The perfect home-a psychological perspective

Our homes are more than financial assets. They have deep emotional meaning. Sometimes they were the backdrop for our childhood memories — the places we played and matured. The houses of our childhoods represented to many of us a good measure of the success our parents had attained, an outward expression of how hard work had paid off in comfort and safety and the respect of the community. When things went well, our houses grew with us.

Over the past years many have lost their home and suffered much more than losing their place to live.  Those being foreclosed upon felt they have let down their families, that they have were failures in the eyes of the community and that the road back to stability was simply too overwhelming to tolerate.

Magnified through the superficial society we live in, where self-worth is measured by square footage, this perfect storm of lowered self-esteem and perceived loss of face is indeed the growing place for divorce, anxiety, depression and all psychiatric illness.  The financial downturn destroyed the psychological health of individuals to catastrophic degrees to the point suicide was the only way out for some.  Never spoke of due to the stigma, sufferers felt alone and even more hopeless.

As the economy is turning around and people once again are pursuing their dream of buying a home.  Has anyone learned anything from the last 5 years? Have people developed any insight into our greedy society?  Sadly, humans are creatures of habit and patterns which does not bode well for many people who again are jumping at the chance to flip houses or to fill an emotional void by buying a house that is frankly more to secure their respect among the community than provide their family with a nurturing place to foster emotional well-being.

Rarely does one consider the implications to their own mental health or the health of their family during this search.  Don’t get me wrong, I encourage everyone to embrace the opportunity to afford and enjoy a beautiful home but at the end of the day, maintain perspective regarding the true purpose of a home:a place to make memories, strengthen our bonds to family and enjoy the sacrifice we all make as hard working Americans who often neglect the most important parts of our life-family.

As we have all seen, our houses can be swept away in the blink of an eye, but family bonds built within the construct of a home are indestructible.  Let’s all learn from the past and not get caught up in accumulation of assets for the sake of bolstering our self-worth or self-esteem but rather build yourself and your family up with old-fashion, core family values and quality time spent to nurture our most important “assets” in life-our family.

Michael Yasinski MD