Shy people are often scared when they have to meet someone new, speak up in a bigger group, settle a matter which requires contact with other people, etc. It is not a pleasant feeling and sometimes it literally paralyzes and prevents from doing something.
It is not surprising that in dreams, even if we are generally outgoing, we happen to see situations in which we are afraid to appear in public, and the topic we are supposed to speak about is totally unfamiliar to us, we are not prepared to give a speech, we can not play the instrument we were handed, etc. A similar characteristic has a dream about an exam which we are late for, which is written in an unknown foreign language, or concerns the material which we have not studied, and passing the exam is required in order to receive a diploma.
How to interpret a dream about the fear of public speaking or an exam?
The fear of public speaking or an exam in a dream is rarely interpreted literally. If we have been studying before an exam, or been preparing for a performance etc, it is worth asking ourselves the question whether we are prepared well. If we are, then we may suspect that our dream is the sign of our tendency to perfectionism, or too low self-esteem – we should change it!
If we have any plans of public appearances, we should think whether such a dream is not the metaphor for more practical “tests” – is anybody judging us? Or maybe we have some new responsibilities which seem to be beyond our capabilities? The pressure and sense of fear in the dream intensifies the presence of the audience, who are watching us closely, notice every our mistake and jeer at us. Interpreting such a dream, we should analyze our emotions and think, who made us appear in public, whether we know him or not, who the audience are, what the nature of the performance is and whether it is related to our life, etc. These will allow us to deal with our fears in real life and to regain the harmony.
How would Freud interpret a dream about the fear of public speaking or an exam?
Interviewing his patients, Freud noticed that usually dreams related to the fear of an exam reflected the fear of a real exam which a patient took, but had no problems with passing it. On this basis, he drew a conclusion that if the fear in a dream was unjustified, it probably was related with… blameworthy sexual acts. It is a typical Freud’s association, which should not be surprising knowing the Austrian psychiatrist.
How would Jung interpret a dream about the fear of public speaking or an exam?
Dreams in which we are likely to fail were for Jung the symptom of anxiety and unhealthy perfectionism, or were related to the parents’ disapproval. To defeat the negative emotions, we should start working on ourselves and learn self-acceptance.