How do you define home? Home is a physical place, but it is also a spiritual, emotional, and psychological place, too. For many, home means a place of belonging and acceptance. These feelings are vitally important to the development of identity not only growing up as children, but even into adulthood as well.
Home is not necessarily a place, but a concept. Our minds have created “home” to be a place where our identities began. There may be nostalgic memories of time, place, smell, touch, sound, visuals–where all senses are engaged and present; a feeling of safety encompassing an environment to explore the outside world. Resilience is found here, as is comfort, or even the first pain. It’s a place where you can express yourself, find connection, unconditional love and forgiveness. The author bell hooks (not a typo) has a wonderful quote about families: “All that truly mattered in life took place–the warmth and comfort of shelter, the feeding of our bodies, the nurturing of our souls. There we learned dignity, integrity of being–there we learned to have faith” (Hooks, 1999, pp. 41-42). Maya Angelou has said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. It impels mighty ambitions and dangerous capers…Hoping that by doing these things home will find us acceptable, or failing that, that we will forget our awful yearning for it” (1986, p. 196).
What if your childhood was less than idyllic? What if home to you meant no safety, no sense of belonging, or acceptance? Every single one of us has the power and choice to create a home that we need. Whether that is created out of love, acceptance, nurturance, compassion, rituals, etc. or it is created with criticism, judgment, spitefulness, anger, fighting, abuse, etc.–as adults, we have the power to create our best life–and with it, our base from where all of this comes from–HOME.
Home emanates from within you. When you feel at peace, when you’re coming from a place of love and groundedness–you are home. The world can be swirling around you–co-workers in crisis, mother-in-law on your case, siblings not speaking to you–drama exists, but you don’t have to buy into it. You are 100% responsible for your thoughts, words, and actions. At any point in time, you can create a haven in your internal world, as well as your external one. Had a crappy childhood? Me too! But that was years ago. We do not have to live that life anymore. We don’t have to keep dragging it around with us anymore, like some sorry old piece of luggage. We can create the home life we never had. Now. Because the past isn’t happening–it is the present. How can you create the best home possible–NOW?
Family provides a person their first sense of belonging, which happens to be a strong drive for human beings. Remember Hester Prynne from the book, The Scarlet Letter? Her punishment for having a baby out of wedlock was to be shunned by the community (the father didn’t receive this treatment). The repercussion for her behavior back then was ostracism and shame–an attempt to take away her feeling of belonging and make her feel “less than.” Her very identity was being challenged. What an opportunity to become stronger in who you are!
Belonging is an intense need most human beings have. We want to know we matter, we want to know we are loved, we want to know we are enough. Well–what if you’ve been cut off from your family or you don’t have family? Family does not have to be blood-related. Family can be your partner and their family. Family can be the community around you. Family can be your church members or friends. It does not matter who your family is, what matters are the emotions that come from the bonds you’ve created. Do they lift you up? Do they support you and are positive? Or, do they put you down? Are they negative and gossippy or abusive?
Your home place is a place where you feel you belong; where you’re nurtured, loved, cherished, and safe. Families feel stress just like anyone else, but a healthy family is a team, working together instead of tearing each other apart.
If you have questions or comments about your home place, write your comments down below. If you think you need counseling/coaching to help you create a better, more nurturing “home place,” contact me or call 631-339-0588.