Tag Archives: life

6 Benefits of Wise Living

6 Benefits of Wise Living

By Lydia Brownback

Modern women face tremendous challenges, and we need the same wisdom the book of Proverbs offered to ancient women.

As Christian women living in the twenty-first century, we aren’t likely to face many of the tricky difficulties that confronted ancient Israelite women. Just think of Queen Esther, who had to learn how to get along in a harem of women whose only calling was to please the king with their beauty. Even after Esther became queen, the cost of displeasing her king-husband was death. Other Old Testament women dealt with slavery, such as Hagar, and having to share a husband with another woman, such as Rachel and Leah.

Our problems, while less life-threatening for the most part, nevertheless pose tremendous challenges for which we need the same wisdom that ancient women needed. But we want to do more than merely minimize stress and ward off unnecessary difficulties; we also want to please God in every aspect of our lives. This is one way in which biblical wisdom differs radically from worldly wisdom. The world’s wisdom centers in how people can please themselves and maximize every pleasure. The wisdom in Proverbs isn’t unconcerned about our enjoying life as a gift from God. That’s the beauty of it—as we put into practice the wisdom of Proverbs, we find that God’s ways work at a very practical level; life does tend to run more smoothly. As this happens, God is showcased as the all-wise one, and He is glorified.

The benefits of wise living are too numerous to include here, but let’s look at a few of them.

Women who live wisely will experience security.

Wise women are confident that they rest on safe ground:

You will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:23-24)

Wise women have no fear. Because they trust God, they have no need for anxiety. They are confident that a kind, wise God is in control of everything. As wisdom increases, anxiety decreases. What makes you worry? Is it finances, your kids, your spouse—or the lack of one? Wise women know that God is trustworthy and that He can and will handle all these matters for our good and His glory.

Another result of wise living is guidance.

Some time ago I heard someone say that wisdom isn’t so much something that God gives to us as something he doesfor us, a truth reinforced by this passage:

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. (Proverbs 2:6-8)

The link between wisdom and guidance is also made crystal clear in this proverb:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

This does not mean that God’s guidance is conditional upon our trusting; He is always actively directing the lives of human beings. Yet it is only as we actively trust God and submit to His ways that we experience His guidance as a straight path, one not filled with frustrating self-made detours, as we see with Jonah.

Another benefit of wisdom is the calm enjoyment of sanctified common sense.

There is no issue in life that Scripture doesn’t somehow address. Situations arise in all of our lives that Scripture doesn’t directly speak to—those gray areas. But the Bible does address them somehow; even if indirectly, and wisdom is what enables us to use the Word to make black-and-white application into the gray places of our lives. Wisdom enables us to better discern not only what God’s Word says explicitly but also what the Word says implicitly, and we are increasingly equipped to apply its truths to all areas of life. Sanctified common sense is the result of wisdom.

Still another result of wise living is generally good living:

My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. (Proverbs 3:1-2)

The book of Proverbs reveals to us how God has designed the world to work; so, in general, those who live according to God’s design prosper because of it. That being said, the proverbs aren’t a guarantee for the good life. We all experience times when things don’t go well, despite our efforts to follow God’s ways, and that’s because God has as much to teach us through suffering as He does through blessing us with the practical benefits of wisdom. That’s why it is best to view the proverbs as observations or principles rather than as promises. We must keep both things—the practical benefits of wise living and the spiritual benefits of suffering—in tension, and trust that God knows what He is doing in each case.

That being said, we tend to be suspect of this whole idea of delighting in prosperous living. It just seems so, well, worldly. But God delights to bless His children, as any good father does. When God blesses us with a season of prosperity, we can grieve God’s father heart if we bar ourselves from rejoicing in it. After years of saving money for a house, a friend of mine was blessed to be able to purchase a lovely home. But she couldn’t fully enjoy it because, she said, “I keep waiting for the ax to drop. If God has given me this, what is He preparing to take away?” Such thinking robs both God and us of taking pleasure in His gifts. If He blesses us in some material way, we are free to enjoy it. As Solomon wrote, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God” (Ecclesiastes 2:24).

Another benefit of acquiring wisdom is happiness:

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profits better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. (Proverbs 3:13-15)

Can you think of a better definition for happiness? If we are unhappy Christians, the problem isn’t our circumstances; it’s our interpretation of our circumstances, an interpretation that’s lacking in wisdom. Even unhappy occasions can be experienced with joy and peace when we remember who has ordained them and that he has done so for good reason. Wise women know that lasting and deep happiness will never be found in circumstances but only in Wisdom, which is Christ.

