The Johari Window is a graphic representation reminding us that how we perceive ourselves is not necessarily the same as how we are perceived by others. Likewise, how we perceive others may not be how they perceive themselves. Moreover, the Johari Window suggests there are regions of ourselves that not only others don’t know about, but that we ourselves don’t know about either. Since its original debut in 1955, the Johari Window has been used as a teaching aid to help improve interpersonal communication, team building, conflict resolution and self awareness.
The Johari Window is now used in most all communication skills training as a way of pointing out the reality of differing perceptions, differing points of view. Who are you? Well, that depends a bit on who you ask! But, perhaps the most intriguing component of the Johari Window is this recognition that there is a part of us that others don’t know, and that we ourselves do not know either. Spiritual growth is, at least in part, exploring and coming to know this undiscovered, unknown, self.
The Public Self
The Public Self is the part of ourselves that we are happy to share with others and discuss openly. Thus you and I both see and can talk openly about this ‘me’ and gain a common view of who I am in this element.
the Private Self
There are often parts of our selves that are too private to share with others. We hide these away and refuse to discuss them with other people or even expose them in any way.
Private elements may be embarrassing or shameful in some way. They may also be fearful or seek to avoid being discussed for reasons of vulnerability.
Between the public and private selves, there are partly private, partly public aspects of our selves that we are prepared to share only with trusted others.
The Blind Self
We often assume that the public and private selves are all that we are. However, the views that others have of us may be different from those we have of ourselves. For example a person who considers themself as intelligent may be viewed as an arrogant and socially ignorant by others.
Our blind selves may remain blind because others will not discuss this part of us for a range of reasons. Perhaps they realize that we would be unable to accept what they see. Perhaps they have tried to discuss this and we have been so blind that we assume their views are invalid. They may also withhold this information as it gives them power over us.
The Undiscovered Self
Finally, the fourth self is one which neither us or nor other people see. This undiscovered self may include both good and bad things that may remain forever undiscovered or may one day be discovered, entering the private, blind or maybe even public selves.