce them could help in reducing the intensity or frequency of falling dreams.

If you are struggling with recurring nightmares of falling, talking to a therapist might be helpful in overcoming them and getting better rest.  Nightmares can cause not just sleep deprivation, but also low moods and energy. According to Very Well Mind, “A few simple changes in your life or working through a specific issue might help you overcome a nightmare once and for all”.

Wrapping Up

Falling dreams can be highly anxiety-provoking, and many people categorize them as nightmares. Most dreams about falling indicate a sense of inadequacy or loss of control in your waking life, which can be triggered by certain stressors. However, by being aware of this and dealing with potential stressors, you may be able to avoid or at least reduce the intensity of such dreams.

Affiliate Disclosures

Apsara Palit
Apsara Palit

After completing her post-grad in Values, Ethics and Indian Culture, Apsara is sharing her knowledge of symbolism, mythology, history and culture through her blogs. Apsara lives in India and believes in getting a first-hand understanding of culture through travelling.