Home and homelessness

The sense of home is who we are, our sense of identity. Home is being seen and loved, having a sense of belonging which is fundamental for every human. There needs to be a consistent and safe physical and psychological environment, a place of dwelling for that to happen. It’s a complex developmental achievement that is not guaranteed.

Home is where we start from. Our first home is our mother’s body. Our every need is met instantaneously and unconditionally. Through the shock of birth we encounter feeling cold, hungry or lonely. If the mother ( or caregiver) has a consistent and careful presence that attends to the baby’s needs over time, she creates a secure space which becomes our internal home. When the mother creates a secure space there is capacity to be curious about others, to go from an unidimensional to multi-dimensional world. When a child can see others and create links with them, she can see different points of view and securely exist in a multidimensional word without feeling threatened.

Acquiring an internal home is a fragile process that if disrupted can create a gap, a sense of not having a safe place to return to. Homelessness is a sense of not belonging, a loss of something important that existed before. We feel anxious, depressed, unsafe in the world, closed off from others or guarded. Homeless people often cover themselves up as their way of trying to create safety, a boundary that defines a space, their home.

There is a tremendous hope and longing to find what was lost but often it’s hard to know where to start. It’s risky to let yourself be seen in a deep way by someone else. At the same time it’s an opportunity to be seen and valued. Finding safe relationships with others can help restore a sense of an internal home.