The success of therapy is often characterized the client’s desire and willingness to attempt to see themself as others do, while letting go of inaccurate perceptions of the self. Developing self-awareness means being honest while examining both the good and bad characteristics that make up the whole person. It is easy and sometimes helpful to turn a blind eye to the flaws, weaknesses, and failures. But when this is done all the time, you are bound to become something that you don’t like. The Johari Window is one really helpful way to better understand the concept of how we imagine ourselves and how others see us. It is named after the two who first described it, Joe Luft and Harry Ingram. Think of yourself and imagine the size of your personal quadrants.
The Johari Window
Known to self Unknown to self
Known to others 1. Public 2. Blind
Unknown to others 3. Secret 4. Unconscious
1. The public-self is on display. It is what we willing reveal about ourselves to others though out conversations, style of dress, sense of humor, demeanor, behavior, and decisions. It is important to understand how much you reveal to others. Is this quadrant huge because you share everything to everyone or is it miniscule because you are very private. It is important to understand your comfort level with the boundaries you create with others with others? I know many people who are unaware and/or unhappy with their created boundaries such as shy and private people who are very lonely, as well as the outgoing person who is embarrassed with how much they reveal to others.
2. The blind-self is what others see in us, but we fail to do so. When this quadrant is too big, a lot of interpersonal problems happen and “we just don’t know why.” It is often the area of focus in therapy. These blind spots often cause us to become the focus of gossip. “Did you see what she was wearing at work, how inappropriate.” “He is such a big mouthed know-it-all. Why can’t he see that people get so annoyed with his ramblings? Plus most of the time he comes off as an idiot.” “She is so negative. Every time she walks into a room I just want to leave because I don’t want to hear the complaining and I don’t want it to ruin my mood.” Clarity with the blind-self when followed by behavioral change can lead to a better interpersonal life because connections improve and others are not turned off.
3. The secret-self are the things that we are aware of, but don’t share them with others. Sometimes we make the mistake of hiding things that need to be shared.
4. The unconscious-self entails the characteristics that are hidden to the self and others. Therapy can help bring these thoughts, feelings and behaviors to one’s awareness. These are the “a-ha” or “lightbulb” moments in therapy.