You come home from a long day, sit down on the couch and relax into some television. A couple of hours later, you realize you’ve misplaced your car keys. You assume they must be in the couch. You dig around beneath the cushions. You lift up the couch and poke your head underneath. Still no car keys. Now what?
You can double-down on your couch-searching efforts. You can give every cushion another thorough investigation. You can lift up that couch yet again. Maybe if you really get your head under there this time . . . Perhaps this strategy finally leads you to your keys–but probably it doesn’t. Because when your keys aren’t where you think they are, they’re likely where you think they’re not. Look in the refrigerator. Check behind the toaster. Inspect the fireplace. Climb onto the roof of your house. Check enough “unlikely” places and you’ll eventually locate your keys.
Life often works like this. When you’re stuck in some aspect of your life–your romantic relationship, for example–it makes sense to begin by addressing your relationship head-on. If this direct approach yields results, then great. You read relationship books, you attend couples counseling, you schedule more date nights. But maybe you’ve tried all that and you’re still stuck. Then what? Then you try another direction, maybe even one that seems to have nothing to do with your relationship. Maybe you change your career focus. Maybe you adopt a puppy or take a ceramics class or grow your own vegetables or get a tattoo.
Everything in your life is connected to everything else in your life. Every aspect of you is connected to every other aspect of you. When you can’t find what you’re looking for, try looking somewhere else.