Sonder — noun. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
“Sonder”, not found in standard English dictionaries, but it is a term that has gained popularity on social media and online forums. It refers to the profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passing in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own, which they are constantly living despite one’s personal lack of awareness of it.
Sonder: The Realization That Everyone Has a Story
The word “sonder” was coined by John Koenig for his project “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows,” which aims to define emotions and experiences that do not have a specific word in the English language. The term has since gained popularity as people find it to be a useful way to express this feeling of connection to others and the understanding that everyone has their own story.
We often forget this and view life only from our own perspective, but in reality, we are all interconnected, and our stories are intertwined.
It reminds us that everyone we encounter, even those we may never speak to, has their own complex story and experiences. It can be a powerful reminder that we are all connected and that our actions and words can have an impact on those around us.
As we navigate relationships, we must remember that we play a part in an endlessly unfolding story, and that we are also writing our own script. This is the overarching theme of kinship.
Sonder, a word that speak to the idea that we are not alone in our experiences and that we have the capacity to relate to and understand the experiences of others. It should inspire us to be kinder, more understanding, and more empathetic towards others.
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Until next time: God bless, stay positive, and be true to you.
John Koenig TEDxBerkely