Complete This Chart If You Want to Find Out Who You (Really) Are
Remember those elementary and middle school reflection worksheets on “Who am I”? — I did fine by writing down my name and age, but I was surely confused and overthinking when it came to:
- What are your hobbies?
- What’s your dream?
- What are you good at?
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What do you dislike doing?
- The best thing that happened to me?
- Describe your personality in 4 words (The hardest one).
At one point, I created a generic mental list of answers to turn in the paper and move on with my life. I did not know how important it was to have a true awareness of who I am until my mid-20s — Maybe when people stop asking, you start to care?
Another motivator that pushed me to find out who I am was my dad. I can still hear his voice saying,
“You are who you are, what others think you are, what you think you are, and who you really are.”
I never cared to investigate this statement further or share it with others because, frankly, I thought this was one of his “dad sayings.” Whenever he would drop this line on me, I would give him a slow “Mhmm” while nodding. It turns out that the old man’s saying is inspired by The Johari Window Model — Dad knows best!
What is the Johari Window Model?
It is a tool that enhances “self-awareness and personal development among individuals.” American psychologists created it in 1995, intending to increase the individual’s perspective of others when in a group. Today, we will take advantage of this tool to discover who we are.
Tips for completing the chart successfully.
Quadrant I (Open Area):
- Write down an apparent description of yourself. Focus on attitudes, behaviors, traits, and emotions that define you without a doubt.
- For this quadrant, you do not need in-depth feedback from others. I challenge you to be your best judge at adding aspects of you that you know other people are aware of.
- You will know you are on the right track if, after reading your list, you know that everything stated there are things that you are not afraid to show to society — In short, this is how you’ll describe yourself at a public presentation.
Quadrant II (Blind Spot Area):
- Warning: You might get hurt!
- Be ok with being comfortable with the uncomfortable because this quadrant’s information is not necessarily a fair description of you. Here, you will include aspects of you that get lost in translation. Things that people think you are because of how you behave or speak.
- Get feedback from others. Ideally, you would want to know how a neutral and objective source sees you. However, if you are ready to challenge yourself, get information from someone who is highly critical by nature. Someone who gives tough advice and does not sugar coat.
Quadrant III (Hidden Area):
- We all have deep-rooted secrets engrained in who we are. For this one, you can include emotions, past experiences, trauma outcomes, most significant fears/weaknesses, private goals, unusual motivations/interests, etc.
- Your answers can entail areas of you that you are willing to reveal (only) with people with whom you have an intimate and safe relationship.
- If you feel uncomfortable digging into this part of you, then you are doing it right!
Quadrant IV (Unknown Area):
- This includes suppressed thoughts, memories, and abstract/complex aspects of you. In other words, everything that is below the tip of the iceberg. It might take you years or a lifetime to fully discover this quadrant.
- If you are not ready to fill it out, leave it blank for now. However, I recommend you make an earnest decision to increase awareness about this aspect of yourself. You will notice that once you dig deep and your subconscious mind activates, you will get random pieces of feedback from time to time.
Note: You can use adjectives or full statements to fill out this chart. I like to do a whole brainstorm session in my journal and write down whatever comes up. I have completed this chart in different stages of my life, and it is fascinating to look back and appreciate my personal growth and development.
Daniela Marin | Registered Mental Health Intern | Founder of HealingRight