What does “home” mean to you?

Home is not just the place that you live, it has a singular meaning and emotional status for us – it may conjure up smells, feelings, and specific memories.

As a country, we Amercians tend to have a strange relationship with “home.” Part of the American dream seems to have come to include constantly upgrading to an ever bigger and more luxurious home. On the other hand, an astounding number of people are embracing the tiny home movement, turning the other direction from the McMansion. There are cultural pushes and pulls in regards to what “home” should be.

I think it would be useful for many of us to dig into the psychological aspects of home. By analyzing our motivations, desires, and expectations regarding the home, we can break out of the cycle of constantly moving to “bigger and better.” We can find out what we really want and need: a home that nourishes our psyches and protects our health.

Here are a few questions to get you thinking in this way:

What was your favorite place to be as a child? Think about that place. What was the light like? Do you remember any smells? Any colors or shapes or textures? What about sounds? What was it about this place that felt good to you? Do you have a place like this in your life now? If not, how can you create one?

I’ll share my own reactions to these questions:

My favorite indoor place when I was a child was my grandmother’s art studio, which was a sunroom. It was bright and full of light, yet also made cozy by the leafy trees that surrounded it. There was a large table full of arts and crafts supplies where I was allowed to play and create. The views to the outdoors gave me a glimpse of one of my other favorite places – woods where I could explore with my cousins. I see a reflection of this place in my own preference for large windows and green vistas. 

Everyone has a different childhood relationship with home – and not everyone wants the same symbolic reminders in the home. Childhood trauma may make certain features unwanted. It’s important to think deeply about the emotional reactions we have towards rooms, colors, and architectural features so that we can make the best decisions for our living environments – making sure our real well-being is being served.

If you’re as enchanted by this topic as I am you might want to check out the fascinating book House as a Mirror of the Self.