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Gratitude Or Appreciation?

Updated on July 21, 2017

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?

See results

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

Both appreciation and gratitude are wonderful, but which feels more powerful to you?

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!

PS I love you too
PS I love you too | Source


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.

Appreciating You!

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    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      7 years ago from Wales, UK

      Indeed, there is a lot of love, perhaps even pure love, in appreciation. Thankful has its place, of course, but it feels more like relief. You can't beat unconditional appreciation - there's no obligation, nothing in return; it's just about giving a little bit of you. Grannies rule! Thanks GJ.

    • Gratitude Journal profile image

      Gratitude Journal 

      7 years ago

      Your definition of appreciation vs gratitude rings true for me. I keep a gratitude journal and write in it everyday. Entries that ring of appreciation (e.g.: my grandmother) always have a higher emotional impact on me in comparison to grateful topics (e.g.: my job).

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      8 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thank you, DreamerMeg and innerspin!

      @DreamerMeg - that's exactly it - there's my hub in two sentences!

      @innerspin - glad you found it an interesting comparison. I appreciate you too!

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 

      8 years ago from uk

      I find the phrases interesting, they do seem more powerful using "appreciate." Counting your blessings is a good thing, but gratitude has always seemed the wrong word to me. Thanks for the hub - I appreciate it!

    • DreamerMeg profile image


      8 years ago from Northern Ireland

      That's a fantastic way of looking at the difference. I hadn't really appreciated (!) the difference previously. Being grateful, I suppose, means that someone has put you under an obligation and we have all been socialised from our very early years that we must be grateful for what we are given (even if we didn't ask for it or want it). Appreciating something or someone is not an obligation or returning a favour, it is a positive choice to be glad that this person or situation is there or available for our help or enjoyment.

    • profile image

      Sissi Ravano 

      8 years ago

      Very interesting and great hub. It is really the way living life to the fullest, with gratitude and appreciation.

    • theraggededge profile imageAUTHOR

      Bev G 

      8 years ago from Wales, UK

      Indeed, Saloca, keeping those things in a journal can lift you when you badly need it. Thank you.

    • Saloca profile image

      Sarah Campbell 

      8 years ago from Liverpool, UK

      A gratitude journal is a great idea, perfect fr looking back on during those low days.


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