The Johari Window


So much of what I learned in school was useless.

Okay, maybe not everything was completely useless but learning about the Aztecs and understanding Trigonometry (was that the math with SOH CAH TOA?) will forever seem as though I only needed to learn it to help my son with his homework, repeating the endless cycle of memorizing useless information.

I studied for exams and quickly forgot most of the material as soon as the bell rang but there were a few things we learned that have actually stuck with me for life.

Like prepositions.

In seventh grade, I learned and memorized all of the prepositions in the English language in alphabetical order. 

Aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, among, around, at..before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by…down, during, except for, from, in, into, like……did you want me to keep going? Because I can!

And then, something totally random known as the Johari Window.


Granted, I had to look up what this was called exactly for purposes of our discussion but the actual details of the four windows into the self were fascinating to me back then, even though I couldn’t fully grasp it all until now.

What I know about me and what you know about me, what I don’t know about me but you do know about me, what I know that you don’t know and what I don’t know that you don’t know either.

Lately, my good friend and I do a lot of deep talking about our past situations to better understand our current ones.

Lots of soul searching if you will.

And a lot of these deep conversations occur Saturday mornings, during my long runs. She calls me when she wakes up, knowing the strong possibility that I will be looking for some chit-chatting company.

Before she was up to call me during my long run last weekend, I was already in the mood to think a little deeper than usual.

Running does that to you. It’s like some sort of journey in the mind, especially when you run for a good two hours.

I even shut off Pandora voluntarily (I know, I can’t believe it either) because I wanted to hear my thoughts without Pitbull chiming in with his opinion.

I ended up thinking about these four windows and how they each applied to me in an effort to have some sort of A-HA moment of clarity.

That’s what this method is used for you know; to get to a point of being really honest with yourself.

To uncover your faults (no one is perfect), realize your strengths (we all have some), and bring awareness to some areas of your life where you might be making excuses, avoiding change, or completely unaware of something that needs attention.

Talk about passing the miles – this topic takes some time!

johari window

Click here for a really informative description of the Johari Window.

On a basic level of discussion in terms of defining myself, I am a really open person who has learned not to be naïve.

I am not secretive or mysterious, at least I don’t think so.

I like to think that even though you may not know me personally, you get a real sense of my personality and realize that what I say on this blog is completely honest and that my personality as it seems through my words, is how I am in person.

It made me happy to read Ashley’s comment yesterday because she gets me, through my words, without knowing me in real life.

I will say, after reviewing these windows, I have actually changed a lot over the years.

There was a long period of time in my life where I hung out in the blind window — living life from a really naïve perspective, while others could see things I didn’t allow myself to see.

Other people saw my head in the sand during the rocky points in my marriage, before I wanted to admit something was really wrong and probably not fixable at the time.

I didn’t want a divorce. I fought the concept with so much of my energy, to the point where I blocked out the idea of it completely.

The concept of divorce was so incredibly painful that my brain didn’t even want to go there.

I like to be happy. I didn’t fully allow myself to acknowledge what was about to go on because I didn’t want to deal with the emotions and the whole divorce process and the life-changing effects it would have.

I had that tendency, you know? Ignorance is bliss. But it’s not. At least not always. Sometimes you have to deal with the negative and feel really bad in order to feel better.

I am no longer like that. I confront what needs to be confronted pretty close to immediately and I don’t ignore things assuming that maybe they will go away when I know deep down that a change needs to be made.

I rarely make excuses and I also don’t tolerate much when it comes to what I want and deserve and that’s a really nice feeling.

There have also been times that I know things about myself that others don’t see.

I knew there was something wrong when  I wasn’t getting my period (when I was in college) yet the doctors saw my weight and assumed it was fine for my height.

It wasn’t fine. And I knew that.

I never missed a meal but I wasn’t eating enough at a time on a regular basis. The balance between what I ate and what my body needed was lacking enough to cause amenorrhea. I knew this and knew I needed to eat more.

