I want to be HAPPY @ HOME
Again and again, in all my interior design projects, as well as through extensive research, I found as valid the following conclusions:
- If you are STRUCTURALLY UNHAPPY, your HOME WILL NOT FIX THAT, no matter how splendid and perfect it is.
You will need to take charge of your own happiness and, to the best of your resources, endeavour to learn to love yourself and try to fix yourself first.
- If you are ( REASONABLY ) OK, as most of us are, then your HOME CAN TRULY make a BIG DIFFERENCE in your happiness.
In both directions.
A house that is not right for you can cut down grossly on your harmony and balance in life, while a house that fits your taste and your needs can hugely add to your happiness.
The good news in all cases above is that YOU have the power to create a different life for yourself !
In a best case scenario, you can make your house a wonderful place that suits you.
The next-best is that you can minimise the misery while living in a house you dislike, until you get one that suits you.
How to get there?
1. Be open-minded about alternatives and allow yourself to ‘GROW WITH' YOUR HOUSE
Even if you decorate beautifully your home, even if you refurbish it completely to your taste, you may still be unhappy with the result, unless you also take care of yourself.
I say it again:
There are NO ERRORS in decoration and interior design. They are ONLY SYMPTOMS of our damaged, even pathological relationships with the spaces we live in.
2. Do not allow yourself defined by others. Follow your own heart
Do not let others manipulate you when their arguments don’t feel right for you. That also applies when you work with an interior designer.
Negotiate only with your partner, should you have one, and be ready to find a solution acceptable by both parties.
3. You can start by analysing yourself and your own ("homing") history
It may sound boring and irrelevant, but it is not !!!
It’s crucial to cure some of the old stuff. There is a pattern that we keep repeating in all our houses. (And in all our relationships, come to that…)
THANKS FOR BEING WITH ME TODAY !
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Now let's continue this fascinating journey...
GEAR UP FOR THE RIDE
Are YOU on the RIGHT PAGE ?
Considering a hybrid theme is on the table, I can only assume that you are interested and/or have knowledge in either or both these areas: INTERIOR DESIGN on one hand, and PSYCHOLOGY / RELATIONSHIPS / COMMUNICATION / PARENTING.
And, above all, you intend to be Happy @ Home !!
Just ONE IDEA may be YOUR GAME CHANGER !
In this Blog you will find, as frustrating as this may be for you if you have rather a mathematical mindset, such as myself used to, that there is no ‘academic’ structure here.
No clear ‘To Do’ list.
It’s just a series of pieces of puzzle, and only you have the key to it. Not all of them will be relevant to you, and surely not from the beginning. See what you resonate with. What speaks to you.
Allowing yourself follow a zig-zag kind of narrative will be a challenge in itself in your path to enjoy more relaxation at home.
And it will be good enough if you go away with ONLY ONE puzzle piece. Only one significant idea that is a game changer for you and can immediately improve your state at home.
Because HOW COULD YOU CHANGE WHAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND ?
So please follow me !
Can EVERYONE be [email protected] HOME ?
The paradox is that all this HAPPY @ HOME idea was somehow born out of a failure.
When I started my interior design career, already in my 40s, my goal was to make people happy in their homes.
Not just to produce amazing design as such, although together with them I have achieved awarded beautiful interiors. But to make each of them happy in their freshly (re)designed home.
Have I reached that goal in each and every case?
No. I have not.
At least not 100% as I had wished.
And that in spite of all our efforts, clients’ and mine, to create a comfortable atmosphere that makes them happy.
And after taking all the blame for a while, the statistician in me observed that the 5-10% of people who were still dissatisfied had some things in common. There were some pre-existing conditions in them that made that happen.
So, little by little, I got to the conclusion that for someone to he happy at home it’s NOT ONLY about the house, or the beautiful location, or magnificent design, or big money splashed on it, but also about the individual’s ability and intentionality.
“SHOW ME YOUR FRIENDS
& I’ll Tell You Who YOU ARE”
…And it also applies to your home:
“SHOW ME YOUR HOUSE and this is WHO YOU ARE”- because it tells a lot / all about you now, in this period in your life, as well as about yourself in general.
