The Johari Window is a great self-awareness tool. It is named after the first names of the two psychologists who have invented it (Joseph Lufft and Ηarry Ingam).
This tool can help us discover important aspects of ourselves with emphasis in critical skills such as behavior, empathy, team cooperation and personal development.
This tool divides our Self in four areas:
- Open (known to us, known to others)
- Hidden (known to us, unknown to others)
- Blind (unknown to us, known to others)
- Unknown (unknown to us, unknown to others)
Let’s now see each of them in more detail:
This is the public part of our self, the part which is visible both to us and the others. It comprises everything that we freely disclose and share, like some of our experiences, knowledge, opinion, emotions, character traits, wishes and problems. People with a large open self possess a high degree of self-awareness, clarity, self-confidence and authenticity. They feel comfortable with themselves, they know their strong character traits but also their drawbacks, they set their own path to life, they possess a high level of confidence about their decisions and they rarely feel any need of approval from others.
This is the part of our self which is visible to us, but invisible to the others. In this area we keep our very personal information, all those things we are not willing to share with others, since they might be our weak points, dysfunctions, fears, emotions, motives, desires, mistakes, secrets or guilt. Nevertheless, this area may also contain some of our positive traits which we still do not disclose out of modesty or shyness. The amount of trust we have in other persons, guides us to decide about the amount of information we share with them. People with an over-sized hidden self tend to be more introvert and secretive and may often seem distant or lost.
It is that part of our personality that is invisible to us but visible to the others. It contains information such as non-verbal communication, our peculiarities and all those characteristics which others see in us, or possibly translate different than us. Through well-intentioned criticism we will become aware of certain things, therefore moving them from the blind to the open (or hidden) area. People with a large blind area can be extremely naive and this creates trouble in their professional or social relations.
It this part of our self that neither we nor the others around us can see. It contains all those things which are out of our awareness window, such as depressed feelings and experiences which have been stored deeply in our subconscious. They can reside there forever and stay unknown, or we may discover them at some moment. Then they will move to another area (hidden, blind or even open). Those with disproportionately large unknown self are persons for whom self-knowledge is an unknown word. They have never invest in their self-improvement. They usually have troubled relationships with others but also with themselves and they generally have a vague picture of the world they leave in.
The rest of the iceberg
While the three first areas are only the tip of the iceberg, the unknown self is the rest of the iceberg. It is the part which contains the biggest chunk of information about who we are. Most of the people never dare to dive in the cold blurry waters of their mind, even when they have been convinced that there is a treasure hidden in there. Those who take the chance, after the first shock, they realize that self-awareness is an art: the more you practice, the better you become, and the better you are at it, the greater the benefits.
Techniques like self-observation, introspection and meditation can help us get acquainted with an important part of our unknown self, with amazing long-term results. Psychoanalysis and Coaching will also open the door for us and guide us hand by hand in the path of self-knowledge.