“To be free is…”

To be a success, to be admired, means that we are competent in what we do. But for most of us, it’s not enough just to be good at something. True success, we feel, comes from the recognition of others. This desire for success and admiration can be a good thing, for it encourages us to work well and hard; however, such a desire for success can draw us away from acting justly and serving others.

To be free is to put justice, truth, and service to others over and above our own personal gain or our need for recognition, power, honour, and success. When we cling to personal power and success, when we are frightened of losing social status, then we are in some way denying our humanity; we become slaves to our own needs. We are not free.

Jean Vanier, Becoming Human, p 108


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