Good Morning! It’s 6:30am on a Sunday morning and I am up and at em’. There is nothing particularly wrong with this. Except for the fact that I was growing accustomed to the new me. The Emily that can sleep in until seven or eight and feel especially good about such a feat. I’ve had A LOT of energy lately. It’s like the old me is waking back up. Coming back from the dead.
My boyfriend is taking a few classes at a community college here in Raleigh, one of which is a Psychology class. Now, this has caused me to have to stifle my jealousy, because he is one lucky guy for getting to take classes, and fuel my brain in other ways so that I don’t sneak into his book bag and start doing all his homework. Nerd alert: I LOVE school! I love school and I love work. I love dorky things like Toastmaster’s and Networking Groups and Seminars. I blame these dorky pleasure sources on my mother who named me a name that means, “Industrious One.” I would’ve, of course, preferred “Illustrious One” but I also would have taken almost any other name meaning which denoted people in reverence and awe of me rather than me being sentenced to thriving in work and deed for the rest of my life on this green earth.
Back to the Psychology class. He has a project to complete which involves a phenomena called “The Johari Window”. Now, lest you be one of the people that fell asleep in all of your college classes, you had better listen up because this is interesting stuff. The Johari Window is a method that helps people to better understand themselves. We all like to understand ourselves, am I right? In fact, the study of oneself is one of the most interesting, despite being seemingly self-centeered, because who else can we fully KNOW, but ourselves?! The Johari window takes YOU, the victim, and breaks you up into four “rooms” or “windows”. They are as follows:
Open Self: This area represents traits about you that both YOU and most others in your life (mom, dad, brothers, sisters, grocery checkout people, your mechanic, your doctor, your boss, etc.) know about you. It’s things like the fact that you’re friendly, or funny, or a reliable person. Everything you let people know on a regular basis about you that helps them to form their picture of you, as well as things you know that help YOU form your picture of yourself.
Hidden Self: These are all of the adjectives and personality traits about yourself that ONLY you know. In the most successful relationships, this element exists, but there is very little. Openness and honesty is in fact the key to a successful relationship and in your very closest ones, this quadrant should be the smallest of the four.
Blind Self: This one is perhaps one of my favorite. These are the ways in which we perceive and see each other that THEY are unaware of. So, this is like when your brother doesn’t know that he has terrible manners, or is completely oblivious to social cues. This is his blind self.
Unknown Self: I’m not sure how one would ever actually determine what these traits WERE, considering their unknown to both themselves and others. But perhaps they are skills, knowledge, and parts of ourselves that have yet to develop. Our future selves. Our potential selves.
I feel as though I am the kind of person that knows herself quite thoroughly inside and out. As part of his project, my boyfriend and I discussed the aspects of our Blind Self with each other. The things WE see in each other, that the other does not see. For me, I feel I was less surprised about his responses than he was about mine. Although, I was surprised to hear him use the adjectives “generous” and “caring” to describe me, because those were adjectives I thought that were more part of my Hidden Self….in other words, I thought they went unnoticed. We talked about our strengths and weaknesses in communication, and the conversation ended on a very happy, encouraging, and uplifting note.
Learning about yourself is fun, hence the plethora of personality tests that are swarming the Interweb. Know thyself. Know your likes and dislikes. Know your relation to the Universe as a whole, know your relation to other beings. Know your energy sources, what tires you out. Know your goals, your dreams, your passions. The more you discover, the more you find out that there is to love. If you have one, do this with a close friend. Seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes can be a great tool for honest feedback. But most of all, know that your perception is what you must base your knowledge off of. Your reality depends on you understanding YOU, and therefore what excuse do you?
Look, Wikipedia even lays it all out for you step-by-step on how YOU can learn about YOU.
Here are some more questions to get you started on the fun path of self-exploration and inner knowledge. These questions come from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project but I doctored some of them up a bit:
1. If something is forbidden, do you want it less or more?
2. Is there an area of your life where you feel out of control? Especially in control?
3. If you unexpectedly had a completely free afternoon, what would you do with that time?
4. Are you comfortable or uncomfortable in a disorderly environment?
5. How much time do you spend looking for things you can’t find?
6. Are you motivated by competition?
7. Do you find it easier to do things for other people than to do things for yourself?
8. Do you work constantly? Or think you should be working?
9. Do you work well under pressure?
10. What does your perfect day look like?
11. Are you a morning lark or a night owl?
12. Would you rather save time or save money?
13. Do you enjoy being the center of attention?
14. Do you continuously delay happiness in your life? Ie. “When I’m finished school…” “When the house is renovated…” “When I get a new job…” “When I lose weight…”
15. What would you do if you had more energy?
16. Does being around people energize you? Make you feel depleted?
17. Is it hard for you to get rid of things that you no longer need or want?
18. Do you have road rage? Do you get frustrated easily? Are you impulsive?
19. On a typical night, what time do you go to bed? How many hours of sleep do you get? Do you feel that is enough or that you need more?
20. What are ten things you want to accomplish within the next ten years?
21. If you could truly live anywhere you wanted, where would it be?
Last but not least, here are the adjectives that the inventors of the Johari Window concept use with their subjects to help them describe themselves and others. See if you can pick out your top 10 descriptors and have someone else do the same so you can compare answers!
“We must not be defined by what we do, but we must be what and who we are, then only happen to do what we do!”