The noun 'SONDER' is a brilliant, yet underused and under appreciated English word.
Its meaning is a lesson in humility and a good reality check for everyone.
Basically, it describes the identification of the true reality, where every person you pass by is living their own complex and intricate life, just as you are yours. It is the realisation that life- ambitions, friends, emotions, struggles, relationships and every other aspect of life- exists outside of your own.
It is humbling to realise that as you go about your daily routine, thousands upon thousands are doing the same, simultaneously co-existing with you- most of which you'll never come into contact with, appreciate or even know existed.
Now, there’s something for you to ponder!
It's how this layered jigsaw of co-existence all fits together while the world turns that truly blows your mind!
It's hard for us to truly realise this implication, as we only experience our lives through our own eyes and our own bodies, which means the only perspective we ever have is our own. This is why it's important to take time out to reflect on this, and what it means for you.
See, the point of sonder is to appreciate other people around you. That means evolving to a greater level of empathy than simply just being aware of others. It's about appreciating that everyone has their little world around them, and that it's not just you.
But before everyone rolls their eyes at this 'zen-like' talk, it does have business applications, too!
It helps people to be far better leaders in an organisation when you understand that those around you are not just "staff" or "employees", but people with their own motivations, families, life goals and situations. It helps you better appreciate why people act the way they do- it's because they all have their own little world going on, that doesn't only comprise of work.
Actively acknowledging that the people around you continue to exist outside of your field of view is a grounding reality check that many people could benefit from.
Social media has greatly closed this gap by introducing platforms where others can share their lives with you, without you being physically involved or over invested. So while it helps us appreciate other lives not in direct connection to our own, does this tend to over-saturate our exposure, and ruin the positive benefit of sonder? Instead, replacing it with envy, annoyance or dislike?
Something to muse over as you go about your day today!