One more fruit of wisdom is self-knowledge.

John Calvin said that before we can know ourselves, we must first know God. Only God really knows and understand our hearts, of course, but the better we know God, the better we will know ourselves. Self-knowledge, part and parcel of which is awareness of our personal weaknesses, is vital when it comes to resisting temptations, since temptations appeal to us in areas where we tend to be weak. Women who know God are better able to recognize where they are prone to sin and are therefore better equipped to deal with it intelligently. Knowing ourselves is a benefit of wisdom.

In vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird. (Proverbs 1:17)

Our wisdom

All of this leaves us with a problem: We can’t do it! Who among us could ever hope to achieve wisdom such as we see in Proverbs? Wisdom is indeed impossible for us, even though, after glimpsing the benefits of it, we want to become wise women. What are we to do? The realization of our impossible dilemma brings Paul’s words to life: “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:28-30). Christ is our wisdom, in both its characteristics and benefits. We have no wisdom of our own, but if we are in Him, we have His wisdom, which means we can grow it to fullness. In Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). If we are in Christ, those treasures are ours too.

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Oh no you did’nt


 Oh no you did’nt!!
by Javis “Jay” Brunson @JavisJay
 Before you respond to life’s events and tell your vendor, business partner, boss, co-workers, buddy or spouse to go play in the middle of rush hour traffic or call them everything but a child of God, take time to think clearly and calmly about what you are doing.  Before you respond to the situations remember who you are and the direction you want to be moving.                                                   A frantic, emotional reaction made in haste can often push you back even more than the event to which you are reacting. Certainly, it is sensible to respond promptly to whatever life sends your way. Yet that does not mean that you must respond thoughtlessly and carelessly. Before you do something that might take years to overcome, take a moment to thoughtfully consider your response.  Remember, all experiences are an opportunity for growth. Have a GREAT day and continue doing what you LOVE to do!

Adopt The 10x Mindset

By Thomas Oppong

There are no absolutes in life. And there are no givens. Everything is up for grabs. Most people dream of accomplishing something extraordinary in life. But life slips by and their most meaningful dreams slide silently to the side while they’re getting everything else done.

Grant Cardone says, “Never reduce a target. Instead, increase actions. When you start rethinking your targets, making up excuses, and letting yourself off the hook, you are giving up on your dreams!”

Operating at an exponentially higher level is exactly what you need to do better and be successful in your endeavors. But everything starts with a decision to aim higher than usual. Only those with the right mindset, attitude and skill can take advantage of the enormous human potential.

You can’t achieve extraordinary results with an ordinary mindset

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”― Michelangelo Buonarroti

Many people are far below their expectations because they have big dreams, incredible ideas, and fantastic goals but put in little or no ACTION.

As you build on your accomplishments and your confidence grows, you will naturally want to aim higher. Now that you’ve got some momentum going, it’s time to double your effort.

Extreme success in your own terms can only be achieved by taking massive action with the 10X rule, a concept made popular by Grant Cardone.

The 10X rule is based on the idea you should figure out what you want to do, goals you want to achieve, and multiply the effort and time you think it’ll take to do by 10.

In his book, 10x Rule, The Only Difference Between Success and FailureGrant provides an awesome blueprint for how you can rise above the status quo to take “massive action” instead of behaving like everybody else and settling for average results.

“The greatest turning point of my life, both professionally and personally, was when I stopped casually waiting for success and instead started to approach it as a duty, obligation and responsibility,” says Cardone.

We have a tendency to underestimate what we can accomplish, and therefore set lower goals and not reach our full potential.

When you apply the 10x rule and mindset to your thinking, and apply it to how you act, you can do more in the shortest possible time. And you will still have time to take care of a lot of other things on your to-do list.

Stay hungry!

The idea of a 10x advantage is to aim ten times higher when you set your goals in business and life. You are probably not thinking big enough about your life’s work, projects, and what you want to achieve in your career.

A 10x mindset or goal means that if you come up short, you’ll still find yourself further along than if you had maintained your life’s current goals, visions and everything else you have planned to achieve.

Christopher Reeve once said, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

And it also means that you open yourself up to bigger possibilities for the future that make it increasingly easier to make decisions and take action in the present. You can move and work your goals 10 times faster while being consistent and persistent.

