Thursday, September 30, 2010

Johari's window... maybe it ought to Ibe called, "Take a long look in the mirror, hypocrit"!

Johari's Window...

Have you ever heard of it? It's been on my mind a lot recently. I know as I write this that there is great potential for this blog to bite me right square in my arse... let me explain.

I've been noticing lately how people tend to vent, complain about, scoff at, and otherwise judge things (or others) that they themselves,  are blatantly guilty of. (Herein lies the personal danger of writing this... because yes - I am as guilty as the next person)! 

In fact, I'll use myself as an example. Way back in the day, just as I was getting involved in my therapy process (i.e., beginning the journey of Getting Help and Getting Happy) I would criticize and condemn mothers who were "selfish" in any number of ways. It was really awful the way my "friends" and I judged others. I once bought a greeting card for a friend that said, on the outside, "I love our intellectual and stimulating conversations..." On the inside it said, "Who should we rake over the coals next?" At the time, I thought that was so, so funny! 

Not shortly after that period of time, I found myself sitting in outpatient treatment for my addiction to alcohol and codeine... My judgmental attitude continued... I thought I was "too good" to be with "those other people" there, and I told the therapist so. "I don't belong here with 'those people.' My God - they've been locked in closets and have abandoned their children and all sorts of horrible things. They're such selfish people!" The counselor patiently replied. "Keep coming back, Connie," implying I had a lot to learn. A short time later, working with a different therapist in the Aftercare program, I was telling her about a look my infant daughter had given me one time. I told her that even though she was just a baby, I couldn't shake the feeling that my daughter was angry with me. The therapist said to me, "Connie. What do you think she might have been trying to tell you?" I must have remained silent for too long - or she had her answer all ready for me because she jumped right in there and told me: "She was telling you that you were selfish." O-U-C-H!!!!!

It had been true. I was very selfish. I had been living the creed of an active addict: "I want what I want when I want it - and the hell with anybody else." Although I hadn't abandoned my children in the ways I talked about 'those other people' - those bad, selfish people - having abandoned their children (as in leaving them all together) I had abandoned my children... by working too many hours, by using codeine and not being mentally or emotionally available to them, and in many other ways. I had negatively judged others and I was behaving in the same way, but I hadn't been aware of it. 

That's part of the Johari window....

The Johari Window (, named after the first names of its inventors, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham, is a way of describing human interaction. A four paned "window," divides personal awareness into four different types.

Basically, what the four areas represent are:

1. Things that I know about myself that other people also know (like the fact that I speak my mind)

2. Things that other people know about me that I don't know about myself - or don't recognize in myself (which is what the example I wrote about myself above illustrates).

3. The things I know about myself that other people don't know (such as I like to pick my husband's zits)...

2. The things I don't know about myself and other people don't know either (such as... well, I can't say because I don't what these things are)!

Known to SelfNot Known to Self
Known to Othersopenblind
Not Known to Othershiddenunknown

This blog is about square number 2... what I don't know about myself that other people can clearly see. The things I am BLIND to in myself.

I know a person (I'll call her Silly) who repeatedly complains to another person (I'll call her Playful) about how much money a friend owes her. A number of years ago Silly borrowed a lot of money from Playful and, although it was addressed a number of times, Silly never paid Playful back... she is blind to the fact that she did the same thing she's complaining about.

It happens all the time:

  We criticize people for having a facelift while we are waiting for our botox injection.

  We condemn people for not being able to "just push away from the bar" while we drive around in the
   middle of the night to find a donut shop so we can get a sugar fix.

  We get angry at our girlfriends for spending time with a new boyfriend... until we get our own
  boyfriend and put our best girlfriends on the back burner...

The point is... focus on your own not-so-great behavior and take care of that! Because it may be the case that you are doing the same things you're judging others for.

AND... when we deal with our own issues... we are GETTING HELP AND GETTING HAPPY!


  1. Super post, Connie.

  2. Love this....and you are a real inspiration. Just so you know. Teresa Dunn

  3. Love this post... itsn't it true that we all see the negative in others and condemn them the hardest for the things we refuse to see in ourselves... A projection of sorts I guess...