What I and others know about me.
What others know about me of which I am unaware.
What I know about myself that others don’t know.
What no one but God knows about me.
The Johari Window, named after the first names of its inventors Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, is one of the most useful models describing the process of human interaction. A four paned window, illustrated above, divides personal awareness into four different types, open, hidden, blind and unknown.
1. The public square represents what I and others know about me.
This windowpane includes information, feelings, motives, behaviors, wants, needs, and desires. It includes any information that describes who a person is. When one first meets a person, the size of this windowpane is very small since there has been no information exchanged except names. As the process of getting to know one another continues, the pane expands as knowledge is shared.
2. The blind square represents things you know about me of which I am unaware.
Criticism is usually dangerous, even if it is constructive. A level of respect and trust is necessary for it to be accepted. An important rule is to say what you mean, mean what you say, but do not say it mean. Understand this is a risky area and handle with care.
3. The hidden square represents what I know about myself that no one else knows.
Trust enters into this area very strongly. People will not normally release personal information to someone they don’t trust. One may release a little information to see if the other person can be trusted with it. If trust is violated, the relationship will most likely end or at best be seriously impaired.
4. The unknown square is what only God knows.
This area, to some degree, takes care of itself. Age, life experience, and knowledge reduce the unknown. Listening to and understanding experiences of others can reduce the unknown. The truth is that none of us knows how we will respond or react in any situation where we have no experience. In school, we learn the lesson then take the test. In life we are tested and then learn the lesson.
The Johari Window is a model for communication. Effective communication is the most important ingredient of a successful relationship. With it, nearly every problem can be solved. Without it, every relationship will be dissolved or be unhealthy at best.
5. Questions for yourself.
Do I understand the concept?
Is it a concept I are willing to apply in my life?
Can I think of at least one person with whom I am willing to risk this level of a relationship?