Possibly one of the best models developed to enhance communication and relationships inter-personally, I have found this extremely effective in raising Self-awareness.
Look at this as four rooms you are sitting in. In the first room, on the top left hand corner, it is all glass windows. Everyone can you and you can see yourself, if you visualize another part of yourself standing outside of the room looking in. You are transparent and open. This is the open window.
The next room, on the top right corner, has a window that opens out to people standing outside. Even if you are outside you cannot look in. There are parts of you others can see, but you cannot see for yourself. This the blind window, where you remain unaware about yourself that others know about. Dangerous, huh!
The third room, on bottom left corner, has a window that lets you look in. Others remain from view. You can hide yourself from others in this room. This is where Mr. Hyde hid and did what he did best. Perhaps Dr. Jekyll knew or didn’t care.
The fourth room, on bottom right corner, has darkened windows, no one can see through. Neither anyone else standing outside or you can see what you are thinking or doing. This is the Unknown window, the most dangerous. Dr. Jekyll does not know what Mr. Hyde does.
All of us, at all times, stay in one of these rooms. Sometimes, we are fully transparent. Sometimes, we do things based on what we know, but others don’t. So, we surprise and shock them. Sometimes, we do things not knowing why, but others anticipate this. Sometimes, we do things that neither we anticipate nor others do. These can be cataclysmic.
Don’t think that only mentally disabled people indulge in activities that are unknown to others and them. All of us do this quite often. We are all led by conditioned belief systems that reside in our unconscious minds. We grow up with memories of experiences that we do not wish to recall. So, we bury them. We grow up with injunctions and commandments embedded so deep within us hat we do not consciously ever think of them.
At times of stress and in dilemmas, these unconscious memories rise and force our decisions. We may think we act logically, but these unconscious memories drive us. They are like furrowed paths in our brains that we cannot plow out of.
The mere awareness of these undermining beliefs can help overcome them. That is what Johari windows is all about. It is about expanding the open window through feedback and self-awareness so that all the four rooms open out to others and us.
This may be disconcerting at first, but safest and most value added for everyone.
In coaching, one keeps talking about being self-aware. It is only when we are self-aware that we can be aware of others. Only when we recognize and act on our self-limiting beliefs can we hope to help others overcome them. The blind cannot lead the blind.
How do we open the dark windows?
Well, that’ anther topic in itself and we can explore that in future posts.