The four panes of the window represent the following:

  • Open: The open area is that part of our conscious self - our attitudes, behavior, motivation, values, way of life - of which we are aware and which is known to others. We move within this area with freedom. We are "open books".
  • Hidden: Our hidden area cannot be known to others unless we disclose it. There is that which we freely keep within ourselves, and that which we retain out of fear. The degree to which we share ourselves with others (disclosure) is the degree to which we can be known.
  • Blind: There are things about ourselves which we do not know, but that others can see more clearly; or things we imagine to be true of ourselves for a variety of reasons but that others do not see at all. When others say what they see (feedback), in a supportive, responsible way, and we are able to hear it; in that way we are able to test the reality of who we are and are able to grow.
  • Unknown: We are more rich and complex than that which we and others know, but from time to time something happens - is felt, read, heard, dreamed - something from our unconscious is revealed. Then we "know" what we have never "known" before.

NOTE: The way to decrease "hidden" and increase "open" is through the process of self disclosure. By becoming more trustful and disclosing information about ourselves, we reduce potential conflict. On the other hand, self-disclosure is a risk to the individual (the risk is potential rejection), and the outcome must be worth the cost