In 1955, psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham devised a technique called the Johari Window. It’s purpose is to help people better understand themselves and their relationship with others. It has been tweaked a lot over the years by Psychologists and Life Coaches, but the principles are still the same. The diagram helps explain the model.
Here is my summary of the four quadrants:
Façade: The things you know but others do not. This may also be called your hidden or secret self.
Arena: The things you know about yourself and so do other people.
Blind Spot: The areas of your life that others see, but you do not.
Unknown: Things about you that only God knows about.
The hidden areas of your life are often where sin and bad habits are most powerful. The Bible tells us to confess our faults to one another so that we can be healed. (James 5:16)
The you that everyone knows about may not be much of a secret, but it can still be a difficult area in which to affect change. One of the challenges here is that people expect you to act a certain way. When you don’t, they may apply conscious or unconscious pressure for you to return to “normal”. It’s the old, “my family still treats me like a child” syndrome. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to connect with new people who will help you become who you want to be instead of always treating you like you used to be.
The Blind Spot is an area where you need the help of others. There are some things that are obvious to everyone else, but we just don’t see it. I remember when I was teaching in Washington DC, one of my students told my that I was condescending when I asked them if they understood what I was teaching. I certainly didn’t mean it that way, but apparently I was being offensive. Since that time, I have endeavored to place the responsibility on myself instead of my students. I now ask, “Does that make sense?” That is exactly what I meant before, but to students it sounds very different. I am forever grateful to that student for being honest with me.
The unknown areas of our life are a matter for prayer. We can’t spend our life worrying about what we don’t know, but we should always be open to the voice of God so that when we need to change, we can.
Are you struggling with hidden and secret areas of your life? Find someone you trust and have them pray with you and help hold you accountable. Do you want to change something that everyone knows about you? Find some new people who will help you grow beyond your current environment. Do you want to work on your blind spots? Find a friend or a life coach who will help you see the blind spots, pray with you about them and hold you accountable for positive change. Are you concerned about the unknown things of your life? Give them to God and trust Him to let you know when change is needed.