Reflection

Everyone Has A Story

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a web series that coins and defines new words for strangely powerful emotions. Watch their video for the word...

Everyone Has A Story

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a web series that coins and defines new words for strangely powerful emotions. Watch their video for the word “sonder” and use the accompanying prompts for personal reflection.


  • The idea of "sonder" is the inverse of "protagonist disease," the condition of living our lives with the assumption that we are the main character of our world's story. How do your daily rituals reinforce your assumption that you are the main character?
  • Recall a time in your life when you became aware that you were a supporting character or perhaps merely an extra in another person's life. How did that make you feel? Were you able to take on this role with gladness, did you come away sorrowful, or perhaps a mixture of both?
  • Think about the influx of refugees and immigrants coming into the United States and consider the variety of ways in which U.S. citizens have reacted. What does it mean for each individual immigrant to have their own complex story? How must it feel to be a refugee fleeing crisis?
  • Have you ever felt typecast as a mere "extra" due to your age, socioeconomic status, gender, race, or personality? What was it like to have your identity reduced?
  • Imagine what it would be like for all of humanity to regard one another as equally vital, crucial characters in the overarching narrative of our species. When in your life do you feel like you are part of a community that affirms this sentiment?

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