Sonder. Curious?!

Do you ever sit down and think about how every single person who passes by you has their own unique stories to tell

Wander your mind between all the people you’ve met during your whole life. They might be anyone, like the old man who sells you the strawberries, the little boy who tried to convince you to buy a flower with a begging look in his eyes, the old man sitting alone on some bench at the park, the little girl that smile at you in the train…

They’re all protagonists of their own lives. They have their own struggles and secrets, devotions and ambitions, dreams and goals, successes and failures, just like you do.

Author John Koenig, in The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, invented a terrific word: SONDER.

Sonder: n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

Isn’t this a wonderful, powerful, whimsical word??!

The concept of sonder is a very satisfying concept: you allow yourself to accept and understand the struggles and complexities of the life of people you meet in your day to day life. It helps you in realise the importance of empathy for the people who are not part of your life.

And you may, understandably, say that it’s impossible to keep a record of every single person who comes across you. Absolutely.

But is it possible to care for every random person? The answer to this question is, yes.

Can you imagine how many possible #stories you could have heard, shared and even helped with, if you’d only paid attention to what’s going on outside of you?!

©Postcard from life lately September 2021 ©All Rights Reserved.

2 thoughts on “Sonder. Curious?!

  1. I think of those stories all the time, Sonia, and they do encourage a perceptual shift into a place of empathy. Sonder became a professional part of my life when I became a counselor specializing in death and dying. Life stories were central to my interactions and essential to healing. A beautiful post, my friend. It’s so lovely to read you again. Hugs. ❤


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