But don’t underestimate how much energy and effort it will take to push things through though. Things could take longer to complete or cost more. Plan for these things you plan to focus on ahcieving more using the 10x rule.

Thinkers and dreamers are the new untouchables

“Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.” — Adolph Monod

We’ve been conditioned to think small, simplify and to expect less and demand less from life. Don’t be subject to the tyranny of “how things have always been done”. Find your true north and push past the default.

For centuries we’ve been trained by the system to stop thinking and do as we are told. But dreamers and thinkers change the world. They don’t follow any logic. It’s hard to replace the dreamers with algorithms.

Can you build something people will look for, will talk about or something we would miss if it were gone. Think about your capacity to think creatively and exponentially. And your your capacity to provide value to others. Start seeing things from a wider and far reaching perspective.

You should start thinking big without reservations. Practice thinking about your future being 10x bigger and better, and you’ll develop a new 10x standard for viewing the world.

You can only contribute more, learn more, become more and stretch yourself and your own abilities beyond their current psychological limitations if you give yourself permission to think beyond the obvious.

Turn mindset into action

The right intentions will only get you so far. You also must act. A 10x mindset radically shifts your thinking, your decision-making, and the actions you take.

Start identifying actions that are blocking your progress toward 10x growth and get rid of them. Focus on doing even better at those things you’re already good at and stop worrying about everything you struggle with.

Tackle every project with the 10X Rule, acting like you have to succeed because your life depends on it.

Before you go…

If you enjoyed this post, you will love Postanly Weekly (my free digest of the best productivity, career and self-improvement posts). Subscribe and get a free copy of my new eBook, “The Power of One Percent Better: Small Gains, Maximum Results”. Join 23,300+ readers.

What’s the cheapest business to start?

By Erik Tozier

I was grabbing a coffee with a friend the other day and in the coffee shop, we got into a conversation with a gentleman who started telling us about his food truck. He was going on about how they originally took a $50k loan to get the business going, and how he was spending 16 hours a day on the business. I was supportive and respectful, but not how I look to go about my businesses. 16 hours a day at the beginning, maybe 1 hour a day once it’s launched.

Brick and mortar businesses are going out of style. Brick and mortar businesses are expensive as well ($50k for a food truck with no guarantee of success!!) If you want to make it big, you have to leverage your network and the reach of the internet.

I’ll give you a few business ideas that cost less than $200 to start. Most are built around creating content and building an audience. Content creation is a great way to start a business. Essentially, build an audience, then monetize. I will also list a few others.

  • Blog (less than $50 for domain name and 12 months of hosting fees)
    • Start writing unique content on a specific niche and you will build an audience. Over time, you can add ads, affiliate links, products, coaching courses, etc. to your blog. Since you already have an audience, they will be open to buying.
  • Social Media Sites: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook (free)
    • Why not utilize a platform that already has millions of users? You can create an account on any of these platforms and start building a business this way.
    • I watch a lot of YouTube videos and it’s crazy how people can make a living off creating videos.
    • One downside of these platforms is if they change their algorithm or pay-out structure, then you may lose out on views, ad revenue, etc.
  • Consulting or Coaching (Free, but will take time to build a client book and reputation)
    • Are you an expert in a certain field? You can contract for and consult clients for a solid hourly wage. It’s a fun job and if you can communicate well, it would be a solid role for you.
  • Digital Product Creation (think e-book or how-to-guide, Free)
    • Creating a e-book on an area you are passionate about and sell it for a few bucks. The only time you spend is upfront, after that, it’s passive income.

It’s a great strategy these days to leverage the internet’s wide reach. There is so much money in the world right now… we just need to go and get it.

For They Will Inherit the Earth — The Life Project

A person who is “meek” is often thought of as being resigned to their circumstances, even weak, but that really isn’t what is being described here. Those who are “meek” are those who understand that they are dependent upon God, and not upon their own strength or even upon the power of armies, for our […]

via For They Will Inherit the Earth — The Life Project

You Need to Give Up These Toxic Habits If You Want to Be Confident and Successful

Confidence plays a huge role in your success — eliminating these bad habits will immediately boost your self-esteem.

According to a study from the University of Melbourne, individuals that gain high confidence are more likely to earn high wages and be promoted earlier and more frequently.