So, to reflect on your home means to reflect at yourself, at your personal history, and not just yours, but of your entire family. A strange introspection and yet so relevant…
Get in DIALOGUE with YOUR HOUSE
I invite you to get into dialogue with your home ! A lot of things are likely to surface, that you may or may not be disposed to understand and to listen, let alone admit to others…
What could your house be telling to you ?
Are you listening ?
Is your home happy with the energy that you place in it ?
Do you feel connected with your house ?
The RELATIONSHIP with YOUR HOUSE
The relationship between each of us and his/her house is far from being simple.
It is as complex as the relationship one has with oneself.
The relationship with your house may be one of love, hate, rejection or indifference.
We should not ignore the fact that the habitat is actually a member of the family with full rights.
It is the one member of the family that may unite or divide.
The relationships and connections between the inhabitants of a certain space are born in the common rooms (such as dining, living room, kitchen), while isolation relates to the rooms that offer privacy.
Here are some examples and the impact they may have on the current or ulterior life of the respective subjects.
For example -the second born baby is sharing the bedroom with the parents, that provokes jealousy of the first born child.
Or the young couple, freshly married, that have not a private bedroom, but are hosted in their parents’ living room, maybe even with the newborn in the same room – what a tension can be created with all these relationships because of such interim state !
Or the current girlfriend moves into the house where her man has lived with his former wife – and she feels the need to renovate the house so that she feels integrated and accepted.
Let’s remember the spaces you lived in since your childhood.
What moments of your life and what feelings and sentiments do you associate with those places ?
What remembrances do you have ?
What persons do you recall ? When you remember of them, are you happy or are you drown in sorrow ?
Was the residence chosen or imposed ? Were you tenant or landlord ?
Were you living there just yourself, or surrounded by many, maybe with family ?
What were your relationships with neighbours ?
Isn’t then rather surprising that we reproduce the same existential schemes, sometimes over and over, years after years, without even realising that we do so?
The houses we care about are alike with houses from where we have happy memories, sometimes they are exactly the opposite of those that we associate with painful remembrances.
MAIN FUNCTIONS of a residence
There are mainly 4 functions of a residence:
What about you?
Look at the details below and think which you feel is at this moment the main function of your house.
The house is a ‘shield’, a barrier between our intimate world and the exterior.
We expect our home to protect us from the outside world to permit us to find ourselves, to develop our interior dimension: to have sturdy walls, fencing to offer intimacy, a sophisticated alarm, watch-dog etc.
Sometimes, the protective role of the house is pushed to the extreme:
Our most profound fears can translate into reinforced doors, shutters, unbreakable windows, locks, latches, safes and lockers for our valuable stuff, doors key-locked 3 times, signs with “Dog Guarding House”, every night tour around the house a couple of times at least, to ensure that everything is perfectly locked.
Not sure about your particular circumstances, but the more tranquil and safe we felt in our relationship with our parents, especially in regard of their love towards us, the higher is our trust in life and in future, and the less we feel the need to over-protect ourselves from the outside world.
AESTHETICS (‘the Show-off House’)
Embellishing the house is the expression of own personality, of social success. And sometimes such an endeavour is pushed to paroxysm.
The ‘Show-off House’ has the difficult task to speak about us, about who we are.
More delicate and more false becomes when we want the house to speak about who we would like to be. Then any compliments about the special decorations or the cachet of the house become compliments brought to the owner, who most probably suffers of a deficit of self-esteem and tries to compensate with expensive furniture or a famous designer.
Unfortunately, a life in luxury may inflate one’s ego, but does not necessarily solve any profound wounds, not does it fix the low self confidence.
Besides, in such cases, too little the superb interior is really enjoyed by the family.
In houses that are too luxurious or too big, the everyday life is limited to a few rooms, leaving in the dark the others that have been built only to impress.
And unfortunately, in some of such situations, the inhabitants do not allow themselves to actually enjoy and take advantage of what their properties have to offer and continue to live very simple, as if they could not allow themselves the pleasure to benefit from what they have been working all their life for.
We could talk forever of such examples, there are many in every country and in every culture all over the world.
The house represents the perpetuation of traditions and family values.
This does have different faces in different cultures.
For instance, in former communist countries such historical continuity has been fractured by the communist period, when ownership over houses was suppressed.
