To Know Yourself and Others Better

A recent meeting of External (Weekend) students in the Mission Work with Children and Youth program focused on self-knowledge. Students were able to discover how they see themselves and how they are seen by others.

The cognitive psychology tool that was used at this meeting is called the Johari Window. It is a technique developed in 1955 in the United States by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham and is used to help people better understand their relationship with themselves and others. The Johari window is based on ideas taken from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator program, which itself was derived from Carl Jung’s study of personality.

Participants are given a list of 56 adjectives and asked to choose five or six that they believe describe themselves. Their peers are also allowed to choose several adjectives that they believe describe each person. The adjectives are then placed in each person’s Johari window grid. There are four ‘rooms’ in the Johari ‘house.’ The first, or Open window, represents traits that both the individual and others are aware of. The second window is called the Hidden window because in it is information that the individual is aware of but is not apparent to others. The Blind Spot window represents information that the subject is not aware of, but others are. They can decide whether and how to inform the individual about these ‘blind spots.’ The last window is the Unknown window. These are adjectives that were not chosen by either participant or their peers. This can happen for a number of reasons but the important point is that human potential may not be recognized by ourselves or others.

The second part of the meeting focused on three terms: Assertiveness, Agressiveness, Submissiveness. Students filled out a questionnaire and did many exercises studying these terms. They then practiced speaking with each other clearly and effectively, without anger or aggression. They learned that good communication is necessary to establish close interpersonal relationships, to resist manipulation, and to aid in good decision-making. Because this is so, “it is necessary, not only to understand the skills, but also know how to use them,” says lesson coordinator Fino Korecko.

The main goal of this meeting for the weekend/external students was to teach how to express thoughts and opinions in both public and private life in such a way that they are clearly understood. Knowledge of self and others, added to clear communication, goes a long way in helping avoid misunderstanding and conflict.

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