Ever-Eluding Self-Awareness

Self-Awareness and Johari's Window

Self-Awareness and Johari’s Window

You know what an asymptote is.  It’s a curve that gets closer and closer to some threshold but never actually gets there.  That’s what self-awareness is like.

I’ve been sort of priding myself on my self-awareness lately but I’m pretty much clueless despite having worked hard on this area for the past 20 or more years.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m far better than I used to be but I’m always going to be a work in progress on this.  Actually, I kind of like it that way.  It’s like getting an unexpected gift, or being able to hide your own Easter eggs.  I’m always in for a surprise about myself.

I’m not so sure what’s so great about certainty.  People like control and knowing with certainty.  I get that since I used to be that way, and still am to some degree.  But I like the unexpected discoveries that life, others and yes, even myself can provide.  The reason:  I’m not nearly as imaginative and optimistic as the actual way of the world.  For example, life is more amazing and rich than I could’ve ever imagined.  I have more dimensions and depth than I ever gave myself credit for.  If it’s true for me, it’s certainly true for others.

I suppose my life and I could also go in the other direction:  more awful and ugly than I could imagine.  Yes, I know that’s true too.  Where there’s yin there’s always yang.  To me, it’s just a question of where you focus and whether one views those awful, ugly things are permanent, pervasive and personal.  I would add that the ugly part is relatively small compared to the beautiful and good because I choose to make it so. I choose to focus on the positive and the beautiful and enrich and grow those parts.  By accepting and forgiving the ugly, I take the power and toxicity out of them, thereby diminishing them.

Consider Johari’s Window, which describes our awareness as being in one of four quadrants:  known to self/known to others (widely known); known to self/unknown to others (private self); unknown to self/known to others (blind spots), unknown to self/unknown to others (the unknown).   From this perspective, assuming that all our knowledge is roughly evenly distributed, 50% of what can be known about ourselves is a complete mystery to us.


Imagine now you focus on the richness and beauty of that unknown to self element, while lovingly accepting and forgiving the rest, what would you get?  Who would you be?

Just imagine.