The phrase ‘finding yourself’ usually denotes personal development achieved on your own accord. To get a better sense of who you are as an individual, it can sometimes be thought that you have to spend as much time with yourself as possible in order to know the real you. Besides, who knows you better than you know yourself right? Or perhaps wrong.
The Johari Window is a technique that I came across during my second year at university. It is used to help people better understand themselves and their relationship with others. Created in 1955 by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, this model can be used as a self-help method of personal growth and awareness. It does this by looking at four quadrants of awareness. These quadrants consist of the arena, the blind spot, the façade and the unknown.
Each area is a key that is able to unlock aspects of your development as an individual.
This includes anything that we know about ourselves and what others also know about us.
It can be anything from our behaviour, skills or knowledge – things that we have allowed people to know about us. When it comes to growth, the things covered in this area can be discussed openly with others in order to better yourself. For example, you may know that you are a poor listener, and this is something that others have picked up on too. When both parties are aware, discussions regarding this aspect can take place in an open conversation in order to improve this quality.
This includes anything that we don’t know about ourselves but others know about us.
Although we may think we know ourselves better than anyone else (which may be true holistically) when it comes down to individual qualities or aspects of our lives, there may be aspects of ourselves that we cannot see. This could be down to self-esteem issues, denial or simply being oblivious to certain traits or skills. When we allow others to enlighten us on our blind spots, we are opening up the path to personal development. Sometimes it may be positive things that others can see within us, that when we hear, we are able to continue nurturing these attributes or skills. Other times it may be negative qualities that we do not even realise we have. Although having an outsider look in on us and point these qualities out can be difficult to hear, it can be beneficial nonetheless.
This includes anything that we know about ourselves but others do not know.
This could be as simple as a hidden talent that we simply have not shown to anyone. It could be us putting on a pretence to cover up a deep rooted issue we want to hide. Often times, the closer a person is to us, the less our hidden area is kept away from them. However, everyone has things that fit into this quadrant. In order for others to be able to help us with our self-development, we have to be willing to share certain things within this area, especially the things we seek help with.
Sometimes, especially within relationships, we expect people to know and help us with certain characteristics about ourselves. Therefore, we get upset when they don’t, simply because we have not even realised that we are keeping them within this hidden area. In order to seek help from others, we have to be willing to share, and if not, the things that stay hidden are left up to us to work on for ourselves.
This includes the things that we do not yet know about ourselves and that others do not know about us either.
This is perhaps one of the most exciting quadrants when it comes to personal growth, because there is so much to find out about ourselves! When we already know certain things about ourselves, or others know certain things about us, this can limit us in what we push ourselves to achieve. However, if there are things that are unknown, then there are no limitations that have been set.
Self-development is so much more than spending a lot of time with yourself to find out the ‘real’ you. Learn to seek out not just what others can see, but what no one else or yourself has ever seen.