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The Dartmouth
February 27, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Limitlessly in Love

A reflection on love, in honor of those who are no longer with us


I love you.

I mean it. It’s true. 

If you are reading this right now, I love you.

I don’t know you, and it is quite possible that I will never get the chance to meet you, and yet I still love you. I love you despite not knowing anything about you, for you are you and that is enough. 

It really is that simple, but I often wonder why we deny ourselves this notion of universal love. A flower does not ask to be loved — it simply exists and yet we love it so. Truthfully, I’m not sure that anything else in the natural world has convoluted this notion of love in the way we have. 

Why, then, are we so obsessed with proving ourselves worthy of love? It is as though we must strive to be something beyond ourselves in order to deserve it. Believe me when I say that you do not have to look a certain way, or act a certain way, or belong to this thing or that in order to be deserving of respect and kindness. Though, perhaps, therein lies the problem. Perhaps our definition of love is outdated, in that we attach it to notions of acceptance, fame, power and respect when in reality love is just a form of appreciation. 

I appreciate you in the same way that I appreciate the world around us. I appreciate the way little ants climb up and down fallen logs in the forest, living their lives and drinking the morning dew. I appreciate the way the stars twinkle back at me as I walk across the Green on my way home, as if to say goodnight. I appreciate the way that my actions have consequences, and that yours do too, because part of being a human being means impacting the world around us. 

If it is true that a butterfly can flap its wings halfway across the world and trigger a natural disaster of seismic proportions, then it is only fair to say that we can do the same. It is easy to joke and tease in this life, but the world that we live in is fragile. The smallest of actions — perhaps a string of careless words mindlessly uttered then forgotten — are usually the ones to have the most profound reverberations. People tend to remember the ways in which they’ve been hurt. So, live a life of empathy. Be kind.

Living is hard. In fact, it’s the hardest thing we’ll ever have to do. But since live we must, live a life of love, of appreciation of the world and those in it. Your every moment on this Earth is unique, precious and worth treasuring. Allow yourself to fully feel whatever it is that you are feeling in a given moment — and let others know too, for often they will feel the same.

Take time to laugh with people, to cry and mourn with them. Healing takes time, and it is okay to feel the loss of someone that you may not have known. To love is to appreciate both what others bring to this world and what they leave behind. I can mourn for someone I do not know just as I can love someone I do not know. It is because their mere existence on this Earth has fundamentally altered my own. 

If nothing else, just know that I will laugh with you and I will cry with you and I will love you, regardless of it all. And know that others will do the same. Because that is what humanity is. Because sometimes, when things fall apart and everything feels broken, this kind of unconditional love is what we need.