However, in any culture, we find cases where we evoke the old patriarchal family house with much love, where 3 or even 4 generations meet, the theatre of jolly family reunions, of everybody’s moments of joy and sadness…
The period furniture has seen generations passing by, the decorations appear to be carved in stone, the wardrobes in vintage wood, squeaky floor and the doors spreading the fragrance of childhood memories ...
This painting is however not always idilic, there are struggles and tragedies more or less hidden, family secrets we are still not allowed to speak, ‘skeletons in the closet’ that the family history takes further down the line, quietly, generation after generation.
Which makes us sometimes to refuse us to be the ones that have the honour to get the care of the parental house for future generations.
Or even to refuse to go for Christmas to visit the origin family, for fear to expose to tensions the small family we have created for ourselves in the meantime.
The house offers both personal identification (colours, patterns, aspects that resonate with our personality), and identification within the family structure.
The family develops here and also here marks the territory in which the power games will develop.
When we build /choose our home, we take care of personal aspirations, as well as of conscious or subconscious projections. For instance, we want 3 kids, then we search for houses with 4 bedrooms.
Depending on how we organise our family and our life, the same way we organise our house.
SPECIFICITY and EVOLUTION in TIME
Each of the 4 functions is being brought into equation in function of your own story, of a personal algorithm. There is no preferable nor preferred order, and the ‘supremacy’ of one or another varies alongside your life.
Since the house is part of your family and personal history, it is only logic to see it evolve as the time passes. Your expectations change in time, you have more and more new needs that your dwelling needs to respond to.
According to the new phases you are progressing in the existence and evolution of your family, you will realise how the house also gets to new functions.
For instance, at some point, you may find that your protective habitat can no longer cover the function of family continuity, or that of social success.
Again About PROTECTION
This is a ‘courageous subject’, arguable and open to interpretations. However, I feel strongly about it and found it useful for many of my students so far, so I will put the subject on the table.
The first habitat is mother’s womb, comfortable, gentle, embracing, protective.
The sensations we have felt in there and were captured by our brain, we have them strongly impregnated and we’ll accompany us forever in our searches for safety.
It is incredible how the way in which the pregnancy was lived by our mothers influences the ways in which we are searching for our home and protection.
Have you ever thought at such an association?
I read it in a book a while ago and found it to be confirmed each time, including my own !
So you may wish to dig a little in that department… both upstream and downstream …
What pregnancy has your mother lived ?
Was she stressed, worrying for her life, for her career, for her marriage?
Or reversely, was she care-free, able to focus on the baby on the way and happy about it?
If you are a mother yourself, how have you lived your pregnancy and therefore what conditions have your kids impregnated?
Nevertheless, no matter what the result of such investigation / self reflection… No need to get desperate… No need to point the figure, NO NEED TO PLACE ANY BLAME.
Just talking about it, acknowledging the circumstances and accepting the facts as they were, it usually does the trick.
As surviving child of failed abortion attempt I can give faith it does.
So when reflecting over your easiness in your current home, be aware that this first habitat should not be ignored, not the way that you lived that experience.
And keep in mind that a person that lived as foetus though a difficult pregnancy will have difficulties to feel comfortable in any house, and will remain in perpetual search, usually unhappy with whatever he finds, unless takes conscious steps to overcome this.
WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL HOUSE?
Have you ever asked yourself and put it down, pen on paper: What is your ideal house?
There are as many answers, as many persons we put this question to.
If I am to respond what an ideal house would be like, I would say that, as such, without a subject in mind, there is none. Or, at most, that it is a sum of all these models.
Because the ideal is a home that responds/ covers the needs that you and your family have. And these are highly subjective.
Besides, the needs change and evolve with us, and so the house seem to no longer suit us and, in time, may become less ideal.
Or maybe for you the ideal house is the one with which you fell in love, beyond any logic and reason?
Can You Describe YOUR IDEAL HOUSE ?
As a very useful exercise, close your eyes now for 5 seconds, imagine now the respective space, your ideal home, and write down the first 3 words that come to your mind about it.
Now compare it with the feeling that your current dwelling gives you.
If there is any alignment, acknowledge and enjoy. If not, at least you are one step ahead on your clarity path.
I remember once, in a group session, we had quite an interesting example.
