Do Dreams Mean Anything?
Whether or not dreams have meaning depends on who you ask and what theories you believe in.
We ALL dream, whether we recall them on waking or not. What do they mean?
Dreams are a part of the human life experience. My understanding (actually, more accurately, my belief) is that everyone dreams - but that some people do not recall them so feel pretty sure that they do not have any. They might even be right, because the phenomenon of dreams, though consistently documented though all of recorded human history, remain one of the most comprehensively subjective experiences known to humankind. Likewise, their meaning (or lack thereof) and /or value.
There are as many theories about dreams as there are cultures, thinkers and dreamers - prophets, oracles and psychics - children and adults - the very smart and the not-so-smart. From the Psychoanalytic idea that they offer a window into repressed feelings and experience, to the Shamanistic idea that they have a prophetic quality, to the notion that they are our own uninhibited creativity at work, to the idea that they are 'simply' our minds enjoying some well earned recreational relaxation from the conscious work of waking life - no one is in a position to say for sure.
What IS for sure is that each dreamer assigns some meaning to their own dreams. That would include believing that they have no particular meaning at all. I am not deliberately word twisting here. The dream is the ultimate subjective experience, not likely to have identical meaning or significance to any two people. The meaning and value of our dreams is specifically and exclusively that which we ourselves, the dreamer, assign to them.
So, when a person tells you about a dream they have had and asks, as many are prone to do, some variety of "What do you think this means?", a psychologically best-practices answer might well be something like, "It's what it means to you that matters - after all, it was your dream." The process of one person associating to the dreams of another can be kind of entertaining - maybe even fun, but is not to be confused with what really matters. The meaning of the dream to the dreamer him/herself.
A dream can be soothing or frightening, calming or agitating. We can awaken from one feeling good or in a panicky sweat. You may awaken glad to be free of the dream or find yourself trying to fall right back to sleep in a (usually unsuccessful) attempt to continue wherever you had left off! The most usually reported experience is that they are best recalled on first waking but quickly undergo the censoring of our waking, conscious mind within the first moments of wakefulness. Therefore, those who try to keep track of their dreams - for any purpose whatsoever - customarily keep a journal right next to their bed and jot down whatever they can recall as soon as they awake. The material is usually lost to conscious recall soon thereafter.
There is no right and there is no wrong about this. Anyone who tries to persuade you otherwise is simply a believer in one thing or another promoting your conversion to their own beliefs. Only you can know and what you know is always right.