Interpreting any dream is about identifying which real life situation is making its way into your dreaming mind, and further, identifying the way you feel in the dream and where/when you feel that same way in your life.

So when it comes to bears, Loewenberg says, you need to figure out if the bear represents you or another person, because they often do represent overbearing people in our lives. “A good rule of thumb with any dream is to narrow down the way you would describe the bear in the dream—the behavior, the nature of the bear—then start with yourself. Does that fit you right now? If not, then work outward. Does that fit someone close to you that you’re dealing with right now?” she explains.

From there, she adds, pay close attention to how you feel when you first wake up from the dream, or even how you felt in it. Did the bear make you feel frightened? Victimized? Soft? Someone or something in your life may be making you feel the same way.

Then, of course, moving past the dream involves handling that real life situation or person, so you can have more peace of mind.

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