A change needed to happen to get things back on track for my health but I remained slightly naïve about it, sort of ignoring it most of the time since I couldn’t actually see what was happening inside of me. I pretended to everyone that I wasn’t sure what the problem was — but I knew.

What I am working on discovering is that undiscovered self.

The things about me that you don’t see and I don’t know, or maybe don’t admit  to?

I tried really hard to be brutally honest with myself during this run to figure something out but I haven’t really come up with anything yet.

But what I love about this method is how it challenges our brains to dig up the past, think about the present and hopefully make some changes for the future.

I sort of feel as though this process can help us to change on our own without being provoked by someone else (people are so annoying), make some quality decisions, avoid repeating patterns and really understand ourselves.

Interesting, right?

Be sure to check our what everyone else is thinking about today!


Favorite/least favorite subject in school? My favorites depended on the teacher and my least favorite was DEFINITELY  gym!

Do you remember learning about the Johari Window?

Do you find you can be really honest with yourself or do you make a lot of excuses/remain naïve?  

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  1. says

    I don’t think that I’ve ever encountered this before, ever! I loved psychology, and was considering doing a double major in undergrad, but ended up with double minors instead (neither of which were psych, but my major was, in many ways related to psych, at least with regards to the way I understood it.). I was pretty much an all rounder at school–that’s what made it hard for me to pick my field of long term study. But architectural history allowed me to combine my love of writing, history, math an dproportion, aesthetics, design, and psych, and leave behind the sciencey stuff that I didn’t care for as much. I leave that to the doctor husband.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Holiday Social Season, Sororities, Sail #ThinkingoutloudMy Profile

  2. says

    I really do try to be honest with myself, and I’m at the point where I know if I’m making excuses about something. Then I decide if I’m ready to deal with it or if it needs to wait. I know what you mean about seeing things in yourself that others can’t. We know ourselves and our bodies/minds better than anyone else and ultimately we are the only ones who can truly help ourselves and create change. Great post!
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…Quirky Kids and Endurance Shopping – TOLMy Profile

  3. says

    I think for me this is a work in progress. I actually feel like I am very open on my blog as far as being honest, sometimes more so than in real life. I have found that I also do a lot of good thinking on a long run. Also sometimes in yoga, if I can get in the right mindset and ignore all the distractions in my own head. But now that you have talked about this I am going to think more about it in terms of my own honestly with myself. Great post!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…A Clumsy Week + Holidays + College Friends (TOL 29)My Profile

  4. says

    I don’t remember ever learning about the Johari Window, but it’s definitely an interesting concept! I like to think that I’ve become less naive over the years, but there have definitely been al to of times where I really didn’t want to see what was in front of my nose… And while I’d say that ignorance -can- be bliss for a little while, eventually the things you prevent yourself from seeing add up and start eating away at you from the inside. So yeah… I definitely think it’s better to deal with things as they come.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. thinking out loud #108 .My Profile

  5. says

    Great post Meredith, definitely something everyone should look into. Funny you mention it because we just talked about it in one of my classes. It is amazing how much I have changed even since college. I look at the 22 year old Sara as a completely different person.
    Sara @ Lake Shore Runner recently posted…Hello from Vegas! #TOLTMy Profile

    • says

      I feel the same way about my naïve 22 yr old self! Probably my favorite age though…BTW, with the Quest Bar thing, it doesn’t take long to microwave it, I forget exactly because I haven’t done it in a while. Maybe 15 seconds? You can put in toaster oven too. And, you can break them into pieces like cookie dough and bake it quick. Go on their website, lots of recipes.

  6. says

    I am always in denial about myself. I love the idea of self-reflection and really facing yourself head on.
    It is always so helpful to talk to a friend about past experiences in order to gain perspective.

  7. says

    I think growth and change really only comes through self reflection. It’s a good thing and something we could all benefit from, although it can be incredible difficult especially when you realize maybe it’s time to make some of your own changes. Good for you for being willing to dig in and do the work. It’ll be worth it in the end.