When Henry David Thoreau stated this quote, “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”, I think he meant that you can not live your life chasing the concept of happiness. If you look for happiness, it will not come to you, it is when you start enjoying life as it comes and finding the beauty and joy in the small things, then the happiness will follow naturally. Many people search for happiness in clothes, material items, and “things”. It is only once you start finding happiness in yourself, others, and places that you will become truly happy.
True happiness does not come from actual things. It comes from experiences, people, memories, and places. As Henry David Thoreau said in his quote, happiness will come to you if you focus your attention on other things. What he means by these other things is that if you stop searching for happiness and focus on things like self care, relationships, and experiences, then the happiness will follow. Once this happens, and all of a sudden you sit and think to yourself how happy you are and how it came out of what seemed like no where. Being happy is not an emotion that can be bought or forced. It is an emotion that is a product of your mindset. Happiness comes from within and then is projected outward, not the other way around.