Sonder- n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
Think about all the people you walk past or encounter on a daily basis. Have you ever had the thought about where they are going? What are they thinking about? What are they feeling? Often we don’t take the time to see other people that we interact with as complex characters who have their own fears, challenges, and goals that inform their interactions with the world around them.
We are very divided right now, whether it be politics, race, religion, lifestyle, masks, everyone has a stance. We have chosen our sides and have closed off any chance of listening to the opposition. Social media has become todays battle ground, a place to voice your opinion, and a place of true division. We are bold in what we share on Instagram and Facebook, we are quick to jump in the comment section to bring down damnation upon anyone who dares to oppose our view point. But if we are ever going to do great things its going to take us coming closer together not dividing further. Race has been a hot button topic for 2020, everyone has an opinion one way or another. We rattle off our fiery posts, sharing bits and pieces of facts that we hear from our chosen news source. How often do we consider the background of the person who we are going off on? What is their experience in this case with race and people who look differently than they do? What is their education around race relations? How has the culture they have grown up in shaped what they now believe to be true? How do we have the conversation around race, rather than a comment section show down?
We have so many issues facing us as a people, a pandemic, an election, the world is on fire, on and on the list goes. And it seems as more issues pop up we are becoming more and more divided. If we are going to have any shot at solving these issues it will take all of us realizing that it takes ALL of us. Sonder is not an official word in the English dictionary, but it should become a part of our regular lives. The ability to understand that everybody has their own challenges that they are working through, will drastically shift how we approach people on a daily basis. I want you to re-read the definition of sonder again. Think about how complex your life is, all the in’s and out’s, the nooks and cranny’s, the emotions, WE are complex beings with even more complex lives. The world needs more sonder, and it starts with you.