A Personalist Credo

The Human Person as the Imago Dei

I am a person:

unique, precious and unrepeatable in worth.
I also inhabit a world of other human persons who are
unique, precious and unrepeatable in worth.
As a person, I expect to be treated as a subject,
not an object.
I am an end in myself,
not merely a means to someone else’s end.
I will not allow myself to be used;
nor will I tolerate abuse.
I will respect my body
as well as the bodies of other human persons.
I will not undermine the dignity of another human being;
because in doing so, I undermine my own dignity.
I will not label others in dehumanizing terms,
because persons are infinitely more
than all labels, classifications or categories.
Except in the context of appropriate humor,
I will not take others “lightly,”
negating their inestimable value as human persons.
I will not reduce my humanity to a color.
Hence, I am not, first, a white person.
Rather, I am a person who is white.
Nor will I reduce my humanity to a function.
Hence, I am not, first, a teacher.
Rather, I am a person who teaches.
Therefore, I am valuable, first and foremost,
because of who I am, not what I do.
I am someone, not something;
a “who,” not a “what;”
begotten, not made.

I am a person.

10 thoughts on “A Personalist Credo

  1. After reading this piece of writing I have been enlightened. Even though I know being a nurse is more than caring for my patients. I must also show self love towards myself to even be able to reflect that same affection to my patients. Being a nurse putting someone else’s precious needs in front of my own. Regardless of my beliefs or views I must show them with the same respect because they are a valuable being in the world.


  2. After reading these inspirational words, it gave me a sense of self-empowerment. As a Nurse, we are all geared on how to provide great care for others, that we at times forget to care for our selves. This text applies to me as a future nurse because, in order to care for others, I have to holistically care for your self first. To be that great Nurse, I have to first find what makes me great as a person and respect the fact that I am not perfect. I have to learn how to always focus on what’s ahead of me by always putting one foot in front of the other while moving forward. We as Nurse needs remember that we are human and stop allowing what we do or have done effect whom we have become.


  3. Reading this credo made me think about the interactions I have with the people around me. It made me think about the ways that people treat me and how I treat others in return. It gave me a sense of self empowerment and reminded me that over everything else in life, I am a person who deserves respect just like anyone else. As a future nurse, I must always remember to treat all of my patients and people that I come into contact with as human beings. We all deserve the same respect as each other, and should treat each other the way that we would like to be treated, as people.


  4. Dr. Lent,
    Your credo was very powerful. As a current nursing student this Credo struck a very special part of my heat. I believe in today’s day and age it is easy to lose sight of what is important, along with losing sight of one’s original true passion. When you stated the phrase “As a person, I expect to be treated as a subject, not an object”, and the phrase “I will not undermine the dignity of another human being;because in doing so, I undermine my own dignity.” My thoughts went straight to nursing. Unfortunately, I have seen many nurses who are in such a rush to complete their assignments they treat their patients as a “task” and not as a human being. This credo was a great reminder to take a step back and remember that we are all human beings with feelings and that we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Like you mentioned above when you undermine the dignity of another you are ultimately undermining your own. This was truly an inspiring piece and is something I will take with me throughout my nursing career!
    Jamie Reynierse
    RS231 Spring 2019


    1. Why not both, Jamie? What I mean is that nursing concerns both a “task” to be completed and a patient to be respected. The two are not mutually exclusive. The task is, in Martin Buber’s words, “It,” the objective dimension of being a nurse. The patient is the “Thou,” the subjective dimension of nursing; the person for whom the nurse cares.


  5. I very much enjoyed reading this because it is something everyone should incorporate into their daily lifestyle. As a nurse you come across many different people you must care for without judgement or discrimination. Patients should not be looked at as another check off their list of things but as human beings just as yourself.


    1. Lauren, I like your comments, because you are saying what we discussed in class this evening, namely, that a patient is another “I,” another “self,” made of the same humanity as you. In other words, a patient is and always remains a person. Nursing, then, is the care of human persons.


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