Guardian Angels News

Ten Rules for Humans

Posted by Suzanne Bernet on

photo credit: Elodie Perriot /

Recently in this space I spoke of the death of Jean Vanier, the Canadian philosopher and theologian and the founder of L'Arche communities. When Jean turned 90, he wrote down his ten rules for becoming more human. Here they are:

  1. Accept the reality of your body. . . be at ease with fragility and weakness. We will weaken as we age and we will die. Accept who and where you are right now, not what used to be or will be. If changes need to be made for your health, make them. But do not postpone loving yourself as you are today.

  2. Talk about your emotions and difficulties. Share what is on your mind with someone you trust. Be open. Vulnerability is key to knowing oneself and to finding true relationship with others.

  3. Don’t be afraid of not being successful. Discover that you are beautiful as you are. Do not allow others to define success for you. Discover your own measure for it and be content.

  4. In a relationship, take the time to ask, “How are you?” . . . and listen to the answer! What can I do to make your day better?

  5. Stop looking at your phone. Be present! Are we people of presence? Are we able to listen? To be human is to know how to relate with the person in front of us now.

  6. Ask people, “What is your story?” Say to others, “Tell me where your heart is. What are the things you love and what do you most desire?” We need to truly listen to others because their story is different than our own and we need to learn about those differences.

  7. Be aware of your own story. We all have a vision for ourselves and a vision for our world. When we don’t know that vision well we can be prone to fear. Fear is the fundamental problem of our world. We can get in touch with fear by understanding its origins and those origins often lie within our own story.

  8. Stop prejudice by meeting people! We need to meet people who are different from ourselves and discover the beauty in the other. It is far more difficult to fear someone we have gotten to know.

  9. Listen to your deepest desire and follow it. Unlike animals, humans carry a cry of the infinite within us – we are not satisfied with the finite. Listen to your heart, to those who know you best and to your life experience and you will likely find your desire.

  10. Remember that you'll die one day. As Vanier said, “I’m just somebody who was born ninety years ago and will die soon and then everyone will have forgotten me. This is reality. We are just local people, passengers on a train. We get into the train, we get out of the train and the train goes on.


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