The Worth Of Our Lives

The Four Bs: Being, Belonging, Believing And Benevolence




All four Bs interact and strengthen each other.  They are all necessary to give us a genuine appreciation of the quality of our lives.


BEING:  People with a sense of being have an authentic sense of inner peace and self-acceptance.  They feel grateful for who they are and what they’ve accomplished.  They feel “grounded” and “comfortable in their skins”.  They’re aware of their faults and limitations.  Being means having a realistic self-image: One can look in a mirror and appreciate the person staring back in spite of physical and emotional scars.  That reflection has made mistakes, even behaved poorly at times, but he/she has also been caring and generous to others, and has hopefully redeemed him/herself.


BELONGING:  A sense of belonging is an appreciation of being an integral member of at least one group or community that is important to him/her.  Those who feel affiliated share values and traditions and feel comfortable.  One’s group provides closeness, emotional support, appreciation and respect, and can reflect love, close friendship or collegiality.  The knowledge that we have people close to us and we aren’t alone reduces insecurities and anxieties.  In authentic belonging, giving and receiving go hand in hand.  The warm glow of belonging contributes to our emotional health, but also to physical health and longevity. 


BELIEVING:  A sense of believing refers to a sense of guiding values and ethical principles.  Millions of people venerate some kind of God, which gives them comfort and hope and provides a set of ethical rules for our conduct.  But religious followers are no more compassionate and honest than agnostics and atheists, and there are no ultimate “proven” answers, no matter how strongly one believes (or doesn’t).  But what is critically important to human beings is a need to believe beyond the worship of an all-powerful deity.  When we wonder about issues beyond materialism, we are removed “from the fray” and transported to a more peaceful, even spiritual realm.


BENEVOLENCE:  A sense of benevolence is awareness of how generous one is or has been, or the positive effects we have had on others.  When we think of our personal legacies, we often forget about the importance of our acts of caring and kindness to each other.  Notwithstanding our history of aggression and violence, we are genetically predisposed to be helpful to others in need.  Despite our historical record of human conflict and violence, we can learn to behave with increased tolerance and generosity, and moreover, these attributes are a natural part of our genetic make-up.  The goodness we bestow on others is the essence of benevolence.


The Four Bs – central when assessing our lives and core concerns.


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