Sunday Sermon

Johari and Nohari

In my Johari window, the most commonly chosen words were confident and witty. As for confidence, I am aware that I come off that way but it is, of course, an act. Putting it on is as much a part of my morning ritual as brushing my teeth or putting on cologne.

I do see myself as somewhat witty, but I tend to think of wit as a relatively useless social skill. I can fill the coffee shop with laughs, but I usually leave feeling like we could have spent those minutes better - that the space I take up in conversation may be amusing but it frequently doesn't enlighten or comfort. I'd rather be compassionate than witty, but words like giving, sympathetic, and warm do not appear in my Johari at all. Quite a wake up call for one who is supposed to be developing metta ("loving-kindness").

On the negative side, the most commonly chosen word was cynical. I was a bit surprised at that one - I think of myself as somewhat cynical but I didn't think everyone else did. It's interesting to note that I was ok with calling myself cynical, but as soon as friends agreed with me I became defensive. I wanted to say, "If you think I'm cynical, you should talk with so-and-so...", but I realized that I was just squirming under the honest scrutiny that I invited.

To me, the real point of the Johari/Nohari thing was to examine the illusion we each create. The illusions we create tell us about our faults, and indicate the areas where we have potential for growth. Even the positive traits that we put forth tell us about our fears and desires, while the negative traits might point out places where we are falling short of our potential. To use this input we have to be ready to let go of the illusion and just Be.

When I look at my illusion in this light, my confidence is just a way of covering my insecurities, my wit is a way of convincing everyone that I am intelligent (or at least, quick on my feet), and my cynicism is just a way of protecting myself from disappointment.

Am I ready to let go of witty and confident? Am I willing to be more hopeful, more optimistic? To stand before the world (and yourself) without your carefully crafted disguise is a daunting, but necessary task. Nothing is static; if we don't try to step away from our illusions then we are, in a sense, giving ourselves the ok to cling them even more fully.

If you put up a Johari and/or Nohari window, look at it again. Examine your illusion closely, and ask yourself if you are ready to let it go - and if the answer is "no" then ask yourself why.

Go in Peace.


Clayton said...

ah but I have no facade apparently. Everyone thinks I am intellegent, which is the one thing I fear losing...

His Sinfulness said...

So how does your intelligence keep you from enlightenment? What does your intelligence shield you from?

Big Gay Jim said...

I would also comment that this changes over time. Words I would select now are different than those I would have used to describe you when we had only known each other a little while. The trick is learning to examine our facades without the help of others (though it does make it a lot easier!).

Clayton said...

you linus, didn't you use to have a link to all the flocks religion surveys?

btw, I answered elsewhere...

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