Coastal British Columbians spend loads of money on a house. Then spend most of the day working for it. Then spend money to recover from work. Then escape from home to a yearly vacation. But, what would make Home the healing destination, somewhere to go to restore? Somewhere that reflects who you want to become?
Home is “a way of organizing space in our minds.
Home is home, and everything else is not-home.
That’s the way the world is constructed…" (2)
Susan Clayton, an environmental psychologist, says that “for many people, their home is part of their self-definition, which is why we do things like decorate our houses and take care of our lawns".
Displaying our home is like extending out a version of ourselves. Even if we feel nostalgic about former homes, those places still remain separate from our inner selves. Some cultures believe that home is on the inside: “… inside your soul or inside your personality." In other cultures, a home is more than Where you are. Home is Who you are. (1)
Crash course theory for creating a sane home:
Leon Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory suggests that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony. (5)
"…Consonance is when you feel comfortable with your beliefs; a certain harmony exists in how you’re feeling right now…"
"Dissonance occurs when something disrupts your consonance. It challenges [the harmony of your atitude and] your beliefs and makes you feel uncomfortable” (4) This results in a state of tension.
With this unpleassant tension comes a strong motive to maintain cognitive consistency, even if through irrational behavior. (5) We seek to reduce or eliminate this disharmony because "we seek consistency in our beliefs and attitudes in any situation where two cognitions are inconsistent.”
How does Dissonance & Consonance Theory apply to our Home?
"The presence of dissonance, of being psychologically uncomfortable [in some physical area of home], will motivate [us] to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance." (4) We may at first alter our atitudes or behaviors to fit the home, but... with limited success.
"In addition to trying to reduce dissonance when it is present", we tend to actively avoid reminders that increase the tension. (4) If our home is not harmonious with who we are, we may be avoiding being in certain rooms, or the home altogether, moving around a lot, developing a lifestyle that keeps us away.
Dissonance is a silent stressor and a drain of energy. Attempts to soothe this stress may involve unsatisfying distractions that don't actually change the dissonance, but do become costly (energetically and financially). We fill our home with toys or we turn to unfufilling pursuits.
In avoiding parts of the home,
or by bringing ultimately unfufilling things into our home life
we may be seeking to restore balance
between cognitive dissonance and harmony.
When connection is present, the need for distraction falls away and home becomes who we are at our best.
When Home is Who you Are there is consonance inside of ourselves. We are drawn to taking care of this restorative home, ourselves, our loved ones.
When connection is present, the need for distraction falls away. When Home is Who You Are, there's more reason to enjoy time at home.
Four Tips for Creating the Home You Want....
in the Home You Already Have
It's not going to be a magazine perfect home. There won't be remodelling.
Despite our late-night Pinterest frenzies, we'll have to get real.
It is just about drawing the eye to the best parts, or creating illusions that comfort our senses in the parts that aren't.
With any Homification: keep it simple, make it simple to maintain.
Don’t be afraid of change,
accomodate reality by downsizing even within the home you have now.
Clutter kills comfort.
Be patient and take your time, creating space by tiny space, plot by tiny plot.
Little vignettes of beauty create small pauses in
an otherwise overwhelming overhaul that might not even be required.
Source: theinspiredroom.net (3)
The Biological Builders and Designer at Elegant Organic Home share secrets in their blogs about How Home Heals, including: Umwelt, home-magnetism, background emotions and interior motives of home, and much more.
They share healing Home Remedies for your existing home, or tips for finding a healthy home.
©️Låna Brown 2017
(4) https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/design-with-dissonance/What Is Dissonance?
(5) Cognitive Dissonance. Saul McLeod. 2014. http://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-dissonance.html