Square Peg: When Words for Loneliness Don't Fit

Late one night when he couldn’t sleep, John Koenig wrote up a definition that hadn’t existed before. It was the word SONDER.

It’s the awareness that everyone around you is the main character of their own story and he posted this word on his website for the book he hoped to write one day. That book became The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. 


The word Sonder became the most famous entry in the dictionary and Koenig still gets emails from readers thanking him for giving voice to something they’ve felt their whole life. It surprised him how universal a feeling that came from inside him could be...a feeling that he only felt in glimmers of solitude. 


How do we give a name to something internal, an emotion? What’s in a name that everyone can recognize but all of us know it in different ways? 

Is there a better name than just calling it loneliness?


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