If you want to be exceptionally successful, you must learn to be your own best cheerleader. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

If you emanate confidence, others will be drawn to you. The sooner you can learn to be confident in the workplace, and drop the habits that are holding you back from doing so, the sooner you will see yourself starting to climb that ladder of success.

The good news is that nobody is naturally born confident — it’s something you learn. There’s also evidence suggesting that many of your common habits, mindsets and behaviors could be dragging down your self-esteem in the present.

Without further ado, here are some common behaviors you should give up in order to be more confident and successful. You’ll be surprised at how much they’re affecting your life:

Stop expecting perfection.

American journalist, activist, author of six best-selling books Maria Shriver once said, “Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect; it makes you feel inadequate.”

Often, we strive for perfection because we seek approval and praise from others. When we obsess over how others perceive us, we are left unhappy, disappointed, and unconfident.

Although you should always aim to do your best work (and you should never be making sloppy mistakes), you can’t expect to take on new challenges without a few slip-ups along the way.

Next time you find yourself in this endless cycle of thinking your best isn’t good enough, take a moment to find gratitude for all you’ve been able to accomplish — and then move on.

Stop slouching.

A great deal of how our mind functions can be influenced by what our body is telling it to do. Not only does our body language send a message to others, but it also sends a message to ourselves.

According to social scientist Amy Cuddy, “power posing” can boost our sense of confidence and directly lead to greater success.

Power posing is when we use our bodies, on purpose and with intent, to create powerful movements that are more spread out and take up more space, creating this message of confidence to ourselves and others. Cuddy found that these movements actually produce more testosterone (the dominance hormone) and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), yielding individuals to take risks and to feel more positive about their abilities to achieve goals.

Stop being lazy with your wardrobe.

This may sound shallow, but remember, this is all about you, not about pleasing others.

You don’t have to be a fashionista to be self-assured (my receipts at T.J. Maxx can attest to that). But dressing like a slob isn’t doing you any favors in the confidence department.

Studies show that our mental state is linked with our wardrobe — if you wear an outfit associated with successful people, you’ll look, feel, and speak like a successful person. And if you dress like a “hot mess,” you’ll most likely act the part too.

So invest in yourself at the mall — your confidence is worth it. You don’t need to bust your budget at Prada, but you should get that sharp outfit, and even consider implementing a dress code to boost your whole team’s confidence.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

“Comparison is the thief of joy” — Theodore Roosevelt

If you are in the habit of comparing yourself to others, and a big majority of us are, it’s time to stop. There will always be someone ahead of you, but the game of life is a marathon, not a sprint.

Whether you are feeling bad because you think your peers are doing better than you, or you are building yourself up based on their failures, both are unproductive and have the potential to be self-destructive. If you feel good about something you’ve done, enjoy it — you don’t need the recognition from others to affirm your accomplishments.

Also keep in mind that your perception of others is likely inaccurate, and the grass is actually sometimes not as green as it appears to be. A study done by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology shows that people are much more likely to display positive emotions than negative. So the next time you think the guy from marketing “has it all,” you may want to consider what he is not showing underneath it all.

Stop dwelling on your failures.

“The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves.” — Barbara Corcoran

If you’re waking up every morning thinking about what went wrong the day before, you’re going about your career the wrong way.

Learning from your mistakes is Success 101. But the ultra-successful take it a step further by remembering the lessons and then forgetting the rest. Their philosophy and your new one: the past is the past and it cannot be undone. Learn from it and move on.

Stop letting others influence your self-esteem.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Like many other success stories, Roosevelt realized that she couldn’t choose who was happy with her and who wasn’t (and there were certainly plenty of people pretty unhappy with her).

Although she couldn’t control what people thought of her, she could control the way she thought about herself. Remember, no matter what life throws your way, this is something you can decide daily. So choose to realize your greatness — it’s something ultra successful people do daily. Don’t regret the choice of letting others influence your self-esteem.A baby step you can start today is to leave yourself positive notes daily.

Stop fearing the unknown.

Remember how nervous you were when you first hopped on a bike? That slight slope on the concrete sidewalk felt like a freefall down Mount Everest.

But after time passed and you embraced that “terrifying” new venture, all that discomfort washed away.

The phrase “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for,” is truer than ever for your confidence.

I’m not saying you should take on every crazy risk out there. But by realizing that your discomfort will go away over time, you can easily dive right into the uneasiness of those smart risks.

