15 Mar

Quite simply, the Jo-Hari window was developed by two psychologists, Joseph Luft (Jo) and Harry Ingram (Hari) in 1955. It is a very basic and tangible way to view how our actions and interactions with others create a back-and-forth communication. By looking at the four squares, it forms the shape of a typical four-pane window. What is interesting is how all four panes are dependent upon each other, moving together in an expanding and contracting manner. 

How to create your own window is quite easy. First, just draw a box with no window panes inside. I typically start out by asking two simple questions, asking you to rate each from 1 - 10.

First question: How well do you feel you know yourself? Do you know what makes you tick? Do you know why you do the things you do? Are you self-aware and in-tune with all of your actions, thoughts and behaviors? If you have absolutely no clue and most days you feel like you are just living in a haze, then you are most likely lower on the scale, say a 2 or a 3. If you feel that you are very in tune with yourself, knowing why you do each and every thing through the course of your day-to-day, then maybe you are higher on the scale, a 7, 8, or even 9. Do you have your number? Don't worry, this is just a starter exercise. If you are not sure, feeling a little in the middle, then go ahead and give yourself somewhere in the middle, a 4, 5 or 6.

Second Question: How well do you feel other people know you? Pick someone that is important to you or on your mind lately. Do these people, or this person, know you very well? Almost like they can finish your sentences or predict what you are going to do or say? Perhaps they point things out to you that you don't even notice yourself, like, "Hey Phil, why do you always insist in sitting next to the door when we go to a restaurant?" or "You are always so serious when we sit down to play a game." Or perhaps these people or this person doesn't know you well at all. It's like when you talk to each other, you just don't understand them, or they are constantly questioning you.  If you feel they know you well, then go ahead and put down a 7, 8, or 9. If they don't know you very well, put down a 2, 3, or 4. Again, if a little of both then you might give them a 5 or 6. 

Now that you have your two numbers, use the attached picture as a guide. Across the top will be how well you know yourself: 1 - 10. Draw a vertical line through the box. On the left side, how well the other people know you: 1 - 10. Draw a horizontal line left to right. 

Now you have your Jo-Hari window. Look at the labels for the four panes. The panes have created four quadrants:

You know yourself and others know you: this is the open flow of information. It's the "Arena." The "Known." 

You know yourself, but others do not know you: A simple way to think of this is calling it your secrets.

You do not know yourself, but others do. If you are familiar with the driver's term of a "blind spot?" That is what this is. Or if you know the expression, "Bull in a china shop?" 

And last: The quadrant where you do not know yourself and others do not know you: We will call this the unconscious or the subconscious. Things that no one notices, realizes, or takes note. It's like that statement I wrote above: you are just going through the day to day without any real purpose. You have no idea why you are doing the things you are doing.

How does your window look? What area(s) surprise you? Perhaps you have a large "secrets" area. Maybe your unconscious is bigger than you would like it to be. Is your arena the biggest of the four? 

Having a large arena is the goal here. You want to have free flow of communication and information back and forth. Everyone has some secrets. No one is going to know everything about you. But are they big secrets or small secrets? Do you spend a lot of time protecting these "secrets?" Too many secrets will occupy much of your time and effort in any given day and can lead to increased anxiety, increased stress. Perhaps having these secrets is important for your current situation: who you are with or where you are living, it is what you need to do to survive. 

What about the blind spot? Are you generally approachable? Do people offer feedback to you regularly? "Hey Phil, that's a nice shirt. Blue looks good on you." or "Are you ok? You look tired. Have you been getting enough sleep?" 

Connecting and interacting with other people is vital to our existence. We seek the approval of our parents, our heart races when the attractive stranger glances your direction and smiles. We enjoy catching up with an old friend. When we feel safe and we are able to open up, we create a free flow of information that creates this arena. We are able to speak our minds and say what we think and feel. When we connect with another person, it can help make our problems seem small and manageable. 

If you have someone you can call any time and talk about anything, that is very special. No matter what your Jo-Hari window looks like today, I hope the Arena grows and grows. 

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