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Dreams of Falling: The Unique Meanings Behind Them

Karen Frazier
Young girl in long white dress dreaming of falling

Dreams of falling can be disconcerting; most people report that when they dream they are falling, they wake before they land. And while there's a belief that if you land in a falling dream, you won't ever wake up again, many people have landed in falling dreams and lived to tell about it. If you wonder what does falling in a dream mean, there are various possible explanations.

Dreams of Falling Psychological Explanation

Dreams aren't necessarily mystical; they send messages from your subconscious and falling dreams are no different from any other that way. Your subconscious mind often recognizes how you feel more accurately than your waking mind and thus communicates through your dreams. Falling dreams tend to be symbolic, showing you something about your own fears and worries through the symbolism of falling. Therefore, when you're seeking a psychological explanation about a falling dream, ask yourself what falling means to you. Typically, your own personal symbolism and associations having to do with falling are the most likely explanation for falling dreams meanings.

Freud's Interpretation of a Falling Dream

Sigmund Freud, the father of modern dream interpretation, perhaps not surprisingly suggested falling dreams were about sexual repression and fear of giving in to sexual urges.

Falling Dreams May Be About Control and Letting Go

One of the most common psychological explanations for a falling dream is that you are tightly holding to something and trying to control it, and falling in the dream represents your fears about letting go. This is most likely true for you if:

  • You feel like you're losing control in some situation.
  • You feel like you've been hanging on by a thread.
  • You're trying to make a life-changing decision or you've been resisting making the decision.

In these cases, the dream may be reflecting your fears and concerns back to you, or it may be suggesting it's time to let go and take a leap of faith.

You May Be Feeling Overwhelmed

If you've been feeling overwhelmed in your waking life, then your subconscious may communicate that to you in a falling dream. If you suspect this is the case, ask yourself:

  • What has felt overwhelming to me lately?
  • Is there something I can let go of or keep until later so I feel less overwhelmed?
  • What am I afraid will happen if I don't remain on top of everything?

Your Falling Dream Is Showing Your Insecurities

Falling dreams may also be your subconscious mind showing you your insecurities or that you're feeling insecure about something in particular. Pay attention to other context clues and dream symbols to get a better idea of what is triggering your insecurities.

Considerations When Interpreting Falling Dreams

Other clues in your dreams may help you get a better grasp on what falling means in a dream.

What Are You Falling From?

You can gain more information about the specific dream meaning of falling by noticing what you're falling from.

  • Falling from a cliff suggests you're considering making life-altering decision.
  • Falling from a balcony may indicate you fear a fall from public grace or that you have lost (or fear losing) the good opinion of others.
  • Falling from a house may indicate you feel out of control of your life or some aspect of your personality.
  • Falling from a roof may indicate you are afraid of falling from a position of success.
  • Falling down stairs might suggest you fear losing status you have worked to attain.
  • Falling from a window may indicate you are afraid of seeing something clearly.
  • Falling from a tree may indicate you are afraid you are wasting your energy on some project.
  • Falling from a mountain suggests feel unsupported and therefore overwhelmed.
  • Falling out of bed may indicate something is taking you out of your comfort zone or making you feel insecure.
Rock climber reaching out to his partner who is falling

What Are You Falling Into?

What you're falling towards may also tell you more about what falling means in your dream.

  • Falling into water may suggest you fear your emotions are out of control or that you are afraid to let them overwhelm you.
  • Falling into fire may indicate you fear being overwhelmed by passion or you feel some passion is out of control.
  • Falling into a hole is showing you where there's a potential pitfall in your life.
  • Falling into darkness means you fear your shadow self may overwhelm you or that you are afraid your shadows are about to be revealed.
  • Falling into empty space may suggest you are overwhelmed by the unknown and can't yet conceive of an outcome for a major life decision.
  • Falling into a canyon suggests you feel you have too much free time or free space, and you feel overwhelmed by that.
Dressed woman floating under the sea

How Quickly Are You Falling?

The velocity of your fall is also significant. The faster you fall, the more overwhelmed or out of control you feel.

How Far Do You Fall?

The greater the height, the more risk you feel you're taking. Alternatively, falling from higher heights versus lower heights suggests just how out of control you feel. The higher you fall from, the more out of control you feel.

Do You Land, Fly, Glide, Float, or Wake Up?

How you manage your fall is also revealing:

  • If you hit the ground, it may suggest something in your life is about to come to an end.
  • If you land safely on your feet, it means you have the ability to overcome your current conundrum easily.
  • If you float, you feel supported in your descent.
  • If you fly or glide, you feel the outcome of letting go will be positive; you will be uplifted and successful. Alternatively, it indicates you have already overcome a major obstacle.
  • If you wake up, it's likely you're not yet consciously ready to deal with whatever it is that is making you feel overwhelmed or out of control.
Young businessman flying through sky

Physical Explanation for Falling in a Dream

There is also a physical explanation that can account for falling in a dream: As you move through the various stages of sleep, your body may twitch or experience a hypnic jerk, and your mind interprets this movement as falling.

What Does Falling in a Dream Mean?

Falling in a dream can have many meanings that come from personal, family, cultural, or universal symbolism. By paying attention to the other context clues of the dream, you can arrive at a better understanding of what your subconscious is trying to tell you.

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Dreams of Falling: The Unique Meanings Behind Them