Failure Is Not the End. It’s an Opportunity to Learn.

 


By Ronald Burr @ronburr

 

It was 1998. I walked into my first meeting with my now friend Bill Gross, the founder and CEO of Idealab. I was shown to a conference room that had quotes on the wall, and one of them, from Thomas Edison, immediately jumped out at me: “I have not failed 1,000 times, I have successfully found 1,000 ways that will not make a light bulb.” This quote, or at least some version of it, is the mantra of every successful entrepreneur.

We learn about failure early in life. Kids race each other on the playground and are tested in school and given grades each year, quickly learning what it means to win or lose, pass or fail. Not winning tends to have a stigma around it, and can ultimately lead to labels like “failure” or “loser.” Too many people allow external views to define their self-worth and thus are afraid of ridicule stemming from these unfair labels, which we even give to our own friends and family. Through societal behavior, we teach people to not be risk takers.

I’m not here to say there is no such thing as failure. Failure is very real, but it is not an end destination — it’s another event in the course of life. Experiencing one failure or 100 does not make you a failure. Failure is an external event that happens. It is not a personality characteristic. One who fails a lot, we could say, takes a lot of risks. It’s important to separate the events of failure from the personal characteristic of being a failure.

Failure is an opportunity to learn. When we confuse our personal sense of self-value with success, we are restricting our ability to learn because our ego becomes another factor in this equation. Our ego tells us we succeeded because we’re so smart and so great, or that we failed because we are a loser and can’t win at anything.

This clouds the analytical process of simply looking at the results of a situation and asking ourselves, “What happened?” There are key questions to ask in order to learn and grow from past mistakes.

  • How did I approach this?”
  • How prepared was I?”
  • What was within my control to change and what was not?”
  • Of the things within my control, what other actions could I have taken that might have produced a different outcome?”

Likewise, success can equally blind us from learning. Just like failure, success is an external event and does not necessarily define you as a winner. Many entrepreneurs who have experienced success make the mistake of believing they did it all on their own, forgetting the team and support that helped them achieve their goals. Of course, they made good decisions at the right time, worked hard and achieved success, but in almost all cases, there were other team members who assisted in the win.

Because failure is so bitingly painful, it tends to get more personal introspection than success. However, it’s the entrepreneurs’ optimistic “never say die” attitude that can also get in the way of self-evaluation and looking at the contributing causes of failure. Learn to separate the event of failure from your personal identity and invest in objectively reviewing the situation and trying a different approach next time. This relates to a core message I share with every entrepreneur — be ruthlessly honest with yourself and others. Denial is your worst enemy.

Strive to find flaws in your ideas or processes and eliminate them. You are only doomed to repeatedly fail if you choose not to learn from your past mistake

Catcher

1) Make yourself vulnerable
2) Demonstrate grace
3) Stand apart
4) Identify with the broken people
5) Speak life

Learn from my mistakes
Use what you have
Do everything for the Lord

Wanting Someone Else to Fulfill Our Lives

BY LEO BABAUTA

I have a friend who is lonely, who has such a good heart and desperately wants to find a partner who appreciates that goodness, to share a life with.

We have all felt this, I’m guessing: this desire for a deep connection, this hope that another person will just get us and want an intimate relationship with us, the idea that if we could just find this person and merge with them, we’d be fulfilled.

What if we tossed that idea out on its head?

What if everything we need for happiness and fulfillment is within us?

What if all the requirements for fulfillment were in this very moment, not in some imagined ideal future?

What if the idea of a romantic partner who is perfect (because of their imperfections!) and who fills our every need is just a fantasy that isn’t helping us?

The truth is that even those of us who have partners know that it’s not all honeymoon, and in fact a long-term relationship contains a lot of struggle. The fulfillment that we get in life ends up (mostly) not coming from the other person, but from ourselves.

What would it be like if we let go of this fantasy of a fulfilling partner, this fantasy of a better future … and instead focused on finding fulfillment in the here and now, within ourselves?

Where We Get Fulfillment

Another person isn’t going to fulfill us — at best, they’ll make us feel better about ourselves, and listen to us. The listening part is great, but we can get that from friends or family as well. The feeling better about ourselves is a function we can fulfill on our own as well. I’m not saying a partner is useless, but I am saying that a partner isn’t needed for fulfillment.

So how can we fulfill ourselves, by ourselves?

