Way back in 2011, The Atlanticposted an interesting article about why people seem to be so hung up on the places they live. As it turns out, there’s a lot of psychology behind the classic “hometown pride” that many of us feel. Below, you can learn more about hometown psychology and why you might always feel a sense of longing for your original hometown.
Everyone alive right now has what is called a “self-concept,” or an inherent idea of who they are. Numerous things make up your self-concept, including the way you see the world, the way you believe others see you, the job you do, the people you befriend, and even the decisions you make. Your home is an important part of your self-concept, too. It defines you, and some psychologists believe that the appearance of your home is a manifestation of your psyche. That’s why all people have different decorating styles, and it’s also why some people keep an impossibly tidy home while others don’t seem to mind a little clutter.
For most people, many of their fondest memories reach back into their childhoods. Maybe they remember the way their kitchens smelled when their mothers made their favorite meals, or maybe they had a group of neighborhood friends who were considered inseparable. It’s these very memories that ingrain our hometowns into our minds. It is in our nature to want to "belong" and, when adults remember times in their lives when they had that sense of belonging, it’s usually rooted in their hometowns.
People will go to great lengths to express their pride and love of their hometowns. For some, an annual trip “home” to see friends is an absolute necessity, and for others, it’s a matter of recreating the experience in a new town. For example, if you grew up in New York City and later moved to Idaho to pursue your career, you might choose to decorate your living room with photos of NYC’s iconic skyline. You might buy and use products that remind you of NYC, including the infamous “I Heart NY” t-shirt or even a set of glass coffee mugs with a map of the city etched into them. These things trigger happy memories and help people feel good.
Even if you don’t seem to feel an outward connection to your hometown, think about this: one of the first questions people tend to ask one another during the getting-to-know-you phase of a relationship is, “Where are you from?” Most people give one of two answers: either the place they were born or, if it’s a different place, the one where they grew up. Some people may even come to resent their hometowns, especially if bad luck befell them there.
They say that home is where the heart is, and for most people, their hometowns are an important and integral part of their very persona. Whether they stir fond memories or sad ones, and whether you plan to return someday or not, your hometown played an important role in helping you become the person you are today.