When her turn came to describe her ideal home, a student explained to all other present in great detail about her sweet remembrances about a hospitable big wooden table under a huge oak on her grandfather’s lawn in the mountains, which she will forever remember as the most cozy endearing experience.
I was quite struck at someone who chose to present an exterior when invited to describe her ideal home, which most of us would rather see as an interior …
Which again confirms how much we are affected by our personal history in our current relationship with the spaces we live in. Or we avoid to live in.
Does Your HOME Have a ‘SOUL’ ?
Without falling into superstition or mystical, we could define “the soul” of a house as a succession of emotions impregnated in the same place, towards which you can prove receptive.
Some of us argue that a house is built only from inert materials and at most they accept that wood is a living material, but otherwise deny that a house could have its ‘own life’.
Nevertheless, could we not accept that houses too have a soul? Soul, karma or own identity, however we may call it…
The skeptics should not worry: Their homes may have a soul too, and that one certainly is as Cartesian and rational as theirs.
‘The SYNDROME of the EMPTY HOUSE’
The real estate agents know very well the fact that a dwelling will sell much quicker if it is still full of life, if there are signs that the former lodgers were happy, as the prospective buyers are seduced by the house.
On the contrary, an empty house will take more time to sell.
And the real estate agents call this “the syndrome of the empty house”.
The DEEPER MOTIVATIONS
The simple fact to closer examine your deeper motivations may help you choose the house that is right for you, developing your family and new projects.
For instance, do you wish to live in the city because you are afraid of being lonely ?
Or reversely, after living a stressful and overwhelming city life, do you imagine that switching to country life will solve everything out for you ?
Do YOU CHOOSE the HOUSE
or the other way around?
How do you choose your house?
Do you choose it ? Or it's that the house chooses you ?
No matter what you do, even if you carefully considered all sensible and rational criteria, such as relating to budget, those of localisation, expected facilities, required amenities, still the emotions and sentiments dictate more often than not your decision over the house.
Choosing your house is, above all, a romantic date, a passional falling in love and only after that the other considerations get into the equation.
At most you can do your best to avoid a hollow infatuation. But otherwise, better don’t fool yourself is not about emotion first and foremost of all.
So many times we hear “We fell crazily in love with this house!” or “The apartment only had a small kitchen, but we instantly fell for the huge terrace.”
Same as when we fall in love, we do not see it all, we pass over even things that will get on our nerves later on, such as the troubled plumbing, or the roof in desperate need for repairs, all these details not pre-budgeted.
“It doesn’t matter, we’ll figure out something!”
Main IDEAS to TAKE AWAY…
# Even if you decorate beautifully your home, even if you refurbish it completely to your taste, you may still be unhappy with the result, unless you also take care of yourself.
# So fix YOURSELF FIRST. On top of everything else, it's less expensive than making costly choices about your house.
You can start by analysing yourself and your own history.
# Do not allow yourself defined by others. Follow your own heart, do not let others manipulate you when their arguments don’t feel right for you.
That also applies when you work with an interior designer.
Negotiate only with your partner and be ready to find a solution acceptable by both parties.
ARE they RIGHT FOR YOU?
Timing is crucial. There is a right moment and a ‘ripe time’ for everything on this world.
You might not resonate with any of these ideas because some pieces do not fit in your personal puzzle.
But it may also be the case that they do fit, but it’s not the right moment for you to understand a particular piece.
That’s why I talked about seeds. It happened to some of my students that after a while they came back and said ‘”I do now understand this piece, it finally makes sense for me.”
And though I don’t want to sound presumptuous, this may happen to you too.
See you around !
And until next time… Be HAPPY @ HOME !
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-Do you feel like you want to continue on this path and so you need some more tactical tools for self-exploration?
Get the FREE DOWNLOAD "What's MY RELATIONSHIP with MY HOME ?"
-If you are really intrigued by the connection between you, your home and your personal history, then get this 50% off offer and dive deeper into "My Playbook HAPPY @ HOME".
-Do you feel you need more 1-to-1 help?
Order your ½ Intensive Day and work directly with me. Check this out and see if it's a right fit for you.
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-Do you feel you need more 1-to-1 help? Order your ½ Intensive Day and work directly with me.
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