• What We Don’t Know Hurts Us!

    Posted on November 14, 2015 by in Psychotherapist Rockville MD

    What We Don’t Know Hurts Us!

    There is so much pain in the world. I take solace in the quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Here’s one way you and I can create change that starts within and radiates from us into the world. This post is a little longer than usual because I think this is super important. I like to think that if the former University of Missouri president had looked within, he might still have his job and the campus would have more peace. He’s the latest example of a sort of blindness that is hurting people around the nation and the world.

    So we’ll start here: The Johari Window. The Johari Window is a cognitive psychology tool you can use to learn more about yourself. Picture a four pane window like you might have in your living room. Imagine the top left pane containing things you know about yourself AND things others know about you, for example you have brown eyes, a blue blouse, an infectious laugh, etc.

    Now picture the top right pane containing things others know about you that you don’t know about yourself, for example you have spinach stuck in your teeth,  the tag on your shirt is showing, your toes are tapping nervously, etc.

    The bottom left pane contains things you know about you that others don’t, such as the last time you took a shower, how much you paid for your Honda, that you feel scared even though you appear calm, etc.

    Finally, the bottom right window contains things that others don’t know about you and you don’t know about you. This pane holds painful things you don’t want to see in yourself so quite naturally you are expert at hiding from others, as well. In this pane are also gifts and talents you have not yet recognized.

    The panes that contain things that you are not aware of are the panes to peer into if you want to grow. When we don’t know, we speak and act in ways that are hurtful. We may manipulate, avoid, be passive aggressive, outright aggressive, or commit micro-aggressions. We may also play small and be self-deprecating.

    It is in our best interest to learn what we don’t know so we can be more direct and do less acting out. We can know, claim, and own our thoughts and feelings and let others have their own claims. This is true for individuals as well as societies.

    By the way, we all contain things that we don’t know we don’t know. And we likely always will. This is not an indictment of a human condition, rather it’s an invitation to look inside and see more of what is in the murky darkness of the inner recesses of your own heart and mind.

    You can’t do this alone! If you could, you would. Kind support in the form of honest friends, healthy family interactions, and counselors, as well as an open-minded attitude of self-discovery on your part, will serve you well as you journey into uncovering all you are—the blessings you bring into the world, and the blindness that creates pain for you and others.

    With wishes for your healthful growth,


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