Have you ever wondered if your self-assessment is accurate? Is your self-doubt or lack of confidence warranted? Do the people close to you know parts of you better than you know yourself?
The paradox is that you have always been you, and you only see yourself from the inside. The bits that others find remarkable in you may be completely invisible to you.
So, with therapeutic thoughts in mind (and perhaps a smidge of vanity), I set out to see if the way I see myself, is the same way others (friends, family and colleagues) see me. According to a recent survey I did using the Johari Window technique: no, not really!
The Johari Window is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others.
You start by choosing 6 words the you feel describe you best, from a predetermined set of 56 adjectives.
You then forward this same list on to your peers for them to choose which 6 words they think describe you best.
The results are then displayed in the “Window” which has four cells or quadrants:
Arena – The adjectives chosen by both you and your peers display here. These are traits that both you and your peers perceive.
Hidden – The adjectives chosen only by you display here. These may be things your peers are either unaware of or are untrue, except for you claiming it.
Blind Spot – The adjectives chosen only by your peers display here. These words represent what your peers perceive but you do not.
Unknown – The remaining unchosen adjectives stay here representing your behaviours or motives that neither you or your peers recognise in you. Either because they do not apply or due to collective ignorance of these traits.
We should take into account that using only 6 words to describe someone isn’t a vast number. Many participants have said that they would have liked to have used 8 or 9 words, but 6 words is how the psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham designed it in 1955.
I will resist the temptation to delve into the fact that no one has agreed with my choice of “spontaneous” despite my regular ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ antics (that I think I get up to…)
The biggest surprise of my results (and I suppose most peoples’) is the Blind Spot where there reside a number of words that I would never have allocated to myself and some of these words have been selected more than once or twice.
I won’t bore you with the whole list but I will touch on a couple: 64% of participants chose the word Brave and 39% have chosen Trustworthy.
I highlight these two because I struggle or have struggled with these concepts.
I chose to speak about my history of mental illness in the hope that it will help people and also because it helps me, enlightened selfishness if you will. I don’t see it as being brave.
Trustworthy – able to be relied on as honest or truthful. During my years of depression the possibility of this seemed a million miles away thanks to the negative voices brainwashing me with doubt and fear. The fact that so many have chosen it as a predominant trait is an emotional and inspiring reminder of how far I have come.
This simple technique has affirmed how lovely (and possibly polite) all the participants are but has given me more insight, leading to further acceptance and perhaps a bit more trust and bravery.
We don’t always see ourselves the way others see us. Sometimes, we just need someone to believe in us before we can believe in ourselves.
Google “Johari Window” to start your own.
Photo credit – Vanessa Allen