What is Home? The Many Definitions of Home
Published Oct 4, 2022
If you’ll ask people what is home for them, you’ll most likely get varied answers. Some people will say it’s where you live. While others will quote the famous saying “home is where the heart is”.
So what does “home” really mean? Is it the place you live in? The place where you grew up? Or the place where you felt loved? Well, a home is all these and so much more.
In truth, there is no single definition that can fully encapsulate the true meaning of home. Each of us has our own idea of what a “home” is supposed to be.
So, What is Home?
The meaning of home can change depending on who you ask. Here’s what home means for different people:
1. A Home is More Than a House
In the dictionary, a home is defined as the “one’s place of residence”, one’s dwelling, or the place where one’s domestic activity happens. But these definitions fit more that of a house. A home is so much more than that.
Houses can be bought and sold over and over again. But a home stays with you forever. No matter where you go or the places you live, there’s always that yearning to return home.
For some people, going back home means visiting the place where you grow up. But for most, it’s not about the place. It’s more about the feeling of being “at home”. It’s that feeling of relief, comfort, and warmth after a particularly exhausting day.
The house you live in will not necessarily provide all those. Sometimes home, in this context, can be found in the arms of a lover, in the familiar smell of your mother, or even that favorite pillow you had since you were a child.
2. Home is Where Memories Are Built
There’s a reason why hometowns are called such. It’s the place you were born, took your first step, and made your first friends. In short, it’s a place filled with memories.
But home doesn’t necessarily have to be the place you grew up in.
It can also be that thing that takes you on a trip down memory lane. It can be anywhere or anything – from the barn you used to play in as a child to the smell of freshly-baked cookies. It’s the places or things that remind you of happy days and make you look forward to creating many more happy memories.
3. It’s a Place of Refuge
We all have those moments where we just want to take a break from the rest of the world. Home is where you can do just that.
It’s that little slice of paradise that is completely your own. It’s where you can be in your pajamas while eating ice cream right off the tub – and not worry about anyone judging you. It’s your personal sanctuary, the only place you can be totally yourself, and the one place where you can forget about an overbearing boss, a stressful coworker, or a demanding customer.
But more than that, it’s where you can hide and cry when things just seem so overwhelming. In short, it’s your own personal refuge where the problems of the world seem to fade into the background.
4. Home is Where You Are Accepted
Acceptance is a fundamental need among humans. We all want to be accepted by the people around us, especially those who matter to us. But sometimes, that acceptance that we so crave cannot be given by the people we live with.
As a result, we felt cut off and unloved. The people we share a house with become strangers and the place we live in becomes merely a structure where we lay our heads for the night.
But to find people who fully accept you for who and what you are – now that is home. Acceptance gives you the confidence to be yourself. It gives you a sense of security in the thought that you are enough and teaches you to be comfortable in your own skin.
Thus, the place where you’ve experienced full acceptance – whether it’s on the streets or in a different country – will always feel like home.
5. Home Means Stability
For someone like me who’s had to go from one house to another, having a home meant stability. And no, I’m not talking about a house. It’s more about the feeling of having a stable ground on which I can confidently stand and people whom I can confidently rely on. It’s like having an anchor that prevents you from drifting aimlessly into the wide open sea.
Other people may try to shake that ground or cut off that anchor. But as long as you know that you have a home and you belong somewhere – wherever that might be – you won’t go astray.
6. Home Means a Future
When someone has a place to call home, it gives them a sense of safety, security, and stability. Once you have these things, you can stop thinking about surviving day in and day out. You can finally look beyond the horizon and into the distant future.
For some people, this is how important a home is. It allows them to start dreaming and making plans for the future. It’s where hopes and dreams take shape and slowly become a reality.
The Importance of Home
Having a place that we can call home is something that most of us often take for granted. That’s why we don’t really give much thought to how important a home is.
But now that you know the definitions of home, let’s talk about its importance. Here are some of the reasons why everyone deserves a place to call home:
1. It increases your chances of getting a decent job.
Not a lot of people realize this but having a home can directly affect your employment opportunities. I mean, it’s not easy to get a decent job if you’re changing your address every few months. And it can be hard to do your job properly if you don’t even have anywhere to lay your head for the night.
Besides, having a sense of stability helps you establish roots more easily. This, in turn, affects your attitude towards work and the people you work with.
2. It makes it easier to integrate into society.
Whether you admit it or not, the stigma surrounding homelessness makes homeless people pariahs. They become social outcasts. That’s why a home is instrumental in someone’s integration into society.
Without a home, it can be hard to establish ties with the local community. A home provides you with an opportunity to live in a dignified way and become a productive member of society.
3. It reduces mental stress.
When you feel secure, accepted, and loved, your mental health will definitely benefit. That’s what a home can provide you.
For instance, children who grew up in loving, secure homes are less likely to develop mental health issues. While those who grew up without knowing security or stability are more likely to continue or start a cycle of generational trauma.
4. A home offers protection.
Needless to say, a home offers a sense of protection not just from the elements but also from the horrors of the world. And when you feel secure, you begin to trust people and feel a sense of stability. You no longer have to constantly watch your back or keep your guard up all the time. All these can lead to better community life.
What Does Home Mean For the Homeless?
No matter your definition of home, one thing is clear: everybody deserves one. From the birds making their nest in the trees to the earthworms burrowing on the ground, all creatures big and small deserve a place to call home.
If you have one to call your own, then you are very lucky. But many people around the world aren’t. Every year, the number of homeless people continues to rise. It’s just ridiculous how having a home nowadays seems like a privilege rather than a basic human right.
Yes, a home is more than just a sheltered space that protects you from the elements. But it can be difficult to feel warmth, security, and stability when you’re sleeping on the cold pavement. It’s hard to dream about the future when you don’t even know where to get your next meal or where to sleep when the authorities kick you out of that pavement.
There’s a reason why the homeless are called “homeless” and not “houseless”. Their troubles extend far beyond not having a house.
According to a Canadian news website, home means various things for the homeless. One homeless woman shared that home for her means protection from abuse and finally having the time to confront her mental illness. It gives her hope and self-esteem. Another wrote that a home means a stable ground from which they can start to find their way back into society.
If you’ve never been homeless, it can be hard to understand where they’re coming from. It’s one of those things that you’ll only fully appreciate once you’re in it.
But this shouldn’t hinder you from extending a helping hand. We may not be able to provide them with the safety and security of a house but we can make them feel loved, safe, and appreciated. In our own little ways, we can help them feel that someone still believes in them so they’ll feel confident in themselves again. After all, that’s what home is about.
(Related: What is a Role Model?)
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer and devoted Christian. She has a passion for writing about topics related to morality and helping the poor and homeless. She is the lead author for the Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen blog.
Correct Digital, Inc is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.