Well, what brings fulfillment? In my experience, focusing on pleasures like food, entertainment, online distractions, sex, drugs, alcohol, and thrills … these only bring temporary pleasure, but in the end you’re left wanting more.

Fulfillment comes from something deeper — finding meaning in life, finding appreciation for the fleeting beauty of every moment, being in service of others, loving.

But we don’t need a partner for those things. We can find meaning by searching within ourselves and in the world around us. We can start to appreciate the impermanence and joyful moments around us all the time. We can be in service of others in our community. We can love anyone, from those already in our lives (even if they don’t know we’re doing it) to strangers on the street, to all living beings.

Fulfillment From Within

What if we could do all these things just sitting here, doing nothing?

What if this very moment contained all we need for fulfillment?

Try looking within:

  • Stop and be still. Sit and do nothing, finding stillness and just noticing the moment.
  • Notice your body, your breath, emotions that happen in your body (like a tightness in your chest, or a warmth in your heart area), your thoughts.
  • See that there is constant change within you, and a loving goodness as well.
  • Fall in love with all that you see, from the emotions and thoughts to the body and breath, from the impermanence to the underlying goodness.
  • Reflect on a desire to be in service of yourself, and others.
  • Cultivate a love for yourself and all others by radiating a wish for everyone, including yourself, to be free of suffering, to be happy, to find joy.
  • Reflect on your innate connection to others — reflect on how others support your life, how the food that nourishes you is brought to you by thousands of others, how you’ve been created into the person you are because of the influences of every person you’ve met and connected with. This web of connections is how you are always a part of everything and everyone around you, a deep connection that is ever-changing and everlasting.
  • Reflect on your surroundings and in the constant change and beauty that is in every single thing, in the ocean of matter and energy that you are a part of.

These and more are always available, right now and in every moment, in you and all around you.

This practice can bring fulfillment, and nothing is required but attention, appreciation, gratitude and love. You have that in you.

4 Signs You’re with the Right Person

BY: REALSIMPLE.COM/GRACE ELKUS

Does your relationship pass this test?

Whether you’re entering a new relationship or hitting a significant milestone, it’s natural to question whether you’ve chosen the right partner. We talked to Elizabeth Schoenfeld, Ph.D., director of research and evaluation at LifeWorks and frequent contributor to ScienceofRelationships.com, and Marina Williams, a therapist in Boston and the author of Couples Counseling: A Step by Step Guide for Therapists, about the telltale signs you should look for.

1. THEY’RE ATTENTIVE

Small, daily gestures of romance are an important part of a supportive relationship, especially when they align with your personal needs. If you’re feeling under the weather, for example, you’ll appreciate your partner more if he or she makes you soup rather than brings home concert tickets, Schoenfeld says. “Having a partner who notices what you need or want in a given moment and responds accordingly bodes well for the long-term potential of your relationship.”

2. THEY’RE AFFECTIONATE

Whether its hugging, kissing, or cuddling before bed, regularly engaging in some form of physical affection is key to feeling connected to your partner, according to Schoenfeld. “Generally speaking, couples who are more physically affectionate with one another tend to be more satisfied with their partners and their relationships—which makes sense, as individuals tend to feel more cared for and understood when their partners show physical affection,” she says. And being affectionate is good for our personal and mental health, too.

3. THEY RESPOND WELL TO CONFLICT

How you communicate in the heat of an argument can be a telltale sign of the status of your relationship. In fact, the amount of conflict you engage in with your partner doesn’t matter nearly as much as how the argument is handled, Schoenfeld says. In healthy relationships, each partner responds to conflict in a caring and supportive manner. “If they listen to what you’re saying, respect where you’re coming from, and respond to your disclosures by sharing their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences (without making the conversation all about them), then intimacy is more likely to flourish.”

If you are communicating poorly, however, don’t give up hope. “As a couples counselor, I always love it when the problem is communication because it’s something that’s very easily fixed, granted that the couple is willing to change,” Williams says.

4. THEY SHARE YOUR VALUES AND GOALS

While it’s okay (and perfectly normal) to have different interests from your partner, it’s important to be on the same page when it comes to long-term goals. “Differences can be great for balancing out a couple and making things more interesting socially,” Williams says. “Where I think it’s important to be similar is in your values and goals for the future.” And Schoenfeld agrees: “Prioritize similarities that have long-term implications, such as a shared desire (or lack of desire) for marriage or children.”