During a recent conversation, the question arose as whether
there is a difference between gratitude and appreciation and, if so, what would
it be? In the thick of the discussion,
one of my colleagues pulled out his computer and searched the internet for what
others may have shared about this question. We found answers that pretty much
mirrored our own unique perspectives.
One distinction that we found that was commonly shared is that
gratitude is the base from which appreciation grows and flourishes…if we’re
paying attention. That is, we can be grateful for something in our lives
without really appreciating it.
The subtle shift from gratitude to appreciation involves
being more present – more thoughtfully
aware and active in reflecting on the reasons we feel grateful about something
or someone. Through present moment awareness, we begin to generate feelings of appreciation.
For example, we can be grateful for having food on our
table. However, we can go further and
appreciate its beauty, fragrance, taste, nutrition, and preparation. We move
beyond thankfulness as we consciously recognize the value that food adds to our
lives. In fact, one definition of the word “appreciation” is
“recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people
When we truly have appreciation, we bring to mind what about
someone, or something makes us feel
brighter, lighter, happier, more inspired, energized, and loved. And that’s a good thing, regardless of
what’s going on with the economy that is beyond our control and can test our
Author Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude
unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and
more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to
clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a
stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace
for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Read Therese Borchard’s Gallery of Gratitude Quotes for daily inspiration. As you go about your week, begin to explore ways of
appreciating your life more fully. Spend some time appreciating your relationships, your job, the world,
and most of all, appreciating yourself.
Peace & Blessings!