- Quality of Life & Wellness
Gratitude Or Appreciation?
What's the Difference Between Appreciation and Gratitude?
We often hear the words, “Adopt an attitude of gratitude”, and, of course, being grateful and expressing it, makes us and the recipient feel good.
However, for me, appreciation is far higher on the emotional scale. Why is that? Aren't they the same thing? Surely being grateful is the same as showing appreciation?
Definitions of Appreciation and Gratitude
My dictionary says, “Appreciate (verb): to estimate justly; to be fully sensible of all good qualities in; to estimate highly; to perceive; to raise in value; to recognize with gratitude; to be aware of; to hold dear; to acknowledge quality, worth or significance.”
In other words, appreciating something is to perceive its value – and, of course, that is not limited to financial value but rather its value to the world. The acknowledgement that this thing (or person) makes the world a better place.
“Gratitude (noun): warm and friendly feeling towards a benefactor; thankfulness.” and “Grateful (adj): thankful; having a due sense of benefits; expressing gratitude.”
So that is to say, feeling grateful is something we feel after the fact. If someone has helped us, or benefited us in some way, then we return their generosity with thanks. Which is only right and proper.
Appreciation vs Gratitude
The Power of Appreciation
So as you can see, although we use gratitude and appreciation interchangeably, they can mean completely different things. For me, gratitude seems to be a way of paying a debt – you give me something, I say thanks and we're even. More or less. However appreciation is something I give to you. There doesn't have to be an exchange, I can express appreciation to you for just being you. I can appreciate your beauty, your character and your generosity. I can appreciate your lovely hair, your winning smile and your hugs. I can appreciate your quirks, your courage, your wisdom and all the other qualities that make you unique. There's so much more to be said in appreciation.
Sometimes, being grateful puts you in a position of 'less-than', vibrationally speaking. There is a sense that gratitude is what you are supposed to feel once you have overcome some difficulty, or someone else has helped you through a problem. So there is relief, of course, but at the same time you are still focused on the actual problem. Whereas appreciation is somehow bigger and more forward-looking. Appreciation is powerful.
Your Opinion on Appreciation or Gratitude
Which would you prefer to receive?
Ramp Up Your Gratitude Journal
Many people keep a gratitude journal, and indeed, that is a good thing. You will notice after a week or so of keeping such a journal that you are finding more things to write down and life appears to be responding and improving. Either that, or you are getting completely bored with it. Appreciation is the way to add some ooomph! to your journal writing.
Why should you write this stuff down in the first place? Why can't we make mental lists? Writing it down is more powerful than merely thinking about it. Thinking is not feeling, and, by writing it down, you get a stronger feeling. Feeling is so much more than just words in your mind.
So perhaps you have been expressing gratitude for your food, your job, favors done for you, easy traffic conditions. It's all getting a bit samey samey. So bring in some appreciation!
You can find something to appreciate in almost every situation, good or bad. The more you find to appreciate, the easier the situation becomes. For example, perhaps your child has been having problems with a particular teacher. There seems to be a clash of personalities. You know that each are doing their best but before you go off to the school in a high dudgeon, try writing down a little appreciation for 'teacher' in your journal. Maybe something like...
“I really appreciate the hard work that the teachers do for our kids. This Mrs xxx, is trying her best, I know she is. I appreciate her patience with little Petey. I appreciate her willingness to work things out. I appreciate her giving up her time to see me outside of school hours. I appreciate her diligence and her goals of helping each child succeed. I appreciate that she will have some worthwhile suggestions for us. I appreciate that we are all just trying to do our best. I know it will all work out in the end.”
This is using appreciation to anticipate a good outcome in what could be a tricky situation. You are paving the way for a useful exchange. You have raised your own vibration and expectations. Now you are more likely to go to the school with a good attitude. The teacher will respond accordingly, and hopefully, so will your child. Incidentally, it is a good idea to write out a similar script of appreciation for little Petey too. Once it all sorts itself out, feel free to express a good dollop of gratitude!
Try saying the following phrases out loud. Which of them feels more powerful?
I am grateful for the food on our table
I appreciate the food on our table
I express gratitude for the roof over my head
I appreciate my home
I am grateful for the money in my bank account
I appreciate the flow of money into my bank account
I am grateful to my children's teachers
I appreciate my children's teachers
I am grateful for my partner's hard work
I appreciate my partner working so hard
I am grateful for the sight of that beautiful flower
I appreciate that beautiful flower
Feel the Difference
Can you see what I mean – that appreciation is flexible and positive? Always look for something to appreciate because it puts you in control, makes you feel good and makes others feel worthy. Appreciation is pure love and, frankly, the world needs more of it!
Appreciating you is more important than anything. Use your journal to express thanks to the wondrous being that you are. You should not let a day go pass without appreciating your own good qualities. This is not some exercise in narcissism, instead, it lays aside all those self-negating beliefs that have plagued us throughout life. We were taught to put our feelings to one side; that we were not worthy; that we were small; well self-appreciation is about changing all that. Your relationship with you is of paramount importance. If you cannot appreciate yourself, then no-one else is going to do so. By appreciating positive qualities within yourself, you are acknowledging the divine spark within you... the part that is always connected to Source/God/All-that-is.