Know Thyself

05 Apr 2016

How well do you know yourself?

 We tend to have a view of ourselves we think is accurate and complete. However, it’s just not true.

This site is dedicated to growing strong and healthy lives. And two key features of strong lives are effective self-assessment and healthy relationships.

By getting to know ourselves better, we fortify our personal strengths and improve our weaknesses. We also facilitate good relationships.

One tool I think is immensely useful is the Johari Window (see graphic below). 

Realizing we have much to learn about ourselves is key to moving forward.

The Johari Window was developed by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955 as a communication model for improving understanding between individuals. It is also helpful for self-analysis.

Luft and Ingham’s model has four quadrants. Two are known to self, and two are known to others.

OPEN SELF: This describes information about yourself that is known to both you and others. Your friends and you may know that you are cheerful, extroverted and witty.

BLIND SELF: This describes information about yourself that you can’t see, but others know about you. Like the open self, these can be positive or negative, like adaptable, modest, self-conscious or tense.

HIDDEN SELF: This describes information about yourself that only you know. You either choose to keep this information hidden from others, or you have found no occasion or need to share it.

UNKNOWN SELF: This describes information about yourself that neither you nor others know about you. A physical example might be that I have cancer but neither me or anyone else knows I have it.

The goal of applying the Johari Window is to increase the size of your OPEN SELF. This has several benefits:

  1. You build trust with others by disclosing information about yourself.
  2. With help from others, you learn about yourself and grow as a person.

How do you grow your OPEN SELF?

  1. Ask yourself about yourself. Be honest. Spend time in personal reflection.
  2. Listen to what others think and say about you. Instead of throwing up defenses, take compliments and criticism to heart to see if there is any truth in them.
  3. Take the free Johari Window test online at Just click five words that describe you. Then ask your friends to log on and also pick five words that describe you. Posting a link on your Facebook page is a painless way to do this.
  4. Practice healthy levels of self-disclosure. Overcome fears of rejection by challenging yourself to share your thoughts and feelings with those you trust or with whom you would like to build trust.

Healthy people generally have an OPEN SELF box that is larger than the other boxes.


The painting is a self-portrait by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. The Johari Window graphic was created by Dr. Debra Buenting based on the model developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham.




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