Home Is Where the Heart Is
Acceptance and love never goes out of style.
What’s your style? Are you hipster? Classy? Boho Chic? What kind of décor do you have in your house? French Country? Rustic Farmhouse? Mid-Century American? What personality type do you have? Introvert? Extrovert?
These are questions that are not out of the ordinary that we ask each other and ourselves in order to define the world we live in and our inner world we create. Our culture as a whole loves labels and as humans we crave understanding and knowledge (which is easiest to attain when peering at things in a tiny box in which we have placed them). What happens, though, when we don’t fit in the box ourselves? How do we explain ourselves to a world that needs a label in order to determine if we are congruent with their own self-proclaimed labels?
Well, I find myself in this predicament quite often and though I don’t feel the draw to label others, I do feel the need to jump in a box myself and present a nice, easy version of myself to the people I meet… to the people who simply can’t accept that humans are messy, fluid, creative, inquisitive, multi-faceted creatures that sometimes can’t be defined. Our environment, style, and personality are simply reflections of the whole person (or family) that we are intrinsically.
One example of this phenomenon is my home. When people come into my home I hear the same descriptions and observations consistently: “I love how simple your house is… It’s always so clean…” (if only they had seen my mad dash to make it that way as they were pulling in the driveway!) or, “Your house is so calm and peaceful…” (we’ve had several people fall asleep on our couch, actually). Then, after they make these observations on how my house looks or feels, the questions come… “What décor are you going for? I like it.” THEY NEED LABELS. However, here’s the thing: though I do embrace the concept of minimalism and simplicity, our house is not a stark, black and white, sterile environment. (And we have a junk drawer… or two.) Also, I have a cat, a (large) dog, and a 3-year-old, so I wouldn’t say “calm and peaceful” is the best description of our dwelling most days. So how do I explain to others (and myself) why my home is a place where people want to be and where I love to come back to?
Recently, I learned a Danish word that in essence does not have a definition (gotta love the Danish for breaking out of the box!). It instead is more of a lifestyle, a mindset, a feeling, an embodiment of a larger concept and it’s the closest thing I can come up with to label my home. The word is HYGEE (HUE-ga) and some of the definitions I’ve found are, “The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive,” “To create well-being, connection, warmth and belonging, to the moment and to each other…” When you picture this atmosphere in your head, I assure you that everyone will see different color walls, a different style couch, different lighting, and that’s because it is NOT a thing we can label as “décor” or “style.”
I believe that the atmosphere of someone’s home is an extension of their soul. If you have a peace that passes all understanding, compassion, authenticity, humility, hospitality, and love brimming from your soul, chances are people will be drawn to THAT. Not simply a house, or a person, or a staged “mood” but what those things embody, represent, and exude determines the effect they will have on others.
I’m so thankful to know that my personality, wall color, or candle scent isn’t what others rely on for comfort, peace, belonging, and acceptance in my home. It’s comforting to know that what people are drawn to is who’s within me and all I have to do is open my heart by way of my front door and allow my soul to speak to theirs.
About the author
I’m a wife, mom, student, dancer, youth leader and a survivor of anorexia, attemped suicide, and trauma. I am passionate about using my writing to encourage and inspire others to travel through the struggles of today with hope for tomorrow.